Today’s post comes to you courtesy of one Ramit Sethi and one Kelly McClure. Thanks, peeps.
We’ll start with hoarders. Well, let me be more clear. I just used the word “hoarders” in the title for dramatic effect. Through a random web browsing session, I found the Thought Catalog. While on the Thought Catalog, I found Kelly McClure’s most recent post. She talks about how she likes to buy stuff.
That got me thinking. I just started reading Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Revisited. Dave grew up in a different time than I, but his thoughts resonate with me. Less than a century ago, having debt was like wearing a scarlet letter. Today, however, having debt is the cool thing to do. It’s groovy to drive a $40,000 car when you’re only making $40,000 per year. It’s cool to have a slammin’ home theater system that you’ll have paid off in three years (hopefully! if not, you’ll be paying interest for those whole three years!).
Check out this graph of consumer debt vs. household savings from just 1982-2008. Crazy, right? Rather than saving for things, we’re continuously looking for more things to buy – but we don’t want to buy them, we want someone else to buy them for us. We’ll pay them back later though, promise.
I’m guilty of it too. I have a car loan. I also have a small amount of credit card debt. The difference for me (and why I’m allowed to get on my soap box) is that my credit card debt will be paid off in less than two months, and my car loan is a 36-month loan that I plan to pay off in less than 24 months.
So what’s the point of all this? It all boils down to what you want in life. I’ve talked with some people who genuinely sound like they want to work in an office, making payments on a car, a house, a student loan, and a credit card for the rest of their lives. If that’s what they want, more power to them. I think you can squeeze more enjoyment out of life when you’re not chained to payments.
The process of earning more and spending less doesn’t have to be painful. You can make it into a fun game. Ramit Sethi just posted an article about How To Negotiate Better Than 99% of People. This subject is very near and dear to my heart, because as you probably know (if you read my blog often), I’m a zealous slick dealer. I can’t remember the last time I paid retail for anything.
Ramit talks about how negotiating can save you tons of money from your normal expenses, and it might even make you more money at work. The goal is to make yourself as efficient as possible. Pay rock bottom for every service you subscribe to, and make as high an income as you possibly can. Too many people sell themselves short, and you shouldn’t fall into that trap.
If you do nothing else, give it a thinking through. Is buying that new iPhone really worth not being able to take that vacation in two months? Are those new clothes worth not being able to take your sweetheart out on a romantic date this weekend? The more you charge, the further you are from your own personal freedom.
Make it a game. It is for me. The “Get-Out-Of-Debt-and-Make-Massive-Bucks” game. Make it fun. Stop living in bondage. Get some F You money. Negotiate the shit out of anything that costs your hard-earned dollars. If your dollars aren’t hard-earned, work harder, and negotiate a raise.
And just because it’s been so long since I’ve said it, get off your ass and travel!