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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Frugal Friday: Be Weird

One of my all-time favorite Dave Ramsey lines is this one.

Sad but true... Debt does seem to be the norm these days. When we were shopping for a vehicle earlier this year, we even had a family friend look at us like we had two heads when we told him we planned to pay cash for a vehicle. Our friends words? "You'll always have a car payment." WHAT?????

I guess that our friend's way of thinking is more normal than we think. Check out some of these statistics I found.

  • Credit card customers paid over $14.6 billion in 2008 in just penalties (late payments, over the limit fees, etc.).
  • In 2008, the average new car loan was $25,000.
  • Americans own approximately 1.4 billion credit cards. That's about 9 cards per cardholder.
  • The average cardholder is about $6200 in debt to credit card companies. That's each person, not each household.
  • One in every 35 U.S. households filed for bankruptcy in 2007. The reports I saw said that this number was on the rise.

While my husband and I are working our way out of debt (only 2 accounts left to knock out!), we have the goal of being debt-free. I guess that makes us...


But hey... I'd rather be weird than broke!

For more great frugal living ideas, stop by Frugal Friday hosted by Life As MOM.


Anonymous said...

Good for you for being weird!! We are weird too and have been debt free for several years now! THere's nothing like it!!


Donna said...

Amen, we have the same goal. We have paid off all the extra credit stuff and tomorrow are refinancing the house. Hopefully that will be paid off in less than 10 years.

We don't have car notes either. And have been able to help our 4 boys purchase their vehicles.

Don't know if you have read any of the books by Thomas Stanley (Dave recommends them). The first book is the Millionare Mind and then The Millionare next Door. Both are excellent and disspell alot of the myths folks have about the lifestyle and their spending habits.

Jennifer said...

Donna - We did read the Millionaire Next Door, and it was quite eye-opening. I love the fact that most millionaires wouldn't even consider buying a new car!

Mary Ellen - Keep being weird!

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm not so sure it's weird to be debt-free. Statistics can be vague. For instance, the one about credit card holders having an average of $6200 in debt. Remember that it's a snapshot in time. If a snapshot had been taken of our credit card debt 4 weeks ago, it would have shown around $5k in debt. But what it doesn't show is that we paid it off (electronically) even before the bill came in.

Most folks I know don't have debt - no car loan, credit card debt, student loans, or mortgage. And these are working folks, not particularly wealthy people.

But while I realize there are many people in debt, cutting up credit cards and other things Dave Ramsey advises is not the answer. That's only treating a symptom. It takes a shift in mindset to be financially responsible. It takes a shift in focus from attaining the goal of 'things' to attaining a goal of personal accomplishment.

Jennifer said...

Anonymous - You are a rare find then. I don't know too many people who don't know anyone who's in debt. The increase in forclosure and bankruptcy rates alone is an indicator of how many people are overcommitted to creditors.

Dave Ramsey does indeed encourage people to cut up credit cards. However, if you read any of his books or take any of his courses, you'll find that he's all about learning to be satisfied with what we have. In fact, he has a book out called "More Than Enough" that talks about contentment rather than the pursuit of things.

Anonymous said...

When we took the Dave Ramsey course this year there were 20 families represented. Of those families there was $800,000 worth of consumer debt excluding mortgages. I know how much debt a couple of people in the class had ($0) so there must have been a lot of other people with hugh debts. It's really scary. Fortunately, we'll be debt-free, including our house, by Christmas even though I lost my job early this year and haven't worked since. We are extremely blessed and apparently very weird.

Jennifer said...

Anonymous (2) - Congratulations!! Isn't it amazing how you can not only live but prosper on one income?