I spent some time last night reading more of my little book, The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child in 1828. I wanted to share some with you.
Mrs. Child writes,
People of moderate fortunes have likewise an unquestioned right to dispose of their hundreds as they please; but I would ask, Is it wise to risk your happiness in a foolish attempt to keep up with the opulent? Of what use is the effort which takes so much of your time, and all of your income? Nay, if any unexpected change in affairs should deprive you of a few yearly hundreds, you will find you expenses have exceeded your income; thus the foundation of an accumulating debt will be laid, and your family will have formed habits but poorly calculated to save you from teh tthreatened ruin. Not one valuable friend will be gained by living beyond your means, and old age will be left to comparative, if not to utter poverty.
I find it interesting that this was written in 1828, yet can easily apply to today's world. Isn't this true of many today? We live in a society that seems to want more and more and more. See a car you like, buy it on credit. Want to go to the movies, use your credit card. Like that dress you can't afford, charge it. People are living way beyond their means in an effort to have instant gratification.
Dan & I recently paid off all our debt, and even though we have always lived simply, some of that debt was credit cards because of having to own something instantly. We have been praying that the Lord would continue to remind us to make wise choices and wait until we can pay cash before we buy something.
We have had the same car for almost 5 1/2 years. It has 140,000 miles on it but it is still running. Everytime something goes wrong, someone will tell us we need to buy a new car. Yet, it costs us less in maintenance than it would to be making car payments each month. Will we get a new car eventually? Of course. But we are saving up money so we can purchase a used one. Do we need the latest model? Absolutely not. As long as it has 4 wheels and an engine, it does it's purpose. It gets us where we are going. Why does it have to be the fanciest looking.
My challenge to us all today, myself included, is to ask yourself before you purchase something, "Do I really need this?" "Can I afford this?" "Can I wait?" Start praying and asking the Lord to help you to live within your means.
It will certainly make for better sleep at night!