In the UK, the average household debt is around £17,000! For our American cousins, that works out at about $22,000 (at the present exchange range). How did our finances get into such bad shape? Were we pushed? Were we cajoled? Sadly, the reasons for our spiraling debt lie at our own feet. Easy credit with relaxed repayment terms led us to believe that the financial good times were never going to end. Bump! They’ve ended.
In This Post:
Even The Rich Got Walloped
Okay, some of them might have had a couple of billion chopped off their personal wealth but at least they’re still standing. That’s more than can be said for a lot of families. Foreclosures and spiraling inflation have hammered our finances without mercy. So, where does this all end? Sorry to say, but it’s you and I that need to make the sacrifices in order to crush our debt and get our lives back on track.
How Do You Solve Your Debt Problems?
The answer is simple but the urge is harder to control: stop spending money you don’t have! Even now, families are still reaching for their credits cards. Flat screen TV’s, holidays, expensive clothes… they’re all being loaded onto store and credit cards pushing us back into the hell hole that is debt. Now really is a good time to introduce your Amex card to Madam Guillotine!
Start Living A More Frugal Existence
There’s nothing wrong with materialism – in small doses. If you earn over a 100k per year and you have no debts, go ahead and spend but, if it all goes wrong, don’t say you weren’t warned. If you aspire to earn 100k+ per year, good for you. Go for it but don’t get sucked into the financial quagmire that has pulled down so many before you. In order to make the money, you need to work hard at your chosen career but you don’t need to start spending before you get there.
Here’s a few things you probably want to consider:
- Forget the flash cars. When you can afford to buy one without worrying it will feel so much better when you tell the salesman, “I’ll pay in cash!”
- Big houses, who needs them? Rock stars, yeah, because the have huge entourages of groupies and roadies to entertain. Unless you have 10+ children you really don’t need a 15 bedroom house.
- Eating for two… when you’re not pregnant. Overeating will reward with a severe dent in your wallet and a spare tyre for your waistline (you’ve already got one on the car so why pay for another?)
- 50 inch Plasma screen TV. Do you have difficulty seeing? If so, get some glasses – a monster television won’t fix your eyesight.
- Hideously expensive holidays. We all love the warm glow of sun beating down on us as our bare feet are massaged by the damp sand. Do you really ‘have’ to go on an expensive holiday every year? If you own a small island in the Pacific, go for it. If not, explore somewhere local.
Bye, Bye Debt. Hello Frugal Lifestyle
Frugal doesn’t mean living in a commune, sharing your lentils with the brethren. It means taking a more common sense approach to our day to day financial habits. There are plenty of ways to cut your bills without sending ourselves back to the Stone Ages.
- Get communal. I don’t mean free love or flying the hammer and sickle above your house. Get into the community. Try a little urban farming – it’s fun, cheap and helps burn off that spare tyre.
- Say hello to ‘Shanks’s pony’. Not the four legged kind; your feet. You may well look good in your car but do you really need to drive half a mile into town?
- Stop buying all that food labelled, “Finest”. In likelihood it was churned out of the same factory as the value range but was lucky enough to have a flash label attached to it (and a price tag to match).
- Hand me downs. I know, I know; we all want the best for our kids but passing on old clothes or buying second hand from a charity shop will save you a lot of money. If you’re really determined to give them only the best I’m sure you could feed them their shoes (with a little salt and pepper) when the food runs out!
- Recycling. “But James, how does recycling save me money?”, I hear you say. Sit with me, I have knowledge to impart… when you recycle you reduce manufacturing costs which leads to lower shelf prices. Ker-ching – more money in your wallet.
Yes, some of the points were a little sarcastic but, hopefully, they’re food for thought. Thanks for reading.