"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7, NIV).
As Steve and I keep trying to shovel out from under a heavy debt load with a plastic spoon I want to scream loudly to anyone who is remotely tempted to buy something they cannot afford, "It's not worth it!" If I had a dollar for every financial mistake I have made since graduating college and entering the work force thirty four years ago I would be able to retire tomorrow. Yet here we are -- with a daughter in high school facing college in four years, a son who graduated three years ago but opted not to go to college, and three cars ranging from eleven to nineteen years in age, all in constant need of repair -- shoveling away at "Mt. Debterest" one spoonful at a time. We are making progress -- painfully slow progress -- but there is no margin for error or emergencies.
Dave Ramsey, where were you thirty years ago before we dug ourselves such a deep hole? Where were the lessons about paying with cash, building an emergency fund, and saving for that season of unemployment we would go through not once, but three times? Sigh...we're not blaming you, Dave; we did this to ourselves. How I wish we'd had the benefit of your counsel when our train left the depot on the fast track to financial derailment!
Scripture is right, and Dave is quick to remind us, that "the borrower is slave to the lender." The shackles that fetter our ability to give generously, pay forward the kindnesses that have been shown to us, and drive a car that isn't a constant drain on our nerves and our bank account are heavy. But we are on our way to financial freedom and we won't stop moving forward until we have arrived. We may be without a surplus, or some days even an adequate supply of cash, but we are not without hope!
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:1-4, NIV).
We have forsaken all forms of plastic except, on rare occasion, our debit cards. We don't use even a debit card if we can pay with cash. Dave is right...we spend less when we pay with cash. While we continue making every effort to save, though the emergency fund stays in a state of perpetual depletion for car repairs, medical expenses, and life's other little dollar destroyers, we are determined to keep walking toward the light at the end of the tunnel because we are convinced it does exist.
We didn't get into this shape overnight; neither will we get out of it anytime soon, barring the miracle of an unexpected windfall. And since that is not likely to happen, guess I'd better go to the bank, get some cash, and buy some more plastic spoons!
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