I want you to think about all the ads you see to buy something that cost over $1,000. What do all these ads normally do? What is the company try to sell you on? Have you figured it out? It’s a payment! I noticed this the other day when I was watching TV. A car commercial never gave the exact cost of the car but only the payment… Then in fine print they have the terms, credit info, and down payment needed. Have we bought the life that having debt is normal?
I have also seen this technique for furniture, appliances, electronics, beds, new windows, new roof for a house, and so many more things. People look at me funny sometimes when I ask for the TOTAL COST or if they would give me a discount to pay for the item with cash. Please note there are some things that would be really hard or take a long time to not take out a loan to purchase (house, car, college degree…)
HAVE WE BOUGHT THE LIE
The lie I am referring to is “having debt is normal”. What do you think? Is having debt normal and the only way to do things?
About 20 years ago, the answer would have been NO but today I think most would say YES! Now there is somethings that would be very difficult to purchase without a payment. But what about those smaller items? Do we need a payment on those? Do we need to keep up with the Joneses?
Now this payment is not always a loan from a company but maybe a credit card. Have you bought the lie?
WHAT DOES THE LIE INCLUDE?
I cannot tell you exactly what the lie would include for you because we are all different. But I want you to think about some questions when looking at purchasing an item:
- Could I save for this item?
- Do I really need it?
- Is there a better price?
- Do I need brand new?
- Could I fix what I have?
- How much would I pay over time with payments (what’s the total interest)?
- What financial place would I be after?
Think about each of these questions and decide if this item is what you really need for your finances.
WHY WE SHOULD NOT BUY THE LIE
There are many reasons to NOT buy the lie and I am going to share one example. We have probably all heard the term “keeping up with the Joneses”. If not, it implies our need to buy things to impress other people. We have probably all done this. We see so & so with a brand new car and suddenly we need a new car too. This is the lie because most likely our car is just fine it is just not as shiny. Does it get you to point A to point B?
Another way we see the Joneses is through social media and the biggest reason we should NOT buy the lie is because where does it put us financially? If you are trying to keep up with that one person, who is trying to keep up with someone else, no one will ever win. And everyone will be swimming in debt!
I have seen this example in my own life with some family and friends that I know. And I want to share a couple of examples because we have probably all seen this…
THE JONESES SIDE:
This family has 2 kids and lives on one income. They eat out almost every night, have cable, own nicer cars, go on vacations often and have the BIG house with all the nice things inside. We have always wondered how they did it because they make a little more than us. Then one day we found out; they have a mountain of debt and just keep adding to it.
THE OTHER SIDE:
This family has 4 kids and lives on one income (slightly more than the other family). But they almost never eat out, don’t own a TV (crazy I know…) so no cable, they have cars that work, they go on road trips often, only buy what they need, and they have a big enough house for their family. I asked them how they do it because their only debt is their home (the husband even has his MBA). Can you guess what their biggest tool is? It’s their BUDGET! They have not bought the lie and are now saving for their dream of sailing the ocean with their family!
Did you learn anything from these examples? I can tell you, I have and I know which side I want to be in! I also want to say that both families are happy but the other side family does not stress about money in the way the other family does.
HAVE WE BOUGHT THE LIE? HAVING DEBT IS NORMAL?
I hope I have shown you why we should NOT buy the lie of always being in debt or that it’s normal. There are times it’s the only way but for those smaller items don’t do it. Use a Budget to be able to save for those items. We should not let our debt control our life!