It Is Time To Return To Living Within Our Means

living-within-our-means

When is the last time that we as a nation and a people have lived within our means? As each subsequent year ticks by, we’re deeper and deeper in debt. The numbers themselves are apparently meaningless to most people – and one wonders whether or not it makes any difference whatsoever… If we as a nation can borrow (print) currency with infinitude, then why not simply print even more – and send each and every person a check for say, $10,000? Or why not more? Wouldn’t that help the economy?


 
The many problems we face as a nation, right down to the household and individual, is rooted in living BEYOND our means. The issues are right in front of us, as well as the logical solutions. When is the last time you heard anyone talking about ‘reining in’ or curbing spending and living within our means?

Instead, the solutions to date have simply been to spend more. Government has been twisting the numbers, redefining the measuring sticks, funding with borrowed money, using smoke and mirrors, artificially inflating the markets, suppressing truths, propagandizing untruths, devising distractions and shifting perceptions. The thing is…it’s all temporary. It’s not a strategy that will fix anything, it’s a strategy to prolong the inevitable. The inevitable being that someone always pays – eventually, one way or another.

While many ‘hope’ for a miraculous solution, ‘hope’ doesn’t get it done. It may be very unpopular, but only a good plan and hard action gets it done.

Speaking generally, our political ‘leaders’ (I think I just threw up a little bit…) are evidently completely inadequate for administering, controlling, handling, and executing a plan to bring about a solution of living within our means. It’s just too complicated for them. They are inept.

The same problem exists throughout our warped society of ‘buy now’ and ‘pay later’. A society which has been brainwashed to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ – spend, spend, spend, regardless of the burgeoning debt load! Don’t worry about it, everyone’s doing it! Even your government is doing it! It’s okay! Look over here! Nothing’s going on over there! Don’t worry!

WRONG. It’s not okay. You are being duped. One day you will pay.

As our national leadership and their controllers squeeze every last drop from those who still have a drop to give, YOU can change things for yourself to better protect yourself from the consequences that are sure to come.

You can start living within your means. Don’t let the system take any more from you. All you need to do is figure out your priorities – your real needs – and then budget them.

In my estimation we WILL experience a great change, a great reset, an alteration that will affect everyone’s lives. Someone always pays, and given our current state of affairs – the debt collector’s coming…

It will be a fearful time for many, a time of hardship for those who have not prepared. The process may take some considerable time to unfold and the course will not be straight. It may even become dangerous. However YOU can make it around the curves and bends by starting today – living within your means. Learn to live with less so that when you are forced to live with less – it will not be such a shock.

The choice is yours. You can continue to spend like there’s no tomorrow and put your ‘head in the sand’, or you can start today by making a plan to live within your means to help survive through a time of economic hardship.

While no one knows the future and whether or not our controllers will be able to manage the unfolding crisis without a hard crash landing, you and I can take control of our own situation despite the incompetence from ‘above’.

Do your part. Be prepared.

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86 Comments

  1. When we first started down that road to become debt free it was intimidating to say the least. Giving up things that we had for years, I thought would be extremely stressful. Surprisingly it wasn’t as painful as I expected. One of the first things I gave up was our daily paper that had been delivered for years. I really looked forward to reading the paper as it became my daily constitution. The first few days were not as bad as I thought they would be, I just found something else to do. So I found other things that we could do without. It seemed to get easier as we went along.

    I think the biggest and hardest adjustment for us was giving up the second vehicle. Since my DH is disabled and never went anywhere anyway, it just made sense. At times it was a struggle to juggle my work schedule with his doctors appointments but we managed. If you plan to go this route, I recommend that you try not to use your extra vehicle for a month to see if it can be done. That’s when you see all the problems and you have time to figure out roundabouts to certain situations.

    The last thing that we are still hanging onto is the cable tv and internet. Being that DH has back issues right now, he spends a better part of his day laying down. So the tv is the only thing he has left. So this will be the last thing to go when our income can no longer keep up with our expenditures.

    1. Peanut,
      Have you thought about streaming your TV. Almost any TV show is available online, Devices like Roku or apple TV will connect directly to your TV. You will be a little behind in your shows but that’s about it. But that way you can cut out your cable bill and just have an internet one.

      Unless you have satellite internet!! I am in a very rural area and forced to use satellite if I want internet. Streaming TV shows just cost too much. Cable, Fiber, and DSL lines typically though are just about unlimited.

        1. to peanut have you tried checking into a wifi broadband service. we are on one were we are and loving it about half the cost of cable or telephone and you get good service. the local company here is called @link. we have saved a ton by using it for the internet and going to netflix for our shows. also they over a home phone with unlimited local and long distance with call waiting with call forwarding and free voice mail at one quarter the cost of having a basic phone line from at&t.
          we have given up a lot to get debt free my refuses to get treatment for a disease and i do to. although it gets very scary on her at times we are so much better off finically and providing for our kids unlike anything before.. we built our home and bought some land and refuse to let some over paid doc or insurance rob us of it.
          do what we must for the next.
          it’s all worth it even when family and friends chastising us for it and not carry the insurance. we have found many supplements that help i’m feeling great most the time. she is doing ok but can’t seem to find that right blend yet.
          hope this helps a few.

      1. I’ve been cutting back more and fuss over the cable bill. It’s the bundle package and compared to others that I talk to my bill is a LOT lower- but I just get the bare basics. I’ve been looking at ditching the “bundle” and just getting internet but the price for internet only is close to the bundle price. I did find to day though that when I chatted with the cable co. about getting internet only they offered me a lower price. Back to where it was 3 years ago with the intro price! I’ll take it while I look around some more.

        Talking with a family member about cutting back on extras such as cable, all I got was “I’m 70 years old and I deserve to have ….”. Yikes.

        1. @ Kathy –

          I call my internet/phone provider every month if needed and talk directly to their retention department. I go through my bill, line by line and see if there is anything that seems high or out of the ordinary. I ask them what kind of discounts and savings they can offer me. Right now I need to call them, but at the lowest I was paying $65 a month for the package of landline and DSL 10MB per second internet. It’s not the cheapest but it’s all I can get out here! Good luck!

          1. Northern Girl
            Sounds like you “did good”. I got the bill down from $115 to $85. I’m kind of rural and my options are limited. If I go with internet only it would run about $60 and then I would have to do something different with the phone and that would end up costing more. I’ll play with it and see if I can do better. :)

          2. phone can be as little as 16$ a month, thru straight talk home.. wally world, have had for almost a year. Have to buy the router. It works off verizon towers. then buy a monthly card, I buy two at a time and put them on, and mark the date it is paid til. your number is portable to the devise, but standard companies hold it as long as they can. Cut 45$ off monthly bill with access fees, surcharges for this or that… re:tv there is a digital tv antena available.. haven’t put ours up yet, so donn’t know how many stations we can get yet…need a few connection things. so maybe next week.

          3. I use a trac phone for a cell phone now and can keep it in the $15- 20 a month. Don’t know about the antenna option or router. I’d have to have someone put it together. Gives me something to ponder and research.

            I have heard of the Wally world phone, actually just stumbled across it a couple of days ago and it one that I will look at. It didn’t have many reviews.
            Thanks

          4. Good luck! I too am rural so there’s only one provider that offers a landline and internet. We don’t get cell service well out here so that’t out of the question, although I do have a Tracfone for emergencies and to use when I am not home. We have a big TV antenna with a rotor we control from the house, so with our digital converter box we get about 35 channels with a little effort of turning the antenna from the three local TV markets. Since we only watch the weather and a few other small shows, it is more than enough for us. It was a worthwhile ~$120 purchase!

    2. Depending on where you live you might want to check out an HD antenna. Almost all tv stations now have to be broadcast over the air also. If you live close enough to a large city you will probably get at least 20-30 channels. These include major networks, sports and movies and home shopping!! and many various language channels. You can pick up an antenna at WallyWorld. The higher you put it the more you get. Just a suggestion!!

      1. @mikey, That is a VERY good point. I’m surprised that I didn’t mention it -given my own geek factor ;)

        (probably because where I currently live – I cannot receive anything – too many mountains in the way)

  2. I have been debt free for the last 19 years. The older I get the less I need or want. I have save money each month since I went to work pay yourself first that means save some for a raining day each month. People that live within their means I believe are happier. Don’t try to keep up with your friends just be happy with what you have, there is always someone worse off than you. It seems like we always think about the people that have more than we have not the ones that have less.

  3. We got into major debt. $10000 in credit card and medical. It’s since been paid but to fix our credit we were told to get small loans and pay them regularly now back into a little debt. Would love to be done with it and house to.

    We cut cable, magazines, very little eating out and 1 vacation a year.

    But it’s hard we still live paycheck to paycheck. I struggle to figure it out.

    On another money thought. My DD has $2000 she wants to save. Bank gives %1 but she wants better. I’m afraid of investing if the economy crashes. What would be a good plan for her? She’s 19 lives at home and pays her community college bill herself.

    1. This is a tough question. I don’t trust the system to stay around long-time, either, but you never know. People said back in the 1970s (and probably earlier) that it was all about to go downhill. If $2,000 had been invested back then, it would be worth an awful lot more now. Although many people seem to believe that investing in the stock market is idiocy, it only is once the can can’t be kicked down the road any longer. Who knows when that might happen? It’s scary because it’s a risk. Of course, if everything goes south and the markets completely collapse, the banks will collapse, too. At that point, any money is worthless. Having the money in a savings account won’t be any different than having it in the stock market. If she’s going to leave her money in an account somewhere, the biggest differences are that the stock market MAY have a much higher return, but it will probably be easier to get money out of the banks to spend quickly on supplies if you see that everything is collapsing before it actually does.

      Your daughter could always choose to invest half of the money in the stock market and half in something that she thinks might go up over time (gold, silver, ammo?). If she’s never invested before, she can go to her bank and talk to someone about getting a money market account with a mutual fund. She could also use something like etrade.com to buy stocks.

      Most of all, congratulations! You have a daughter who is paying her bills and who is willing to save/invest her cash, rather than spend it on a new wardrobe/car/TV/etc. She must have learned something from your mistakes. That’s a good kind of daughter to have!

      1. Wendy
        See if there is an ELP through Dave Ramsey in your area. Check his website, these are people that will teach your daughter the strategies of investing. I was listening to his show yesterday and it would be something for her to check out.

    2. @ Lilangelsmom
      Sorry, but I need to speak up on this, I have had some investments for a long time, here are my viewpoints on them.
      1) My 401 has flat lined for the past 10 months, I’m cashing it out Jan 4th
      2) The stock markets are teetering back and forth for months around 17,500ist, I believe it’s a red flag. Also the world markets have all lost double digit. They (markets) are being pumped with fake cash to keep them alive by the .gov
      3) Oil is iffy, and most countries are based on oil. Also the oil production in the US is in trouble because of cheap “sand-box” oil.
      4) Elections year is up next, and a LOT of people are scared sh!tless, rightfully so, it could “interesting”.
      5) Withdrawing cash from the banks or markets can be deice in times of trouble.
      6) In the same breath Cash could be worthless with inflation and greater cost of living.
      7) Gold and Silver, to hard to pay for anything with hard assets like G&S.
      8) Additionally G&S are very undervalued right now.
      9) The US dollar is no longer the money of the world. The world economy is changing very quickly. Yes the US is a HUGE player, but not the only one, and in all reality the world is not so happy with the US right now.

      My suggestion, for the next 6-9 months, drop the cash in a safe and do a little wait and see. Find out what the .gov is up to and the elections. Also watch the oil and markets. Personally I see a very bad year for the US economy.

      Honestly even a 5% return on $2K is around $8.5 a month, might be well worth the wait to see.

      Lastly, if she does decide to invest, watch out for the “fees” most investment brokers charge, they can eat up any moneys she “may” make on her investment very quickly.

      And yes, I do NOT trust the “banks”, markets, savings & loans, or the .gov at this time…. to fragile.

      JMHO
      NRP

      1. Diversify into silver numismatic/PCGS/NGC graded coins (morgan dollars are my favorite). May not make much but values have been pretty solid over the years.

    3. @Lilangelsmom, That’s GREAT that you apparently are mostly debt-free. The difficulty with ‘regularly’ using credit to establish better credit ratings – is that it is a temptation. Not everyone can spend on a CC and then pay it off every month to zero… All I can suggest is to think about how it felt to be deep in debt and to never want to be there again.

      Regarding your DD wanting to save 2K, that’s an easy one to answer… Just save it. Period. Since there is essentially little to no effectively real interest on savings (or many so called ‘investments’), I would just squirrel away the extra cash every paycheck…and continue to live beneath one’s means (so the extra can be saved). Who cares if you ‘lose out’ on a few pennies (or a few dollars) of interest… At least you have cash in hand. But that’s just my opinion. ;)

    4. Lilangelsmom
      At the Christmas dinner I was discussing the subject a persons “credit score”. Here is how I explained it to her.

      It is simple the measurement of how deep in DEBT you will let the creditors(banks)place you. The number shows they can put you into debt by x amount of dollars. The next question I asked her was, would you rather be FREE, or be a slave to the debt you owe? She like many others have been trained you NEED that credit card, but if you have money saved in what ever form, can pay your bills on time. Why would you indenture yourself? It took a little more explaining, it finally sank into brain she was being scammed by the “have to have now crowd”.

  4. Ken,
    Very good points about getting and staying out of debt . The journey of being debt free begins with the first step in that direction, and I believe it should be a small step in order that a person can achieve a small victory early in the process . It may be giving up a magazine or a newspaper subscription and using the saving to pay down a credit card .
    I believe that debt is the money of slaves , you are in bondage to whomever you owe $$$ to . We dropped our cable tv service a few years ago and immediately began saving $ 60.00 a month or $ 720.00 annually . That buys a lot of rice,beans and toilet paper .By eliminating the television we opened up a lot of time to do worthwhile chores .
    Getting out of debt is a challenge but it can be done with determination and a reasonable game plan . Being debt free is a critical position to be in giving the state of our economy and the ugly events that are appearing on the horizon .

    1. @BLUESMAN, I agree with you (very much so) that in the very beginning – one should take small steps so as not to set unreasonable early goals. Since the journey to becoming debt-free can be a long one (but well worth it!), it is very important to be motivated by the small victories along the way (and to celebrate them!), and to remain excited about the prospect of carrying no burden…

  5. Government waste & spending is rampant and only gets worse each year. There’s no doubt that we are feeling the effects of irresponsible ‘leaders’ and ‘officials’ as they erode the US way of life through financially destructive means.

    Last week, I thought I’d research government “bailouts” over the years. I wanted to see where the big “bailouts” originated from — another way that our government bilks money from tax-payers.

    Well, I found a nice chart from ProPublica (propublica dot org)and it had a concise list of “bailouts” from 1970 to 2009. For those interested, look it up. The end-date, 2009, marks the year after the infamous TARP “bailouts” took place.

    What I saw in dollar-value was a list of former President G.W. Bush’s “bailout” flood of wealth transfer. Most of us remember these: the airline industry, Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, AIG, the auto industry, TARP, & Citigroup. But sitting in a list with the dollar-value assigned was just disgusting. It was Federal-robbery and was approved by the infamous ‘leaders’ and ‘officials.’

    Overall, there has been $2.1 Trillion in “bailouts” between 1970-2009. And during Bush’s reign, $1.775 Trillion in “bailouts” occurred. Bush loved stealing/spending other people’s money, too.

    While we can easily blame Obama for his enormous ‘contribution’ to US debt (and we should!), it’s not just Obama. He is a pawn in a small elite circle of madmen. This is not democracy. This isn’t even a Republic. We’ve lost that. And we’re not included in on the global plan… So we need to prepare for the hard-fall on our own, just as Ken says.

    Government keeps growing and they keep taking our money and our liberties from us. Personally, we can tighten-our-belt as the economy continues to slide further into the abyss, but our liberties aren’t available for the government to take from us. The POS Governor of our state recently declared there is little to zero reciprocity with CCLs now. Since when does our 2nd Amendment say we need a permit to carry, anyway? Since when does an activist’s law trump the US Constitution? The laws are being manipulated, re-crafted, and shifting here and across America. This is by design.

    Every fricking week there is a new crisis. You can almost predict the day, but never a crisis/topic. And always, there is a Friday ‘dump’ of scandalous data. This is all by design.

    The government has gone mad — it’s not inept. ‘Leadership’ is hallucinating with power. The government is shoving a NWO agenda into this country using any crack-pot methodology they can conjure up. But the illusion is breaking apart… The Matrix has been exposed. Everyone who is ‘establishment’ is on-board to destroy Donald Trump. WTF??! Just watch — actions speak louder than words.

    Methinks the revolution has begun.

    What Ken sez: “Do your part. Be prepared.”

    1. I agree with Modern Throwback (aka Lynn). Our political leaders are not inept or stupid. They are nefarious and purposefully grinding down America and enslaving her citizens, not with chains and fetters but with debt and burdensome laws and rules. We still have some autonomy, but I feel for our children and grandchildren who will be shackled with unthinkable national debt.

      We are all waiting for some flashpoint for the reset to begin, but I think the powers that be are more than satisfied to continue their slow, steady march to despotism.

      We can prepare and be prepared for whatever comes, and being out of debt is a liberating position to be in. However, when the SHTF, and the reset begins, we will all be living in the shadows to avoid the watchful eye of the GOV, to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and that is a form of slavery as well.

      Should we not use our remaining liberty and autonomy to raise the alarm? I know I have not engaged others as much as I could. This needs to be done one person at a time with slow steady diligence. We need as many folks as possible to break through the lie, even if they only prepare their mind to be able to see the façade of the political and economic fairytale(nightmare) we are living in.

      We can only have individual liberty when society respects it, and society is made up of individuals. We need to recruit our friends and neighbors so that we can have hope for our children.

  6. A very timely article. Good thoughts to get your house in order for the new year. I am doing this now or at least trying to. Not always easy. Anyone have any ideas on how to watch collegiate sports without cable? One of the arguments against dropping the cable bill. I want to keep the internet since it is something we use daily for a variety of reasons. Like everyone else I know that the gov can’t kick the can down the road indefinitely. I just pray that many more people wake up before the worst happens. Thank you once again for a great article Ken. You and this site are a great service to many.

    1. @MM, Thanks for your comment. I was wondering about a similar question just the other day… With so many entertainment venues available on the internet today (Roku, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime video, and many more), the thing that may keep some people from ditching cable or satellite is the availability of sports, and perhaps the news. In most cases, the ‘news’ can be found via ‘apps’ (local, and/or wider). Those who are into their particular ‘sport’ though – that’s a different story. There may be some with online subscriptions available though.

      I see the future of ‘TV’ going to a form of online ‘a-la-carte’ – picking only those which you want… and paying individually for them.

      1. I agree, I think going with a streaming service for our tv may not work in our case, as my DH loves his sports. I can do without tv as I am still very mobile and also enjoy reading. Luckily our local library is with-in walking distance to our house, so I am all set.

        1. PeanutGallery you sound like me. I don’t really watch tv and when I do it is something I can usually learn from. I read a lot. I have a large library of books and also utilize the library. The other half is a huge sports fan so that makes it hard to kill the cable since the teams he follows are not where we currently live. Hopefully I can someday soon kill the cable bill.

          I do like the idea of buying cable al la carte. I would be able to get away with about 8 channels. Dreams.

        2. We got rid of cable/satellite years ago. We have an Amazon Fire TV and the Sling TV app. With that you get live tv, multiple channels including ESPN and ESPN2. We also have an antenna so we get all the networks in HD. Between the ESPNs and networks most games are available. The monthly fee for Sling TV is cheap but you do have to have decent internet.

        3. We cancelled cable about 8 years ago, I didn’t know how I was going to survive without watching baseball, but when the season came and gone I was surprised at how little I missed it.

    2. I dropped my satellite about ten years ago, and I don’t miss it! I do like to follow my college team, and I haven’t found a good way to watch them, unless I go to a friend’s house when my team plays their team. What I usually do is go to ESPN.com or some other place I can read the play-by-play, while I listen on-line to the university radio station. It’s not the same as watching the game, of course. For me, it’s fine, but I know that it wouldn’t be “good enough” for some others.

    3. @ MM & All
      I also dropped my Sat about 5 years ago….. And I do NOT miss the worthless information they spew allover the airwaves. The $125 I was paying has gone a lot further in my pocket than to them. The time saved by not watching 3-4 hours of crapo each night is amazing. Plus with 20 minutes of commercials per 1 hour of programing……
      NRP

      1. I too have dropped satellite. I’ve kept internet but I stream roku with Netflix and Hulu. We have antenna tv. My DH and I haven’t missed it at all. There are some many free channels out there. We had it all Dvr and all. $130 a month now just internet is $55. Huge savings. The kids don’t miss it because they stream Netflix. We are so busy it wasn’t worth the expense.

  7. Actually, Ken, I really see no need to ‘get out of debt’. If it’s good enough for our government to go on ‘kicking the can down the road’, why not do likewise? Does anybody really care if they die heavily in debt? I sure don’t. If my government does it, why shouldn’t I! I think this obsession with ‘getting out of debt’ is ill advised. So you lose your credit rating. Big deal. As far as the creditors go, there really is little they can really do, except keep telephoning you. Get an answering machine, and screen your calls. Of course you have to pay your home mortgage if you don’t want to lose your house, but that’s about it. A good friend of mine is a Lawyer, and he tells me that the biggest deadbeats are Lawyers, because they know how to work the system. Pay the minimum every month & live large!

    1. @Coronado, I know A LOT of people who agree with you. In fact the obvious vast majority of Americans do. I believe that I am certainly in the minority when it comes to my opinion.

      I personally enjoy not having any stress about owing anybody or any institution anything. I do realize that lots of people are able to overlook or to ‘not’ feel the debt burden, but I just so happen to be one of those who feel it, and don’t like it.

      Additionally, I enjoy the notion of not being in the position of ‘having’ to continue to service a debt until the day I die ;)

    2. I too am in the minority of having no debt. But, Coronado has a point until you need a large purchase or medical treatment that you need to finance.

      The more you are tied to the system, the more control they have over your life – you can always sell that 20 yr annuity, a reverse mortgage, sell that life insurance policy (sarc). The system will try to milk every last dime from you if you let them. However there have been times that I wonder about my ethics when I see the people drive by towing nice boats, trailers, …. all the toys.

      1. @ Homebody
        I tried the Debt and Toy thing for a long time, this NO-Debt is a HELL of a lot better. and my Credit Score is still in the 800’s. I just wonder what will really happen when (not if) the bottom falls out?
        NRP

      2. I listened to Dave Ramsey about 6 years ago and followed his steps to get out of debt. I paid off my debt, got those “toys” you mentioned and built savings while stocking my food storage on a low income and using smarts. It took some creativity, but it got me free in about 3 years. I called it “Preventive SHTF”.

        All my “Toys” play a great part in savings, my health, and prepping as well.

        1. Stardust!!! – Dave Ramsey just has to be one of the real apostles or something. I admit to having done as you – listened and put into place his basic theme “a perfect credit score is ZERO!!” & “and why pay interest to anyone?”. Bottom line – it works. And the relief of not having debt is astounding. Truly a freeing experience to just know that I’ve none. When I want something, put away a bit for it at a time. Make payments to myself in advance for that truck, tool…. whatever. And so often, by the time I accumulate enough to buy the item – I often find out that I’m just fine without it and can either keep saving or just get what/something more important.

          The beans and rice, rice and beans…… well, that is a bit hard to take over time though.

          1. I feel exactly the same way! But my creative way to pay off the debt, to save money and prep all at the same time did not include your diet of beans and rice.

            I made a concoction of salads including cattail stems, my garden lettuce, fried puffball mushrooms, a few flower tops, new birch leaf sprouts, and a garlic salt and pepper/oil dressing I made. Cost nearly zero.

            I fished for my meat, asked farmers for butcher parts like liver and heart they didn’t like. I ate snapping turtle, duck, grouse, deer, and blemished vegetables I didn’t grow that a farmer threw away. I weeded his cabbage rows for the free lambs quarters, and from that used the seeds to grow my own. Cost was nearly zero.

            I made ramen noodle soups being creative with my free finds and garden veggies I grew. Cost 20 cents a meal.

            Desert was fun. I got cake mixes on sale for $1, and used only half of it for a dumpling mix and added wild apples, June berries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, wild red cherries, or wild rhubarb that I found mostly on my property but some found while working in the forest. Cost less than 12 cents a jumbo serving with egg and oil.

            I made my own breads, noodles and burritos, jams, jellies, pie filling, and syrups etc., a big cost savings.

            –this is why I moved where I am in N Mn, resources are bountiful and the only rice I ate at the time was wild rice. It cost me nothing in trade for taking a native co-worker to work and back when she took the ride from my home for 4 years. I never went hungry or bored with meals. Forrest Gump said it for me, eating at my place is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. :-)

    3. Coronado: I just can’t get passed this sentence: “A good friend of mine is a Lawyer…”

  8. We live on about 50% of our income and are debt free. Unfortunately if the rest of the nation did the same thing we would plunge into the worst depression ever seen by this country. The United States is fueled by debt both on the national level and the individual. If people stop borrowing/spending, the house of cards will collapse – hard.

    1. @ A Patriot
      I agree with you totally, just figure how much interest is paid on CC’s alone each month at 24+% OUCH.
      Heck just look at the “interest” the Feds (the tax payers) are theoretically paying on $19T. And the world debt of $270T. that’s a LOT of unpaid debt and interest being not paid.
      Sooner or later it will come crashing down, “hard”
      AND guess what, Congress just passed a $1,100,000,000,000.oo spending allowance for the next 9 months. Thank you Demopublicans and O-no.
      NRP

    2. @ ‘A Patriot’, You are 100% correct! The current financial system REQUIRES more ongoing debt in order to stay afloat. It is a system that will eventually end in zero as the devaluation continues. If even ‘several’ percent more of Americans decided to save instead of spend, it would send the current rickety house-of-cards into a heap. Knowing this reality, sheds enormous light upon the things that are going on all around us. Amazingly, most people do not know this – or they’ve heard it before but really don’t ‘get it’…

      Congrats on only consuming 50% of your income. Most people are leveraged nearly (or all the way) to the max. Having ‘breathing room’ is extraordinarily important, and calming…

      1. And yet, adding to the debt burden also makes it likely that the house of cards would come down that much sooner. It’s a no-win. It’s coming down regardless.

  9. I have a perfect example of why being debt free and living well within your means can save your financial life. In 2013,I was in a chemical plant that was under construction. I was delivering sulfuric acid when that section of the plant exploded,killing a couple men and injuring me pretty bad. At the same time , my wife had undergone surgery and treatment for cancer and while undergoing treatment,she had a heart attack. She lived through all that,I lived through all that, and the only reason we still own our home is because I had payed a 30 year mortgage off in 15 years and I had just payed our only debt ,our pickup truck off a few days before my accident at work. We had no income but losing our home was a worry we didn’t have. Debt free is worry free and debt is slavery.

  10. As an addendum to my earlier comments about not paying off debts, remember it was the ‘Evil Banksters’, the ones we are always railing against, that created this system of debt. So, to my way of thinking, I’m beating them at their own game! I’m using their money, and only repaying a small percentage. If everyone does as I do, those ‘Evil Banksters’ would soon fold up their rigged gaming tables, and we could all revert to earlier times, without their usury interest rates.

    1. I agree about the evils in the financial world but two evils may not be the answer. You pay your house mortgage but what happens if you need a new roof, furnace, foundation repair, etc… the big bucks? Without the ability to finance, you must find a rich relative or other – just a point to consider.

    2. Then who would support you and the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to? You rely on the debt system just as much as anyone else. You’re playing their game, and they hold all the cards.

  11. ATTN: Homebody
    Therein lies the problem. Obviously you haven’t learned how to game the system. Do you know how to play Poker? Have you ever watched that dated move ‘The Sting’, with Robert Redford? Is it evil to outplay a dishonest game? “A man with one eye is King in the land of the blind.”

    1. That depends on whether you believe evil is subjective. If it is subjective, and only a person’s own opinion determines their actions, then there is no evil. Therefore you’re fighting against nothing except your own perception of their actions. If there is a true standard of honesty and truth, evil is not subjective and evil remains evil regardless of perception. So your own actions are equally evil with what you’re fighting against.

      I believe in an absolute morality and absolute ethics. My actions are mine, not belonging to anyone else, and if I do things in response to evil I am still responsible for those actions. So from my point of view, yes it is wrong to outplay a dishonest game because it makes my actions dishonest.

    2. I play the game to win! I have one credit card which is paid off totally each month but it does give me cash back – just got $600.00 back just before Christmas. No interest, no debt, no sweat.

  12. For those who are in the position to do it (mostly teenagers), the best option is to STAY out of debt. Save up and pay cash for your first car, then every month put away a “car payment” so you can pay cash for the next. When you make a large purchase, put away enough money to replace it if necessary.

    Between corporate debt, personal debt, and gov’t debt, there is more debt in this world than there is money. It’s a trend that literally cannot continue. If one person chooses to live it up and not pay their debts, that debt gets paid by those around them in the form of higher interest rates and higher prices. Freeloading by debt is no different than freeloading by not paying child support or living off of others in the form of welfare.

    Gov’t debt gets paid by all of us. Higher prices, higher taxes, and in the long run a much lower standard of living. Our current standard of living is propped up by debt, and when the debt can no longer support it the standard of living will drop to its true levels. At that point we’ll see food riots rather than race riots, and neighborhood wars over water. Because our food and water production is also linked strongly to debt. Oil production is linked to debt. Transportation is linked to debt. Law enforcement is paid for by gov’t debt. Schools are paid for by debt. The list goes on. All of those things will go away when the debt goes away.

    I choose not to add to it.

    1. @ Coronado
      Sure you can, just what do you think the .gov is doing every day?
      I am (at least I feel) an honest man, and everyday I know the .gov is cheating me with it’s lies and dishonest officials. And that starts from the Rainbow House.
      NRP

  13. Debt. Hmpft. I believed my family was on the brink of welfare growing up. My eldest sister knew just were we stood financially. I watched my Aunt and Uncle spend with CASH for everything…. My parents spent cash and sent checks. I’m sure we had debt growing up… We had just what we needed and then, a little more. As an adult, I have just what I need – I don’t play the Jones’ game – its not worth it. I’ve known too many people living paycheck to paycheck. All of those people are not happy – they are missing the big picture. They have to HAVE THE LATEST AND GREATEST!!!! OMG! I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THAT!!! Gimme Gimme Gimme! I watch people drive the most expensive vehicles that they can squeak out of their paychecks, and watch them drive to the cheapie big box stores to buy cheaply made shirts for their kids… Mean while, they have the best cell phones etc… Its sad really… The “Its all about me” game, and “I’m going to get that _____ (fill in the blank with what ever materialistic item you can think of) next payday!” Yep, they eat out at fast food restaurants and have a box of mac’n’cheese in the cupboards at home with left over pizza in the fridge, and a packet of ketchup from their take out… No me! I cook at home, I eat at home, and I make purchases that are WORTH it. Good quality, and I take my time searching for said product. I do research, and make sure its going to last. My car has 256,700 miles on it. Its an ’08. Its paid for, and I plan on driving it into the ground, and then some. I have a lil truck, I bought that used as well … 182k on it. Its 16 years old…. I plan on driving that as long as I possibly can as well. I don’t care if my neighbors have car payments and huge mortgages. I owe less than 20k on my house… It will be paid for at about the time the next prez is inaugurated into office… I have my preps in order and rotate my food stock. I shop for bargains, and grow as much as I possibly can, and jar it up for the winter etc. I give what I can to help others out. Yes, Pay yourself, then, buy your food, then, pay your mortgage, lights, heat and water/sanitation bills… then, learn to cut out TV – I don’t have cable TV or satellite, nor any other type of mainstream media over the airwaves… I listen to the radio, and stream my shows almost commercial free… Its liberating. I’m not infront of my tv at a certain time watching 20+ minutes of “Buy me, you need this” commercials… Its all about marketing, and brainwashing you into products you don’t really need… haha… TV ads are for suckers! Be unique, and think outside the (TV) “BOX” Pay off your smallest credit card, and cut it up. then, take that money, and throw it at your next biggest card or car payment or what ever it is that is taking your hard earned cash… pay it off… and then, take that sum, and toss it at your next debt. If you think you can’t live without credit cards … think again. Tune into DAVE RAMSEY – he will put you on the right path to a debt free life. I learned from my parents and Aunt and Uncle… CASH CASH CASH… NO DEBT…. If you have debt, you are slave to the owner of that debt, and the last thing we want to be is a slave… Get Out Of Debt as fast as you can. Beans, Rice, hunt, fish, trap, and a garden!!!!! Get rid of that BIG BASS BOAT, do you really need it? why won’t that little row boat with an little motor work for you? Do you really need all those expensive toys? Dual Sport motorcycle, kayak, truck, car, snow thrower and rototiller, what more does anyone need?

    1. @ Youngest of 3
      You are sooooo right.
      BTW, youngest of 3 here also, at 62 don’t seem so bad now HAHAHAHA
      NRP

    2. I suspect that is a good example of a large segment of our population Youngest of 3.I agree 100% with your observation.
      And I too am the youngest of three.Small World eh NRP.?

    3. Count me in! I also am the youngest of 3, but I’m not the youngest of us three here, so enjoy your youth!

  14. Being unemployed for the last 4 1/2 years, I live on next to nothing. If I ever get a real job again, I will have a lot of money as I have learned how not to spend any money, unless I absolutely have to….

    When the SHTF, my lifestyle is not going to get any worse than it is now….

    1. 21Bravo,
      I would like to know how you are making it without a job. Where do you shop? What do you eat? Etc. I want to reduce expenses, but I am not sure how. Any help?
      Zuzu

  15. Robin Hood! That’s a good one. It just goes to show you, nothing really changes. Back then in his day, the King taxed the people unmercifully, sending out his taxmen to collect, taking everything if his subjects didn’t pay up. Now, our King does the same, and sends out the Internal Revenue Service to collect, with the same consequences if you don’t pay up.
    Where’s Robin Hood now, when we really need him?

  16. That’s what I thought too. I was out of work for nearly four years. I thought I’d be able to maintain that level of spending ($0) when I did get a job, but it didn’t happen. First I had to play catchup for all the stuff I had put off for three years–socks, car maintenance, etc–and when that was done I was back in the habit of spending. But now I have a year’s worth of clothes (including socks!) and just about everything else except water. And Christmas is over. Should be simple, huh? :)

  17. I know this won’t sit well with most of you. But three years ago I was injured on a job, had to deal with workers comp. Had tens of thousands in debt because the money train stopped. No money coming in means no money going out!
    And having been a good slave unit and always paid my bills. I was very stressed in the fact that I couldn’t.
    Then I talked it over with a friend who is a lawyer, he proposed bankruptcy. In one move I eliminated all cc and hospitals debt. Kept my home and used car ect. And shed 40+ thousands in debt. Refinanced the house through HARP for a 20 year fixed. And have been able to make additional principle payments every month. 3 years in and I have about 7 to go on the house.
    Know this, I have to find my own work! Because all the jobs I have applied for require checking that little box, for the question ( Have you had a workers compensation claim). Never a call or replies. I have filled an application and did not check the little box. Got a replie, and after stating that I may have overlooked it. I never heard from that employer again.
    If it wasn’t for the life style of being prepared, those days would have been much worse.
    So keep prepping, because there my be things. Beside the whatever, you may have to hurdle through.

  18. Converting your ‘toys / past times’ to ‘investments / life skills’ to me makes a lot of sense. If the item – service can be sold / bartered during an economic collapse, you are ahead of the game. Vacations – restaurants – theme parks experiences are very short term (though a lot of fun).

    Getting completely out of debt is definitely the 1st step. As long as someone else has a finger in that pie, it really isn’t yours.

  19. This topic of living within ones’ means, tailoring ones’ needs to ones’ assets, is in contrast to the condition of the ‘affluenza’ kid, whose means far exceeded his needs. The lawyer argues that this kid was a victim of unlimited wealth that deprived him of a sense of right and wrong. A classic case of wants confused with needs. The seeking of fulfillment of wants is a well-trodden path to self-destruction. The lesson to be learned there is don’t let your wealth define your needs.

  20. Ken hit on something in the early posting which reminded me of one item that happened during the depression and many lost homes due to this fatal error…credit.
    When families could not afford the high price of an item the local merchant would give them(wait for it)CREDIT.
    When the stock market when to hill and shy nola, families lost their savings. No money, no jobs one could not pay the payments items were repossessed. If the families were in extreme debt they would lose the house to the banks as the holders of the notes.
    I have the documents of my great grandfather losing the ranch due to over extension of bank loans.
    It feels like the late 1920-30’s all over again.

    1. Many more lost their homes, farms, business to the tax man, not a subject that history ever talks about….remember the book/movie The grapes of wrath. We all are only a page away from what our Government dictates.

  21. Living within your means has ALWAYS been fashionable. Now in our 50’s, my wife sez: Financial Security is sexy. (baby!)

    I can hear you youngsters out there saying: “Eeww! old-people sex!”

    Spending money is an addiction by those that are perpetually unhappy. Spending sprees often go hand-in-hand with a diagnosis of Manic-Depressive (manic phase)

    Maintain separate accounts within your household. Track your finances the way you track your food and ammo inventories. The first sign of mental illness/dementia can be tracked in financial records for those taking care of elders. (or theft-by-caregivers)

    1. “Spending money is an addiction by those that are perpetually unhappy.” That’s our neighbors!!
      The parents of the pouty high school junior down the street have bought him cars, trucks, boats, hunting dog and rifles, snowmobile, a 4-wheeler and then leave him at home to party for the week while they’re in Las Vegas. And the kid is miserable, about the same for the parents.

  22. Interesting and timely article, Ken! Especially with

    On Christmas day my brother made some crack along the lines of “don’t you have a drawer full of” whatever it was. Knowing how incredibly deep in debt he is, for nothing but crap, I cracked back that it was interesting that I seem to have drawers/cabinets full of stuff, and wasn’t the one that had to make an “emergency” trip to Costco and put $600 on a credit card two days before Christmas just so they had enough food and toilet paper for company. Something in my gut told me that it bothered him that we’re prepared for anything and they are not.

    My husband and I have decided that we’re weird. My DMIL gave us $500 for Christmas. For once in my life, I really just wanted to be irresponsible and spend it on something fun, and neither of us can think of one thing to carelessly spend it on. I did put the nix on the fourth dog.

    As to an individual’s debt threshold, mine is low, and I know it. I bought my house on my own 18 years ago and I remember laying in bed at night thinking about how much I owed on it at the time. I would actually calculate my equity in my head and figure out how much of the house I actually owned (like 1 room out of 10, and that was the closet-sized powder room). Paying this puppy off in January feels GREAT!!!! We have been through 2 job losses and a 50% reduction in my husband’s salary and I never lost sleep over fear that we couldn’t pay the mortgage or the electric bill. I figured I’ll finally own the front porch in two days ?

    I’ve watched my brother (sole earner of the family) go through 2 job losses and try to live on unemployment even for a couple of months. They were stressed and desperate. My parents sent them grocery money, which tore him up. I have friends who ended up divorced because of a job loss resulting in losing her dream house and the resentments it caused.

    I’ve decided that people don’t really value anything important anymore, so there’s no concept of the value of anything. As long as I have my husband and my dogs, it doesn’t matter what we live in. I’d rather live in our truck with him sleeping beside me than put our “stuff” ahead of my family and values. And I can hold my head up high and sleep just fine at night knowing that I am in control of my life and, at this point, not much can derail that.

  23. Becoming and staying debt free is THE most important thing you can do.
    It ain’t easy, but it is doable— and worth the effort.

  24. @Coronado you aren’t beating the lenders, you are doing exactly what they want. The lenders don’t want the principle back, they want you to remain in servitude by paying interest forever.

    Being debt free is a form of liberty and freedom.

  25. My step-maw was migrant “Okie”,(she’s 89 now).Had dog which would lick dishes clean;minimizing grey water after the washing/rinsing.Washtub stayed cleaner longer.

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