Sunday, February 17, 2008

They're in Debt up to Their Eyeballs

I am constantly reminded of that commercial where the man talks about all the great stuff he has and finally at the end he says, "I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. Somebody help me." Or something along those lines. I have actually turned that in to a little mental technique that I use to help me in my journey of debt repayment.

Just as a quick example, I was recently told about a woman who went to a store and found a great deal on a pair of diamond earrings. She called her husband and he came back to the store with her. He told her she could spend up to $1000. I believe she spent around $800, and this was considered her Valentine's Day gift. That is more money than my husband and I spent on each other for Christmas combined!! In relaying the story to my husband, he said, "well, that is a nice gesture if you have the money I guess."

Exactly, YOU GUESS! Most of the time we think, wow, those people must be doing really well. Or, I wish I could spend that kind of money on my spouse. In other words, we beat ourselves up because we can't afford to spend like that. However, I like to think that all of these wonderful gifts were put on a credit card that most likely was not going to be paid off by the end of the month. Now, I am not big on jewelery thank goodness, so it is not a jealousy issue. It just helps me to remember that you cannot tell what someone's finances are like by what they are able to purchase. Almost anyone can put a couple thousand dollars worth of merchandise on a credit card. And, a lot of people do so with no regard to how they will eventually pay it off. I used to be one of these people. Thankfully, now I am not.

I think this idea of pretending everyone else is going in to debt works for many reasons. The first one is that in many cases it is true. Most of the people that I know have similar incomes. If I can't afford it, they probably can't either. Another reason, and maybe the most important, is that it helps me focus on what is most important right now. Not stuff, but getting out of debt. I will do anything to keep from adding to that magic number that I am trying to pay off. It also helps me realize that some people have not had "the revelation" yet. They do not realize that eventually all this stuff has to be paid for, and their future is not secure until it is all taken care of. I am learning this at a fairly young age and I see this as a great opportunity for me and my family.

Now, I would never say this out loud to someone who just purchased something I think is frivolous. It is just not my place. But, I will continue to think this way when I see people throwing money away. And, hopefully it will continue to strengthen my own repayment efforts. So, the next time you feel down because you can't "keep up with the Joneses" just pretend they are about to file bankruptcy. It helps... I swear!!

No comments: