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MacroScape: 1962 Canadian Silver DimeWilliam Shatner

“With three kids, it was always very, very tight, and it was always a scramble for what was my next job. So I learned never to go into debt because I don’t want those monthly payments to preoccupy my thoughts. I never spend more than what I can afford, and I don’t owe anything.
I suppose all the listeners to this show have all the money they will ever need and life is wonderfully well funded, right? Oh, I guess not. Most of us have lived all our lives from payday to payday, and have accumulated debt along the way. Paying cash for everything seems quite foreign to us, and it feels like we could never have our piece of the “American Dream” if we never accumulate any debt.A few years ago, the American president was quoted as saying our responsibility as Americans was to use our credit cards to get the economy rolling again.

Is it even possible to have a cash based lifestyle? There are plenty of websites, such as Dave Ramsey.com who say that this is not only possible, but completely practical. Mr. Ramsey talks about becoming debt free after being initially captured in the net of debt, while Mr. Shatner wisely didn’t get snared in the first place.Imagine where you would be now if you had never gotten into debt in the first place. We immediately think we would have absolutely nothing. I really think this is wrong. It would be an interesting exercise to get an actual accounting of how much of the income we earned actually went to interest paid to some credit card company, many times in the upper 20s in percentages. I imagine some people have paid as much as 1/10th of their income on interest alone.

Starting small and building up to a “normal” lifestyle is a very practical way to add to the happiness and eliminate a lot of worry.

Many young people today start off in the hole immediately with huge amounts of crushing college loan debt. In addition to the actual debt, the government can be counted on from time to time to change the conditions of the debt to be more favorable to itself, and more devastating to the former student.

The Bible, Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Kind of scary isn’t it? We have made ourselves economic slaves by our borrowing. We find ourselves completely paralyzed by the financial bondage we have voluntarily chained ourselves with.

What can we do to reverse the cycle? First of all, we can reduce the control the lenders have over us by cutting up our credit cards, and paying them down and off over time. One way to help is to get the high interest debt consolidated onto a fixed loan with a much lower rate. This gives you a set time to be free of it, and reduces drastically how much money you waste paying it all off.

Second, don’t accumulate more debt. Even if it is a small amount each payday, start saving an emergency fund for those car repairs, etc that seem to pop up at the worst possible moment. This further reduces our reliance on expensive revolving debt.

Here’s another suggestion. What if every time you saved money by buying a used item at a yard sale instead of new, you banked the savings? My wife and I recently saved around $200 by buying a used artist’s easel for our daughter to paint with, and the chair and computer monitor I am using right now. Curiously, I have no idea what happened to the $200. It just evaporated.

Most of the time, we get a warm feeling when we save a few cents on gas, buying a sub sandwich, or using coupons at the grocery store, but if we got a cute jar to save the total of the savings, the spare change, it would soon be an amount large enough for a savings deposit in the bank. Try it and see!

While we may never achieve a 100% debt free status, we can surely make things much better by making some changes in our financial lives.

Check out Dave Ramsey.com for more info. He has a wonderful article on “The Truth About Debt Reduction”. There are more sources of info, but check them out very carefully. The financial vultures are even victimizing those who want to get out of debt. If it sounds too good to be true, and too easy, it probably is.

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