Like most people, I love a good deal.
Last year when it became apparent that my husband and I weren’t going to be able to slide by with a single car anymore we started looking at used cars from private sellers. We didn’t want anything fancy. We wanted safe and reliable, and the cheaper the better. We ended up buying a 1994 BMW 7 series from a family friend for a smoking $800. Like you’d expect from a car that’s nearly 20-years-old, we had to do some work on it. But even after adding the costs of the work we did, we still spent well under its KBB value, and best of all, didn’t have to go into any debt for it. We love this car! It has the safety and reliability we wanted, and as a bonus, it’s a luxury car. Even though it’s from 1994, it has more features than our 2008 Hyundai. BMW knew what they were doing! Plus it drives like a dream. Many have marveled at what a terrific deal we got on such a great car.
People also tend to think our dog was expensive. She looks fancy with her blue eyes and silver brindle coat, and we have had people ask if we had to pay a lot of money for her and go to a special breeder. Really, we paid $50 to adopt her from the pound. Most are surprised to hear she was a rescue. There are so many great dogs at the pound these days that I see no reason to shell out big bucks at an expensive breeder. Who really needs a $5000 dog?
We have also been thrifty while furnishing our house. We have some pretty nice furniture in there, most of it from Craigslist. A few pieces came from family. I don’t think any of it looks junky, but we have spent less than $1300 on everything. Some of this involved work on our part. My computer desk and our coffee table were both pieces that we re-finished, but it was really amazing to see how beautiful the furniture looked once we freshened it up. The computer desk was given to us for free and the coffee table was $20, but they looked very high-end when we got done with them.
My husband and I are not rich by any means, but we live comfortably. By careful deal hunting and patience, we have filled our little home with nice quality things that we didn’t break the bank for. We didn’t need a car that cost more than our yearly income. We didn’t need to buy furniture that required us to make payments on it. I don’t understand how debt has become such a huge problem in America. You can get a good car without spending a fortune. It may not have all the bells and whistles, but do you really need it? Is it worth going into financial ruin for? If you get down to the end of your paycheck and have to choose between a manicure and buying food, should that really even be a choice? There are things we can live without. Sure, everyone would love to be able to get anything they want and not have to think twice about it, but that just isn’t the way it works for most people. Material objects, in my opinion, are not worth going into debt over. Admittedly we haven’t saved as carefully as we could have, either, and we certainly have a lot of things we don’t need. But we haven’t ever gone into debt for an object and we don’t buy things we can’t afford.
We have also redefined the word “poor.” I still remember watching a news story where the parents said they had been out of work for three years and living off of government support. Meanwhile their child was in the background playing on his iPhone. Really? You’re on food stamps, but you have an iPhone? I don’t even have an iPhone. We also recently saw someone pay for $100 of expensive maple syrup with food stamps, and then drive away in their SUV with a boat on the back. REALLY??? I feel like people in the US don’t really know what it means to be hard up. We have become so spoiled as a society.
Some of you have amazing, inspirational stories about getting out of debt and turning your spending around. Would anyone like to share? And why do you think debt is such a huge problem today?