“Debt has become a part of who we are” ~Dave Ramsey
Fresh, new. Indulgent. Fills up a hole of boredom with my same ole, same ole.
The secret to wealth is not spending more than we make. Right? That means I need to want less than I can afford. Living below my means is tricky because I love treats and feel entitled to them since, to be completely honest with you, I tell myself often that my life is harder than other people’s lives, and I deserve a better life (I know that is not true, but it is my brain).
I highly recommend everyone write a letter addressed Dear Money, and tell it what you think of it. I learned some foul ugly truths about my attitude and love-hate relationship with money.
This article is not about my relationship with money. It is about my secret weapon to help me feel full, satisfied, and blessed when my finances aren’t feeling fat and happy. The Public Library!!
Imagine this: I need a treat and a hole is searing into my credit card, screaming “Feed me!”. You know that spendy feeling, wanting to fill a hole in your heart. Exercise helps it, and a nap does too for a little bit. But it comes back when I am tired again. You tell me to hide my credit cards, or put them in an ice cube tray on ice, or cut them up. I have tried all that, but I get very determined!
Sometimes I just want something new to me, for me to enjoy. Something tangible, indulgent, and entertaining.
I have two choices:
- Door #1 is TJ Maxx, Target, etc. where I buy a strange un-matching shirt or outfit that doesn’t quite fit, a new lotion or makeup, and a decorative pillow that I think I need and that feel like a good deal. This all cost $75, and I feel good that it was less than a $100 charge on my credit card. A week after I get my “filled up heart” and items home, the pillow is in the way on the couch and already has dog hair on it. The shirt has an annoying seam that scratches my shoulder, and the lotion joined my other 4 bottles on the shelf. The receipt is folded up and tucked away so I don’t have to look at my credit card charge that I won’t pay off very soon.
- Door #2 is the local library. I spend an equal amount of time there(about 45 minutes) outside my home, perusing local notices, new books, staff opinions on old books, sit in a comfortable chair to read a few book jackets, admire some local art. Meanwhile, my grade-school age kids are in the kid zone at the library and their energy is quiet and calm. I leave with $0 spent, no tags, and no trash to throw away. And because I felt really indulgent, we each got five new books checked out to read! Such a better deal that lasts for a week!
- “Fresh, new. Indulgent. Fills up a hole of boredom with my same ole, same ole.” Libraries offer that exactly!
COVID-19 Update: I logged in online tonight to my local library and checked out three e-audiobooks to rent online (they have 4,737 available!) and five e-videos (they have 55 e-videos on Star Wars alone). I put a hold on the Complete 7th and 8th seasons of Game of Thrones on DVD, and I have two books to pick up curbside tomorrow after 5 pm. Since I skimmed over the library website instead of scrolling around Amazon, I saved myself from being told I need 3 new vitamins, new anti-aging lotion (too late, I am already old!) a shirt that will not fit, and a $12.99 book. The Library negates Netflix telling me I need to upgrade my subscription for only $9.99 a month, and I found links to YouTube videos of the librarians reading books for story time. Such a better site to bookmark!
It is way too easy for me to scroll and buy when I am low. But I do deserve a better life than that. I deserve to live on less than I make and make that $$$ work so that I feel the security of knowing I am saving $1, $10, sometimes $100 regularly towards my future.
See more about living a better life on the Dave Ramsey blog. A 10-minute read will inspire you like it has me to do Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps, and just get rid of the credit cards! https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/the-secret-to-saving-money