Monday, August 1, 2011

painting my debt ceiling

Never spend your money before you have earned it.
Thomas Jefferson, American President
Watching the decision-making process (or lack thereof) in Washington these past weeks has caused a lot of contemplation on the issue of spending. Earning an income to provide for our essentials and well deserved treats is a huge driving factor in our society. Whether it be eBay, Pottery Barn, the mall or Sally's home show, we love the excitement and freedom we derive from getting something new. Our power to choose and wheeling-dealing become a sport. Any homeowner could tell you that most of the fun of having a home is making it our own with cool items and one-of-a-kind finds.

But what happens when our purchases begin to infringe on our freedom...from debt, from worry, from not being able to get what we need? How high will we go to reach our own debt ceiling?

I have had my own challenges with this issue...a really good sale done one too many times leaves me with anxiety when the credit card statement arrives or realizing that all those "great deals" added up to a trip I have always wanted to take. Furthermore, challenges in spending causes stress in our relationships and ultimately can really make us feel powerless. The worse part of my job as a realtor is hearing that someone can't afford to move but can't afford to stay in their home by choice or by chance...our individual decisions end up costing us a lot. 

We can take this national debate and use it as a gift for our personal development. It can be a time of reflection on goals and our spending habits. Perhaps it is helpful to make a budget of wants and needs as well as room for savings. Sometimes it means honest to goodness window shopping where your hands stay in your pockets and away from your pocketbook. I tease my kids that it is like going to the art museum, "Admire, but don't touch!" We can take time to uncover the real needs of our souls...which is often nurturing or expression that doesn't cost a we can stop filling our lives with more stuff. Maybe we can find lasting freedom by not having a debtor on our back and knowing we have the power to live our lives as we choose.

Photo: Source