Growing up as a child in the 60’s and 70’s, I was really pretty disciplined with what little money came into my hands. I have bittersweet memories of the five dollars a week allowance my Mother gave me as a young boy. I guess I was around the age of ten in those days of my “five dollar pay days” on Friday. I remember having a horribly ugly green piggy bank that I would use to squirrel away my allowance. Back in those days as a kid, I would save my allowance until I had twenty or twenty-five dollars, and then I would take a ride on my bike to the bank to deposit it. At an early age, my Mother opened a passbook savings account for me at The First National Bank of Wood River, Illinois. Still to this day, I have fond memories of that blue passbook with the yellow pages. I remember after making my deposits, I would review the deposit stamps that were contained on the inside, as my balance begin to grow ever so slowly. Being a kid, I would dream about what I would buy once my account balance reached a hundred dollars, or two hundred dollars. To a ten year old kid in 1973, two hundred dollars seemed like a ton of money! Looking back, I fully realize what a great and wonderful time that was in my life. I had no worries, no stress, and no bills. I wonder what ever became of that old piggy bank.
When I became an adult, and entered the workforce, I for some reason departed from my diligent ways of saving money, and chose to pursue the material things I wanted in a far less patient manner. I became introduced to the world of credit. Credit was a new concept to me. It meant I didn’t have to wait. I didn’t have to be disciplined with my “allowance.” I could have it NOW! Back in the 60’s when I was young, not many people had or used credit cards. Credit cards didn’t even exist until the 50’s when the first credit card, Diner’s Club, was introduced to the public. I suppose the majority of adults I knew at the time paid cash for everything except a house and an automobile. That was a much simpler day in comparison to the materialistic, debt stricken, “gotta have it now” society that we live in today. I suppose the need for instant gratification is partly due to the way society is wired these days. We have drive-thru lanes at restaurants for those in a hurry, we have microwaves to cook quick meals, and we have pay per-view movies at our fingertips so that we don’t even have to get out of the house to go to a theater. On top of all of this, we have every kind of electronic device imaginable at our disposal. Society has molded people of today into impatient and materialistic creatures with a need for things that can be obtained quickly.
The “I want it and I want it now” mentality of today’s society eventually oozed it’s way into my brain, and managed to get my wife and I into a deep cesspool of debt. About five years ago, at one of the worst economic times in the last 30 years, my wife and I had a wake up call from God. We came to our senses about our reckless spending and horrible management of money, and began a journey toward a debt free life. Fast forwarding to today, in the last five years we have paid off nearly $80,000 dollars worth of junk debt. This debt included credit cards, lines of credit, car loans, and a 401K loan. We have adopted a very simple policy when it comes to money. Our policy is simply this; we don’t purchase anything that we are unable to pay cash for. Through being patient and disciplined saving, we were even able to save and purchase a very nice two year old car last year, and pay CASH for it! That is quite an accomplishment for people who were smothered in debt like we were just five years ago. We are now down to nothing but a mortgage payment, which we plan to start attacking this year, and have paid off in the next two to three years. The crazy part about this is that we are not by any means wealthy people. You do not have to be wealthy to live a debt free, cash only life. You only need to be patient and disciplined. Not ever having a credit card bill in the mail, and not living paycheck to paycheck gives you an overwhelming sense of freedom! Society today tries to cram into our minds the idea that we need to build up a credit score. WHY? Is it so we can borrow money that we don’t have so that we can bury ourselves in debt? You don’t need to build up a credit score if you are not depending on credit! What ever happened to the concept of actually saving up money to buy the things that you want instead of using credit? When you use a credit card for purchases, you often end up paying for your purchase for a ridiculous amount of time. People purchase Christmas gifts using a credit card, and often can’t even remember a year later what it was that they purchased that they are still making payments on! This is absurd!
My hope and prayer for all of my friends and anyone who may be reading this is that you will develop the patience and discipline that is needed to get completely out of debt, and live a life free of the need for credit! It is a great feeling! You can do it! Remember, you don’t have to be wealthy to do it. You just have to be disciplined and patient. We all need to return to the days of our piggy banks! Dig out that old piggy bank and get busy! Start today and a debt free life can be in your future!
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,