Debt is bondage

Debt.  Most people have some, and some are absolutely swamped in it.  I’m one of those who’s drowning in it.  That’s why I’m going to go to a cash-only system of paying for things.  Yes, that means that I won’t be buying off the internet much at all.  I will be bargain shopping at Wal-Mart for the best price for the best quality I can find.  I’m going to be paying my Church tithing first, then buying everything else that I need or paying off what needs paying off after that.  I just can’t do this anymore!  I’m tired of seeing the bills go up and up and up and knowing that over half of every bill I pay is interest on a purchase I made or a loan I took out!  How do people live like this?  Let me tell you, they’re under a lot of stress all the time because debt is bondage.  They have no freedom to go and do the things they want to do because they’re in a temporal bondage to debts incurred and no longer have the means to even help themselves, much less help anyone else or plan for emergencies.  I’m tired of it, and I can’t live like this!

Stewardship is a valuable character trait.  So is self-reliance.  I aim to shore up both in the coming few months and get my financial house in order.  I used to be great at it.  Then something happened.  First, it was a purchase that was just beyond my reach, but I could pay for it with a credit card…I just wouldn’t be able to pay off the entirety of the credit card debt at the end of the month.  So there would be a little interest attached.  I was uncomfortable with the idea, because to that point, I had always paid off my credit cards in full every month.  No interest.  So I made the purchase.  Yep, sure enough, the credit card bill came and I couldn’t pay the whole thing off.  All of a sudden, my credit limit skyrocketed!  What?  You’re rewarding me for not paying off my debts?  Well, maybe I could afford this accessory for the initial purchase…and that one, too…and on and on it went.  That turned into a circus act of rolling over one credit card balance to another credit card with a lower interest rate so that I could keep spending and pay less interest.  Wait a minute!  What about spending less money?!  That idea no longer occurred to me.  After a while, all I saw were the 40% off ads even though I was still spending tremendous amounts of money on the stuff.  It got ridiculous.  I realized I was in trouble two Christmases ago.  Christmas Eve of 2017, I took out a personal loan to relieve the burden…and I kept spending despite the extra payment.  I’ve been limping along until now.  I can pay all my bills.  Barely.  When I say barely, I mean with the help of my mom and a hard-working spouse paying some of the bills and buying all the groceries.

I’m going to make some changes that will be lifestyle changes as well as spiritual changes – changes in how I look at things and perceive things.  I’m going to have an accountability partner who will keep me in check and make sure I’m keeping my commitments to get out of debt and make good spending decisions.  I’m on a fixed income, and I’m going to change that by taking a self-reliance course through my Church on starting and growing my own business.  It’s a self-reliance course.  I’m also going to work through the Personal Finances workbook in the Church’s self-reliance course line-up.  I’m already looking at that and that’s what’s prompted this post.

Stay out of debt if at all possible.  Things like a house or a college loan for education to get a better job and pay off debt, I understand, but day-to-day stuff that you can save up for doesn’t need to turn into the nightmare that it has for me.  Just remember that debt is bondage.  It’s like being in prison – a prison you built for yourself, and now you’re trapped with a sentence that is indefinite unless you make some major changes and overhaul your life.  Do yourself a favor and learn from others’ mistakes so that you don’t end up having to figure this out the hard way.  Trust me on this one.  Seriously.

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