Household debt in North America continues to skyrocket, while incomes don't. National and consumer debt in the U.S. has made headlines recently, and I read an article on the Leader Post website today entitled, "Canadian household debt hits record high." The article said that household debt is now 152.98 percent as a proportion of annual disposable income, which means that on average we as Canadians are spending 152.98 percent of what we make. Yikes. Our culture encourages immediate gratification. People in their twenties are financing themselves crazy trying to live in a house bigger than their parents' house and drive cars nicer than their parents do. And yet every time any of us chooses to take on more debt, we are putting our family in grave financial danger. If you are in so much debt that you barely have any income left over, have you ever stopped and thought about how you would be able to make all of your monthly debt payments if you or your spouse became ill and couldn't work, or had another emergency? My husband and I had a serious wake-up call after accumulating approximately $47,000 in debt which mostly consists of student loans. Our payments were so high that we at times struggled to buy food or gas for the car. If you are in debt and want to change your lifestyle so that you can provide a better financial future for your family, I encourage you to read Dave Ramsey's book, "The Total Money Makeover." It will radically change the way you look at money and your life in general. My husband and I are now ok with being weird and choosing not to give into our materialistic culture. We live in an apartment, drive one old car, and do without cell phones and cable tv so that we can pay off our debt as fast as we can.
Are you longingly looking through the fence at something you want to finance? Dave Ramsey always says that if you have to finance something, that means you can't afford it.
Check out the articles on debt here:
What do you think about debt?
Leader Post Article:
I wrote a fun frugal fashion finds post about a month ago, and thought it was time for another one! Because I am living on a strict cash budget in order to save for an emergency fund and pay off debt, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothing. I am learning how to find cheap, but stylish clothing in order to not break the bank. It is a lie that you have to spend a lot of money on fashion. My husband and I have a clothing budget of $20 a month to share between the two of us. We take turns using the clothing budget or forgo buying clothing some months in order to save our budget to purchase higher priced items later on. I feature fun frugal fashion finds whenever I acquire a new item for my wardrobe in order to inspire other budget-conscious women to bargain shop. I have found some items at garage sales and a couple at thrift stores, but by far my favorite place to look for cheap clothing is the Suzy Shier Outlet Store that opened recently in the city.
Today's featured item is a black half sweater. I have plenty of shirts to layer it with, and it definitely keeps me warm on cold Canadian winter days!
Price: $10!!! At the Suzy Shier Outlet Store
What is your fun frugal fashion find?
I once watched an episode of "Til Debt Do Us Part" where a couple in huge amounts of debt was asked to make a budget and was told that $120 a week was adequate for groceries for the TWO of them. I about fell off my chair. My husband and I eat very well on half of that a week and sometimes less as we work towards paying off all of our student loan and other debt. We used to think that buying groceries had to be an expensive event, but it sure doesn't have to be. We take our grocery money in an envelope with us when we shop so that we can physically see how much we have to spend. We also bring along a calculator to make sure we are staying within our budget and to know if we need to put any items back. Once again, last night I was amazed at everything we were able to buy. We were able to purchase enough to make meals for the next two weeks, and our total bill was only $50.21. Below is a picture of everything we purchased.
2 4-packs of green peppers
Kashi Toasted Berry Crisp Cereal
Superstore Brand Corn Flakes
Silk soy milk
Frozen corn kernels
2 cans of black beans
1 can of lentils
2 cans of mushroom pieces and stems
2 cans of sliced black olives
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of evaporated milk
12 large eggs
10 lb. bag of potatoes
1 container of feta cheese
1 bag of tomatoes on the vine
1 2 lb. bag of mandarin oranges
A 3 pack of romaine lettuce hearts
1 jalapeno pepper
1 stalk of green onions
1 3 lb. bag of white onions
Yummy meals, here we come! It IS possible to eat well on a budget. Don't let eating out all the time derail your efforts to pay down debt. Note - while I am a vegetarian and my husband isn't, he pretty much lives on a vegetarian diet too. While meat can be expensive, he finds it on sale when he wants to eat meat. It doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive to be a meat eater.
And in case you're wondering what we eat, here are some pictures of meals we've made in the past...
Do you have any tips for eating on a budget?
I've been writing a lot lately about giving and how all of us can give even if we are on a tight budget. My husband found the video below on Google+. It moved me to tears. In the video, written and directed by Sharon Wright, one man changes the lives of multiple people with just one dollar.
A cup of coffee for someone who is out in the cold, a listening ear for someone who is hurting, a smile to a child, a hug for a friend in need... the list is endless.
What can you give today?