Live Within Your Means

I happened to Google the phrase “living within your means” and “Gov. Sarah Palin” together.  I was trying to find some articles about Palin’s comment during the Vice Presidential debate.  I did not expect to find a lot of comments from people who say Palin thinks people in debt are dumb. Good lord!

Palin was commenting on who to blame for the subprime mortgage meltdown:

“Darn right, it was the predatory lenders. They tried to talk the buyers into thinking it was OK to buy a $300,000 house when they could only afford a $100,000 house.” She also said Americans must learn to live within their means, and that while recovery may be painful, we can “learn a heckuva lot of good lessons from this.”

Palin is right.  I can look outside my home office window right now and see two houses that have been foreclosed by the bank.  You can find a lot more just walking the neighborhood.  Yes, some of these foreclosures could have been because jobs were lost, but I suspect a lot are from the simple act of wanting.  I think it is great Palin made a point to say to America that we need to watch our spending.  I sure haven’t heard Obama say it.  When my wife and I first applied for our mortgage, the bank told us we were eligible for a much larger loan than we were requesting and said we could buy a much larger house.  When we said no, the look we got was comical.  We just did not want to take a chance in getting over our heads if our financial situation turned sour.

I am a 41-year-old stay-at-home dad who lives in Greensboro, NC.  I take care of the house and my two boys (Liam age 9 and Garrett age 7) while my wife works.  We both work hard to make sure we don’t live beyond our means and make a point of saving money.  We have lived in our current home for almost 6 years and plan to stay here a long time.

A lot of people do not think credit is a bad thing until they can not pay the monthly payment anymore. They “live outside their means” by buying things they just can’t afford. The “I got to have attitude” extends to digital cable, HDTV, the newest car, and getting the latest iPhone with all the bells and whistles. Consumers say to themselves, “I’ll just charge it and pay it off later.” When later comes, it is usually when the rent or mortgage is due and they still haven’t bought groceries for the family or filled up the gas tank with $4.00 a gallon gas.

People have to learn to spend no more than they make and not expect handouts when they screw up.  Invest in a Roth IRA, clip coupons, buy used cars, rent $1 a day movies from a Redbox machine, eat at home more, cut your expensive cable service down to just basic cable, and cut up the credit cards! These are just some of things you can do to live within your means.  Take control of your own life.

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