Living Large to Living on Less

After spending well above our means for decades we looked for ways to rectify our spending habits. The remedies or should I say what we thought were remedies would only mask the problem and allow us to dig ourselves in deeper and deeper with each low interest credit offer that came in the mail. Years ago, I remember a family friend warning us of the dangers borrowing from Peter to pay Paul type of behavior could cause. Looking back that advice would have saved us a lot of hard earned money if only had we listened.

We read the books-maybe not the right ones, got the advice but until you are ready to stop the madness with spending then all the books and concerned friends will not do you any good. For us it was allowing ourselves to overspend beyond our means and not creating a budget in the first place. A budget really makes one aware of over spending and allows one to be accountable if you will. Once you start writing down every purchase you tend to think about every purchase. You will start to ask yourself questions such as, is this need or a want?

Once you realize that there is a problem then you can work on a solution. For us we were drowning in debt and decided to cash out on a house to get back on our feet. The plan backfired and we actually got deeper into debt then we could have ever imagined trying to keep up with our new lives. We did the standard living on credit cards to pay other credit cards. This was setting us up for disaster. Some changes had to made, we needed to cut back in everyway. To quote the great Dave Ramsey, "live like nobody else so you can live like nobody else". We started with destroying all credit cards and stopped using them immediately, we groomed our dogs at home, we ate only at home, we downsized to one car and paid off the other so to have only one newer family car along with a commuter car for the breadwinner. We cut the children's dance classes, got basic cable, got rid of the home phone. There are so many ways to cut back on expenses, as individuals we need to scrutinize our budgets to fullest. If in debt, you need to make inquiries in order to pay down the debt in the quickest manner as to not pay even more interest.

I thought this would put the family in a state of shock but it did not, everything worked out fine. In fact it made us all appreciate the small things that much more. It can be done, this society as a whole has gone spending crazy in recent years, using their homes as ATM machines, living on credit and now it all has to stop and we need to become more accountable for our expenses.