Friday, June 13, 2008

Shift Your Thinking to Beat Debt

At work the other day, I was finishing my morning snack. I had a peanut butter sandwich, no jelly, in a Zip-lock bag. I folded the bag and put it into my take-home bag, so I could bring it home, rinse it out, and reuse it.

Have I lost my mind? This is something I used to think was SO stupid. I never understood people who bought disposable products and reused them. Now, I am one of those “stupid” people. The truth is, Zip-lock bags are not cheap!! They are not too eco-friendly either. I know I am not going to get rich saving these bags, but say I used them five days a week, and reused each bag twice. A box of 100 bags would have lasted me 20 weeks, but now it will last me 40. Use each one three times, and the box will last me more than a year! However, I am not really trying to stretch the lives of my baggies here. My main concern is avoiding extra costs in my grocery budget as often as I can. This is one way to do that. The thing that I noticed most was what was going on in my head!

I guess this just highlights a major shift in my thinking. I can clearly remember being at my neighbor’s house and seeing her washing disposable plates and flatware. (I still have a little problem with this one because if you have glass dishes, why not save on buying disposable stuff and just use what you have?) When I was younger, we just threw that stuff away. And, at one point, distressed by the state of my kitchen, I must admit, I thought about buying the stuff to avoid washing dishes. I guess frugality is one of those “to each his own” type things. And, I have become much more frugal since vowing to pay off all of my debt. I have paid off all of my debt many times in the past. The diffence now is the way I think about it.

Last night I had another remind of how far I have come. My laptop, my beloved laptop :), died. I had no idea what happened. I had been using it, stopped for an hour to exercise and when I came back, the power would not come on. And the battery icon, which stays lit, was extinguished. I was so upset. I have just enough money to pay our hospital bills and one of my credit cards off. Now this was happening. But, my first thought was not, “I must find a way to buy a new one.” It was, “Well, how can I get by without.” Of course that was mixed with sheer terror at all the files I had lost, and then I started thinking of solutions. I finally found one, and to make a long story short, the computer was saved.

The main shift here for me is that I want to have and not owe. I want financial security and independence more than I want “stuff”. This is slowly becoming a reality for me now, and it is funny how many old ideas get thrown out as I develop new truths about the life I am working toward having.

Do you have any ideas you have thrown out recently? What are they?

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