Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Honey it's time for a new lawn mower!

A few years ago, we made the stupid decision to get rid of a perfectly good family member, our dog Chico. We had taken him in because his previous owner was moving into an apartment and it was either us or the pound. That's at least what he told us. He was a border collie, a nice dog. He was smart, he could chase after a ball for hours, stayed in the front yard by himself, would follow behind you without a leash. The problem with him was that he wasn't being taken care of properly by us. He couldn't go for runs with me because of his severe hip dysplasia, nobody would take him for walks and rarely played ball with him. I felt sorry for him and thought he would do better with a different family and I wanted a dog that could run with me and could entertain himself. Well we found someone to take him, I tried to actually stop him from going that night, but it probably was better off. He went to a farm in Maupin, Oregon, has several acres to run on, chickens to chase and his new owner takes him everywhere. Oh plus, 2 other dogs to play with.

But I learned something from that experience. One, I learned immediately how to be a better dog owner, most importantly. Chico was a good dog, we were bad dog owners to him. Two, I learned why repair things when there is nothing wrong with it?

If you take a look at how America lives, you would think that majority of us were all living to live like the Joneses. It appears we are all in debt in some way and it seems that America has an obsession with replacing things that really have nothing wrong with it.

Oh, look the neighbor has a new barbecue or lawn mower! "You know something honey, I think maybe ours should be replaced after all!"

I don't like the idea of keeping up with the Joneses. Seems to me, you would always want more and more and never be fully satisfied. A family that I highly respect not only re-did their whole kitchen, but the outside as well, the front and backyard and the side of their house. I think it looks nice, but someone else that lives by them, I think is jealous. At one point, I thought the two families were competing. And, how much did it cost this retired couple to fix up their beautiful kitchen, yard and siding? You don't want to know, a lot. I think they were trying to keep up with the Joneses themselves.

NEW YORK ( -- America's total debt load is on pace to top $13 trillion this year, and $22 trillion by 2020 -- and that's just the debt we're counting.

Now days, it's easy to replace an item because you don't want it anymore. That's what credit cards are for right? (Absolute sarcasm.) How many stores do you shop at want you to open up their credit card? What's the first thing you see when you walk into Costco? Well at mine, it's the big and beautiful flat screen television sets. Why keep your big box that is dated when you can have one of those? Why not you deserve it after all, right? All you need is a credit card and you can have one. Right? Uh huh. You can sit around and ignore your whole family just as easy with your current one, you don't have to buy a new one.

Aren't we also teaching our children to be in debt? When they see you pull out your credit card to pay for an item, what is that teaching them? When you pull out the debit card, do they know the difference between that method of payment versus a credit card, don't they look the same? Either one of my children will often have more money than the other and I will often hear, "I'll pay you back" I never let them do this, I refuse to allow it as I believe it teaches them it's okay to purchase something without actually having $. Teaches them to be in debt.

Not only do we have a big box tv that I don't want to get rid of, my parents gave it to us so they could purchase a better tv. We have a gas dryer that works wonderfully, bought it for $25 off of craigslist after the old one broke. We have two older cars that are both completely paid for. Brett has a 2002 Trailblazer and mine is a 98 Mazda minivan. I love my car and never want to get rid of it! Since I took out the 3rd row, I can put my dog or bike in the back. It says Marathoner on the front and Ultra Marathoner on the back. It's cool, old but cool. Works fine. I have an alarm clock that I have to fix the time every night. It ends up being 6 minutes too fast every night. I could replace it sure, but why? Is it seriously hard to change the time back? I think the thing has a lot of character. I like it. You know my kids are getting on my nerves, perhaps I can replace them? Just kidding.

According to Proverbs 22:7, "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender" (NRSV)

We have 3 credit cards. One I don't use, the other I've had forever and only use it when I take the pets to the Vet and the other we use, but pay off every month. I still honestly feel like I am a slave to the stupid thing and I hate that. I think it would be best to just get rid of the thing and live on a cash only method as Dave Ramsey teaches. Don't know who he is? It's about time you did.

On the first day of school public school yesterday, a woman I know was walking out of the 2nd grade class and overheard a little boy mention that he didn't have any school supplies and wouldn't have them until Thursday when his mom got paid. When I heard that story, I about cried my eyes out. How unbelievably sad. My heart went out to that boy. As the day went on, I got to thinking. They sent the list out about a month ago and certainly the mother had to have expected to buy school supplies for her 2nd grader, why didn't she save up for them over the summer?

I do all the finances in our family as I find myself very knowledgeable and I love to do them. I can tell you, we save for everything, even the Pge, water, and doctor bills, even when we are not going. Every week, I put $ aside for them. And we have an emergency fund for those just in case moments when something breaks and we have to replace the item or perhaps and heaven forbid, we'd oh my like to replace the tv.

But we aren't in debt. Not rich, but not in debt and that's okay with me.

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