Monday, March 9, 2009

Growing on Trees

When I was a kid, my mom used to always say the phrase, "Hey, what do you think money grows on trees?" This was her cute way of letting me know that she was tired of me asking for money.

Stop being a pest. Get out of my hair. Go play. Hopefully, somewhere free.

What my mom never did was teach me about money. I can't even say we lived paycheck to paycheck. We were always less a few dollars and our ends never seemed to meet. While she worked hard, it was a small income and just us. No credit card debt, but we borrowed often from family or friends. We even dipped in a few times to my kid savings account.

Zero was good in our house. It was better than negative, you see.

That's why, at the ripe old age of 31, I'm taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. It's time to learn about money. I know a few things. I can balance the check book. I sort of grasp the idea of savings. And, a few years ago, I plowed through our credit card debt and cut up all sorts of bad plastic. Still, we've struggled despite our best efforts.

Finally, last week, a light went on when Dave was talking about getting rid of debt. Why are people so afraid of getting out of debt? Because they don't think they can do it. They've lost hope. The debt snowball consumes us. I felt like he was whispering right in my ear. This was me. This was us. We were afraid.

I'm still a little afraid, I think. But each week, I get a little stronger and a little more sure of myself. I don't want any more debt, including car payments or school loans or vet bills or more stuff I don't need. Won't use. Don't really care about it.

I can do this. The amazing thing is, if I can, I know you can, too.

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