Getting Out of Debt and Other Miracles

I recently read Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover. The book is very inspiring and encourages people to take drastic measures to get out of debt.  At one zealous point in reading the book, I toyed with selling our house and living in our car for a year. But since the crib doesn’t fit in our car, I thought better of it. But it got me to thinking about monetary priorities.

My husband and I view money more or less in the same way. We both want more of it. We just choose to spend it differently. My husband does a lot of wheeling and dealing so he can afford new games for his XBOX 360 and gadgets for  his bike. I grit my teeth each time he comes home with some new attachment for his bike or open the bank statement to reveal how much money he spent on his XBOX Live account. But I don’t think twice about spending money to go to Tent Theater with my friend or when I buy a new toy for one of the kids.

Why is it we always view the spending habits of others as ridiculous, but refuse to use the same scrutiny on our own money foibles? Discretionary spending is where the arguments start. No one debates whether we should pay the mortgage or the utility bill. We fight over the little things–an unplanned trip to Starbucks or a $50 box set of a 1980’s sitcom that someone just had to have that we’ve only watched once and then put in the back of a cabinet never to seen again. I’m speaking hypothetically, of course.

But since reading the Dave Ramsey book I’ve become more mindful of how we spend our money. I’ve been a little more careful with the grocery budget. (I use the term budget loosely.) I’ve had to cut back on some luxuries and give up some things I really wanted. But I have to hold on to the belief that it will all pay off, and someday we’ll be able to buy things without credit and maybe, just maybe, go a month without bouncing a check. I know what you’re thinking, “Why don’t you just ask for the moon, while you’re at it? No bounced checks? That’s crazy talk.” But I have to believe it is possible.

So, I’ll hold onto the dream. I’ll believe the miracle. I’ll click my heels together three times and chant, “There’s no place like solvency.” I’ll reign in my spending and try to talk my husband into doing the same. But I’m not giving up Starbucks. I’m not a barbarian, after all.

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