By: Scott Morefield
In a day and age where, given the miracles of modern technology, everything from household chores to the jobs we perform for our living should be easier, everyday life has, in reality, gotten more and more hectic. Among the many virtues that have been lost, perhaps one that stands out most strikingly is patience. It seems the more we are able to have everything at our fingertips, the more we want.
Planes, trains, and automobiles put us within reasonable timeframes of even the most distant places. Commerce puts our everyday needs on every street corner, just a few steps away. If something is a bit harder to find, Amazon will ship it right to our door. The internet puts any kind of information just a few keystrokes away.
Television puts lifestyles we can’t afford in front of our eyes every time we watch from our homes that are often not as nice, wearing clothes that aren’t as designer, driving cars that aren’t as new or fancy, living in places that aren’t as exotic… as the people we see on TV (OK, unless you’re watching Swamp People or My Big Redneck Wedding). And because we seemingly have everything else, we are constantly left wanting more.
And yet there is a problem. After all, we aren’t the government. We don’t have the power to print money at will and run up as much debt as we want to satisfy our insatiable desires.
So how in the world are we supposed to buy that brand-new grill we’ve been eyeing when we don’t have any cash? How are we supposed to eat out every other night, get that pedicure, or buy one of those cool coffeemaker thingys our friends keep telling us about?
The free market being what it is, you can be sure someone will swoop in and ‘save the day.’ That ‘someone,’ for years, has been the credit card companies! Credit cards make a lifestyle we can’t afford available to us immediately, just like everything else has been. Don’t have the cash to pay for that new refrigerator you want to buy that does that fancy thing with the ice? No problem – just swipe a card!
You can always pay the minimum monthly payment until you pay it off – no biggie, right?
Wrong! If you charged $1,000 and only paid the minimum payment, at 20% interest it would take you over 26 YEARS to pay it off. Now, imagine the cash advance places that charge interest rates that make the credit card companies look like a bank savings account!
Nobody starts off expecting to pay significant portions of their income toward credit card interest, and yet that is exactly the situation millions find themselves in. A new toaster here, a foot massager there and pretty soon you’re looking at real money.
No wonder so many people are in debt up to their eyeballs!
Proverbs 22:7, “…the borrower is servant to the lender.”
To top it all off, a recent court ruling could potentially allow retailers to charge consumers a surcharge on top of the original price, just for using a credit card!
In this uncertain economy, budgeting and living within your means is more important than ever. Despite the mantra of this age, we really don’t have to have EVERYTHING yesterday. In fact, waiting for the things we want just might teach us some of that elusive trait our generation has seemingly lost – patience.