What’s your plan? (12/05/2018)

Weren’t we just talking about New Year’s and resolutions? 

It’s now December and I’m at a loss as to where the time has gone. I was looking for Halloween candy and the Christmas decorations were staring me in the face! I got through the ghosts and goblins and into the month of thanks. 

The Arens’ Black Friday tradition is evolving into one of getting up the Christmas decorations; at least we got the Thanksgiving turkey eaten before Clause was stressing us out. We are beginning to wade into the month of spend, spend, and spend; soon to be up to our necks in debt.

Past generations did things a little different. They spent on needs and budgeted for wants. They also saved for a rainy day. I have grown up with Great Depression stories from family and friends and have lived through the ups and downs of the economy. Low points of the cycle in my lifetime include the recession of the 1970’s, the dot com bust, and the housing bubble of 2008. Wisdom might be interpreted as the ability to benefit from someone else’s knowledge. It would be wise for us to have a better understanding of wants versus needs as well as to save for that rainy day.

Dave Ramsey on his radio talk show ‘Ask Dave,’ says that necessities are food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and utilities. Anything else than are wants such as dining out, entertainment, luxury automobiles, and all the things that keeping up with the Jones entails. I lament that we end up buying plenty of ‘Toys’ that we have purchased as delusional needs. They fill our garages and storage spaces to capacity. The goal should be modest living within our cashflow. Today, the updated term for those rainy days is an emergency fund. This is the money that you set aside to pay for the unexpected purchases that are above and beyond what you would normally deplete the paycheck on. It is suggested that you have easy access to a sum equal to three months of your paychecks.

We need to free ourselves from debt. We are a nation that exists off credit card debt. We don’t have a healthy mentality of wants versus needs and so we spend money that is not ours. It is an individual plague as well as societal. We don’t survive the interest payments. Start living a healthy lifestyle by spending within your means or there will be an end to your means sooner than you would like. Don’t spend more than your paycheck.

Not a good start to the month. Mostly I have ranted and come up short on the plan. Because I am out of space, I’ll most likely work this week to see if I can salvage my thoughts. It is my hope that you have a good week and that the month of December won’t make you go broke! Comments can be left at Scott@arenscp.com. ■