The Right Attitude to Have About Money

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The Right Attitude to Have About Money

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I think the hardest part about living debt free is society.  Actually, it's the only hard part.  

From a mathematical standpoint it's easier to live debt free.  I mean, what's cheaper; an item or an item plus finance charges?  If you don't pay finance charges you have more money.  Having more money is easier than having less money.  The End.

Unfortunately, society doesn't embrace the debt free lifestyle.  

Everything is about the payments.  I hate when I'm talking to a salesman and I say "Well, that's a little out of my price range." And they reply with "We can break it up into payments!"  Gah!  I want bop them on the head.  If I can't afford it I can't afford it.  Period.  Buying something on credit is still buying something!

What's worse than talking to a sales person is talking to my debt loving friends and family.  

When they don't understand why I don't want to own a $200 purse or have new shoes on my kids every other week.  (Notice I said "don't want to" not "can't". I can.  I just choose not to.)  I feel like they are looking down on me.  That they think I'm not as good as them.  I try to explain it with an "I'd rather save my money." or "I'm trying to pay off my house early."  But I still feel like they think they are better than me because my kids are in hand-me-downs.

I've lost friends over my frugal ways.  

I had one friend who had kids the same age as my kids.  She really wanted to be friends and so did I.  It would have been great if it had worked out.  But no.  She dressed her kids in designer clothes, went to fancy restaurants, and spent a lot of money upgrading her house.  Me?  Rags, pizza, and zero upgrades.  (Ok, maybe "rags" is taking it a bit far.)  I always had the feeling that she thought she was better than me.  Eventually she gave up on me.  I just wasn't going to be impressed by her new car or fancy countertops.  Such is life.  

What always struck me as humorous was that I know for fact that we have a higher income and a higher net worth.  She rejected me for being poor when in reality I was richer than her.  I just didn't live her high lifestyle.  Oh well...But you know what?  When I lose a friend because of how I choose to spend my money it opens a spot for a new friend who shares my values.  

Really, that's all we are talking about here... values.  

I value saving, being debt free, and preparing for the future.  When I meet someone who doesn't value that they are free to move on.  As my free spending friends have left I've replaced them with friends who inspire my frugal ways.  I love a friend who invites my kids over for a water balloon fight in the back yard rather than a $50 trip to the movies.

The point is this; as you change your values you will find some relationships no longer work for you.  In time you will replace those relationships with ones that fit in with your new lifestyle, and that's OK.  You can speed up this process by joining local groups or forums for frugally minded people.  

There are plenty of us out there, just come find us!

Ashley Barnett, blogger and personal finance expert guest posting for leading provider of debt relief, careone services inc. Ashley Barnett

As a budget coach and financial author Ashley Barnett spends her days (and nights!) giving everyday families the tools they need to succeed with their money.  Her passion for budgeting is fueled by watching people get control of their money and turn their financial lives around.  Check out more resources and advice on Ashley's blog, Money Talks Coaching.

 

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  • A. We earn two good salaries, and B we have chosen to live a fairly frugal lifestyle.  That works for us and allows us to save nearly one full salary which brings us closer to early retirement.

    My husband has a friend he's known since the first day of school. Now they are both in their 50s. They have hobbies in common and the same sense of humour, but that about it as far as I can see. In almost every other aspect of life we've made the opposite choices to the friend and his wife. We both continued on to college/university. Neither of them went beyond highschool. We don't smoke and rarely drink, they both smoke and if beer it isn't a line on their budget it sure ought to be. We delayed having our children until we were financially prepared - they had theirs soon after marrying and leaned on their parents for any help they could get (cash, donated household goods/old vehicles, free babysitting, etc). Flash forward a couple of decades and they still struggle financially with multiple job losses, extended periods of unemployment, grown kids who still live at home because they are following the same path and their highschool educations don't get jobs that pay enough to let them move out and become independent adults.  It's a good thing they all seem to get along fine, because they may all be together a very long time.

    Sometimes I'm surprised that their friendship had lasted as years have passed. They still enjoy each other's company, but I know my husband consciously filters his conversations. He always leaves out the details about our latest vacation. I overheard him summarize a two week trip to Europe as "it was fun, we saw a lot of interesting stuff and the weather was great". The only trip they've ever taken was a cruise she won at work. We never discuss our planned early retirement target date. There's no point. It would seem mean to talk about it when at this point they look like they'll be working as long as they are physically able. We don't bring up our kids school plans because their kids really have no plan - working for minimum wage is all they are aiming for. I admit I sometimes avoid visiting them because I find it just a little depressing to see them struggling in so many ways. I know much of it is the result of their own choices, but it's hard to see the cigarettes and beer being bought (often from the unemployment funds) and then saying they wish they could afford to fix ___ on the car or around the house. Sometimes it's upsetting and other times it downright frustrating to the point of irritating that they can't see how their choices impact every aspect of their lives. They don't make a lot of money, but even so they don't seem to manage what they have very well and seem to just let life happen to them.

  • Yes!  It's sometimes hard but rewarding to stick to the "straight and narrow" discipline of money management but worth it.  I wanted to share my favorite tip for staying on budget with grocery spending.  At the first of the month (we're paid once a month), I buy 4 gift cards at Walmart (where I grocery shop) for X amount of dollars per card.  This is what I spend at the store.  To help further, I put the fun stuff in the top of the basket and the necessities in the larger part and if I've exceeded my card amount with necessities, the goodies have to wait. There is a little wiggle room so we're not totally deprived.   It's worked great for years!

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