Friday, August 6, 2010

Spend Less - Friday thoughts about money

I read another great article about ditching the car. It happened to be the same day I was doing the family bills so I was enticed again. Especially after I determined how much cash flow daily goes to our mortgage interest. Yeah interest, not principal... if you are prone to having large panic attacks DO NOT calculate. No details about our personal numbers (not classy), but I will tell you it can leave you with a feeling of hopelessness and anger at the so called 'system'.

Debt makes me uneasy. In fact, my general disdain for spending money has brought me to crafting. I can create things at home that I can't afford to purchase in stores. I think it is safe to say that now I like what I make better than what I can afford in stores. However, with the birth of baby Isla (the most adorable goompa) my free time is at an all new low. So I purchase instead of make sometimes, even though now more than ever we should be saving.

I just want to owe people nothing! Can you imagine my fellow Americans... Working just enough to cover your utilities, food, health insurance, and savings? Spending the extra time you have with your friends, family, babies. Exercising, cooking delicious meals at home, volunteering for something you feel passionate about. Sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn't it?

Kevin is a fan of Get Rich Slowly. He used one of their budgeting programs to pull himself completely out of credit card debt when he was a mere 24 years old. Nice Work Kevin! My parents are really into financial planning as well and I heed their advice as necessary. They remind me it is possible to own your own home outright at 30, make millions by the age of 35, and retire at 40, but that isn't exactly what I am looking for.

I want to live within my means and thrive. Not just scrape by. Not compromise my values and morals by simply buying whatever is cheapest and leaves ME the most cash at the end of the day (but consequently has long term impacts for my baby's babies among others... another post another day). I don't want to work endless hours to avoid debt, but then have no time with Isla. I want to be happy and responsible and respected and not in debt. I want to have money to spend on things I deem important (great childcare, local art, food food food, well made fabrics and yarns) and get to avoid spending money on things that blow (that means you big banks with shitty hours, that means you insurance companies with your crappy customer service and stupid ineffective policies, that means you car with your gas guzzling and always needing one-more fix). This is my hope.

I am not trying to get all Generation Debt on your booties, but really, this american spending is out of control. Everyone agrees, but we don't change it. Terrible system.

Kevin and I will be spending the next couple weeks focusing on doing what we can alone to our house to make it a better house for us and the next people who take it. We are re-addressing our budget again now that I am part-time. We are simply getting stuff done which feels so good.

I leave you with some recent inspiration
- Young House Love - an inspiring blog about a DIY couple making their home perfect without spending a ton of money
- The first portion of This American Life (nothing is quite as romantic as we would like to believe, especially when it comes to becoming a millionaire)
- New York Times Discussion - Why don't American's have longer vacation times? Jealous.

PS. If this post seems unconnected it is only because I suck at writing... these things are all related... right? Lifestyle choices, debt, quality of life, etc...? I think they are. I have more opinions on it too, but good articulation is challenging for me this late at night!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gloria,

Great article! I love your passion and your wisdom! I know you will find a balance that allows you to live out your values. Mom

Jen Woodard said...

Great post Gloria! I love Young House Love as well!

Gloria said...

Thanks Jen and Mom! Glad you both check in every now and then ;)