Thursday, 11 December 2008

Do you "get" it?

There are so many people out there who just don't! What am I talking about? Well, I am continuing yesterday's thoughts about debt, I suppose. There are families who don't have the same priorities as mine, and I don't understand how they are so blase about the levels of debt which they are accruing. I don't "get" how they just continue to spend, spend, spend on things which are unnecessary luxuries, whilst they are not paying their dues in the mortgage and council tax, for example. They obviously don't "get" my ideas, either, so I guess that we are even, but I am convinced that mine is the right path.

Let's be clear - there are some kinds of debt which are OK. Mortgages are reasonable, but I would still urge people to overpay as much as possible so that they are clearing the debt as fast as possible. Student debt is also understandable, in some cases, as long as it is not extreme; some students seem to have an incredibly responsible attitude and work jobs as well as studying to minimise their debts, but others just seem to believe that a student loan is there to be spent and hey, it has a long pay-back period, so let's spend it! This is also a kind of debt which I would advocate getting paid off as quickly as possible. Why have millstones hanging around your neck if you can possibly be free?

The way to live on a small income is to be positive and to see everything as a challenge, and to try to beat the system! I have been properly diagnosed with depression in the past on two occasions, but then I changed the way I thought. Instead of dwelling on my problems and concentrating on how miserable life felt (and I say "felt" rather than "was" as it was only my interpretation of how my life was panning out at the time) I read an excellent book by a doctor called Richard Carson, and it told me to stop thinking, basically! Stop thinking about the things that are making one miserable and act, do something, keep busy, keep your mind occupied and achieve! I now refuse to let miserable thoughts enter my head, find something positive in all situations, and keep smiling! Hey, I lose it sometimes, but the essential underlying attitude that I hold is a Positive one.

This means that when I go shopping and buy things that are cheaper versions, I am positively glowing at the thought of having cheated the supermarket out of the premiums I would have paid on more expensive items - I love buying things from charity shops because I am benefitting the environment by recycling, and the charities are getting revenue as well - growing my own veggies is brilliant because it saves us money, gives us exercise and gets us out in the fresh air, and we spend time together doing the garden - and baking is very satisfying when I consider the cost of the same items in the supermarket, and that I am eliminating so many additives from the family's diet by being on top of the ingredients, so to speak, by knowing what is in the food. Establishing a budget and making changes to accomodate it is empowering, and staying within my own imposed budgetary limits is very satisfying. See frugality as a challenge, work out how to achieve your aims and feel the buzz when you get there - and if you don't, there is always next month!

Set aims as well, so that you can see that you are making inroads into the debt, if you have it, or perhaps a chart to show how much you are saving - and save FOR something. We always have a little holiday fund that I make payments into each year for a few days away and days out in the holidays - and it gives me enormous pleasure to see that increasing.

Getting pleasure from something or avoiding pain are the greatest motivators in life, apparently, and I work well with both. Being in debt would cause me enormous pain, in terms of stress and worry, so I avoid it like the plague. Avoiding it by taking the measures I have outlined as well as others, means that I get pleasure (and relief, and peace of mind) from not being in debt. The people that I mentioned in the opening paragraph who are in debt and still spending unwisely are, to me, getting too much pleasure from the spending that they are enjoying, and the debt is not yet causing them enough pain. Unfortunately, the times we have ahead of us mean that when that pain comes, it may well be very great. Now is the time to stop, think and reassess life, and one's priorities........

I think that I will go back to normal life tomorrow and share a couple of recipes!

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