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Delaying Pleasure

April 6th, 2011 at 04:05 am


I was reading yesterday's blog post on Christian PF and a sentence in Craig's post really got me thinking. He stated, "...what they don’t tell you is that today’s pleasures becomes tomorrow’s burden."

This is so true. As Americans we have become conditioned to expect instant gratification. If we want something, we just purchase it on our credit card and we'll worry about paying it later when the bill comes. Seldom do we make ourselves, or our children, wait until we can actually afford (i.e. have the cash to pay for) whatever that new shiny object is that has caught our eye. We want it and we want it now! As Dave Ramsey likes to say, we have ruled out the ancient word "no" from our language.

What do we gain by waiting to make a purchase? Often if we'll wait, we will lose the desire to buy whatever it is we thought we couldn't live without. So many things are bought on impulse and then quickly set aside and forgotten. I have things that fit that description all over my house. Had to have them at the time, never use them now.

We build character when we make ourselves wait. We learn the lesson that we do not have to have everything right this minute.

We quite often save money when we make ourselves wait. We might find that item somewhere else at a discount, at a garage sale for a fraction of the price, or even decide we really don't need to buy it at all.

And we sometimes save ourselves a lot of stress by waiting to make a purchase because we don't have that burden later in the month of trying to find the money to pay for it.

Is there an item that you've wanted to buy lately that you've put off purchasing? What benefit have you reaped from waiting?

Fear of Change

April 5th, 2011 at 05:54 am


Does the fear of change hold you back from taking steps in your life that you know will have positive results?

I've noticed over the past couple of years as we have worked at digging ourselves out of debt that others have stood on the sidelines and watched. I think they were waiting to see if we were going to make it, and see just what we would have to sacrifice to achieve our desired results. Now that we are debt-free (except the house) I think they secretly long to take the journey themselves, yet are afraid of the changes they will have to make in their lives.

If you want something different in life you have to be willing to do something about it. You have to be willing to be different from everyone else. As Trent Hamm says in his book The Simple Dollar, "Success comes from being different, not from simply repeating the moves of everyone else". Or to quote Dave Ramsey, "Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else." We have to put aside the fear of change and take the plunge.

Our old ways of doing things are comfortable, even if they're not the best thing for us. How many of us know we need to exercise and eat better, yet are not willing to make the changes because of the sacrifice it will entail? Old habits are hard to break.

Change is a big step. Sometimes it's a scary one. But if you take the steps to get your financial life in order you are creating a better life for your family and could very well change your family tree.

April is Financial Literacy Month

April 4th, 2011 at 09:51 am


Last Thursday President Obama proclaimed April to be Financial Literacy Month to encourage Americans to learn more about personal finance. Heaven knows the country certainly needs it! It seems to be a topic that has been overlooked in education for far too long.

Pennsylvania libraries have started an initiative called "Libraries and 21st Century Literacies". The five areas of concentration are basic, information, civic and social, health and financial literacies. I was thrilled to see financial literacy included in there. That is where my passion lies. I'd love to see every library in the state offer some kind of financial literacy class to the public, whether it be Financial Peace University or some other program. The last two FPUs I've taught have been in libraries.

I don't think we've realized until the past few years how little we know about personal finance. I do believe we're starting to wake up as a country though and realize that it's important to teach our children about personal finance so that they can better shape their future. I want to do all I can to teach younger generations how to manage their money so that they do not need to go through the same mistakes that we did.

What financial mistakes have you made that you'd warn others against?