Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Financial Personality

I know that I am a freak of nature. Our church is doing a sermon series on the financial crisis. When our pastor was talking about financial responsibility he mentioned three common pitfalls we should all avoid. When he asked everyone who had ever fallen into one of those pitfalls to raise their hand, I was about the only one who struggled to think of some reason to raise my hand.

Am I perfect financially? No. But I do follow some basic principles and guidelines that I have been taught since I was a child. Also, as I tell my husband, I am freakishly frugal. Fortunately for me, frugality has become somewhat fashionable. I saved almost all of my birthday checks and babysitting money throughout childhood. I saved a good portion of my summer job money, and had a summer job since I turned 15.

Did I splurge? A few times, but only for the really important things. I used a portion of money for a trip to visit a friend in Germany (I spent less than $700 including the plane ticket, train tickets, eating out, and small gifts). In high school and college, I bought a few books (mostly from a bargain rack), a few CDs, and quite a bit of candy. I also bought my own gas. Fortunately gas was cheap for me in high school. And one year of high school I gave two other girls rides to school and got gas money from them.

Since my parents provided a small clothing allowance and owned the car I drove, I had quite a bit of savings heading into college. They paid for the amount of tuition, room and board that wasn't covered by scholarships (about 8-10,000 a year). And I finished an undergraduate degree in 3 years.

Moral of the story? If you are born with a freakishly frugal nature, have parents who are willing to support what you do, and live in a way you can afford - you can avoid loans and live life in freedom. Even though I have changed jobs several times (always taking a paycut for some reason) and even had a brief period of unemployment, the end result of my frugal, savings-oriented nature is that I have always had enough to see me through the hard times.

Good luck in your own frugal adventure!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Marriage

Maybe it's because I'm newly married, but I get really offended when someone tells me divorce is a wonderful thing and that it's great that women have "more choices."

Choosing to leave your family for "a better fit" husband is like choosing to wreck your car because you wanted a different color. You picked the car out yourself. You knew what color it was when you bought it. It's one thing if the car needs a new engine (i.e. he is cheating on you). Other than that, you knew what you were doing when you said "I do".

Is my husband the perfect man in the world? Of course not! But, by being a better wife, my husband will become a better man. Not by nagging, making new "guy friends", complaining, arguing. We have a choice in our behavior, just like we have a choice in whether or not we got married. I said "yes" several times to several questions. Why would I decide to back out for "more choices". I already made a choice. Final Answer.

Especially if there are kids involved, unless there is infidelity or abuse, there are no other choices. You picked the father of your children, you picked your mate for life. You can't dump them because you're tired. If your relationship is stagnant - maybe you as the woman need to take the first step. And it should not be to walk away.