I love this post, and I think she makes a lot of great recommendations. When I think about how much interest I’ve paid to credit card companies in the last 20+ years, it makes me cringe. Credit card companies are criminals, folks! I cut up my credit cards two years ago, and now live entirely on cash.
It’s admittedly hard at times…there are times when I’d like to make a large impulse purchase (like a great chaise-lounge or a boxy Scion wagon!) but I simply cannot do it until I save the money first. I’ve learned that I won’t die without the chair or the car, and since I haven’t managed to save the money to purchase either, maybe they weren’t all that important to begin with.
I recently came into a bit of money (thank you, mom). My only priority was to pay off my son’s medical bills, and make some much-needed repairs to my car, including replacing the broken windshield, which had bothered me for several years. So I had the windshield replaced. As excited as I was to drive away from the glass-repair shop with a spanking-new windshield, only a few days later, I’d already forgotten that the windshield was broken. This is to say that even folks like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt take their fancy cars, huge homes, and jets for granted once they get used to them. Happiness is an inside job, after all.
I admit, I’m still paying off old debt from decorating a home I purchased over 5 years ago! I no longer own the home, but I had a great time decorating it – While on some excessive-credit-manic-induced-high, I purchased gorgeous Pergo floors, tiny green iridescent tiles for the bathroom, Room & Board custom upholstered chairs, a Pottery Barn sleigh bed, a gorgeous dining set and a bees-wax-finished armoir, and much more. I say we purchased them, but in reality, we charged them. Big difference. Which means, I’m only just now paying for the bed, chairs, tiles, and flooring (plus about 50% compound interest!). Those things did not bring me long-term happiness, nor did they fix all the problems in my relationship. I see now , how those purchases were just a short-term-high.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love beautiful things. Aesthetics are important to me. I love beauty, pretty linens, gorgeous potted flowers, my Fiesta-ware dishes, and colorful area rugs! My aesthetic is Bohemian-chic (think Anthropology, flea-markets and farmers’ markets). But now I only buy what I can afford; I live within my modest means, and I look forward to the day that I’m free of old debt. A friend recently asked me, what will you buy with all the money you earn from the new job? I replied, nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’m going to relish the spaciousness I feel from becoming debt-free, and having money in the bank for a change. I have no major needs, other than to live debt free. Think of all the options one has, when one is debt-free. Radical! I’ve come to relish (financial) freedom over any beautiful objects I might own..Took me way too long!….