The theme of Chapter/Lesson 4 in Dave Ramsey’s Financial University is that Debt is the most aggressively and successfully marketed product in history. Dave spends the lesson talking about paying down your debt, but before he can get you to change your behavior, he takes a lot of time giving examples of how debt is marketed to us. Although he does a good job, I have a few examples of my own to add.
- Wendy’s restaurant is currently running a 4 for $4 special. For $4 you get a burger, chicken tenders, fries, and a soda. No matter how you slice it, that’s one item too many. Why do you need to eat a burger *and* chicken tenders for a meal? They count on you paying more because it’s a deal. Not only is it bad for your budget but this one is also bad for your waistline. You just don’t need it.
- When I told a friend of mine that I was working on eliminating our credit cards and only keeping our debit cards, her advice was to keep a card “just for emergencies.” The problem with that is just what constitutes an emergency? Out late at night and need to eat? Something’s on a sale that you just can’t say no to? When you have a backup like that it’s too easy to talk yourself into using it.
The bottom line is that Debt is bad. It’s not sexy, it doesn’t make you more desirable, it’s a dead weight on your shoulders – on your life and you should do everything you can to get rid of it.
In my case it means:
- We’re not having dinners out for a while (that’s okay, I’m a pretty good cook)
- I’m staying away from the bookstore (books are my drug of choice) and if I have to get a book, I’m going to the used book store. (Oh and I’ve talked to the used book store about selling some of my older books.)
- I’m still plugging away on eBay. The money that trickles in goes toward rebuilding my $1000 emergency fund (it’s recovered some from paying cash for a new washer and dryer) and anything that’s left over goes toward out debt.
- I have a chicken workshop scheduled in the spring – that money is already allocated to our debt (out of sight out of mind) I won’t even be touching it.
- I have a teaching check coming in soon, I plan on buying a new fit bit (mine is cracked) and anything that’s left over goes toward debt.
You see handling debt is not about deprivation. I work – I make money. I want to get a new Fitbit because it’s something that I want and use on a daily basis. Because it’s my money and I control it, I can buy a Fitbit and *still* put money away. Getting on top of debt is all about making choices and asking yourself that very important question for every single purchase – would I rather buy an item now or work on paying off my debt?
For me, paying off the debt is far more important and so with very few exceptions, that’s my goal.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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