I’ll never forget this day in 6th grade. I was the new kid at an El Cajon, California middle school. It was a December day, not too long before Christmas break. I was
paying careful attention to the teacher staring at Mr. Hotty, Aaron P. He had nice perfect penmanship. I was smitten.
And then I got my first note of the year.
I wasn’t “cool,” but oh did I want to be a part of that crew. So I checked that I had GUESS jeans and socks. I might have had them, I don’t really remember. What I was willing to give up to be a part of that crowd: my dignity, my integrity, and probably my favorite scooter.
Is it really worth it?
What is it that makes us so willing to reach beyond our capabilities for material items that really don’t matter? What makes us think this has little effect on our families?I know of 3 families that are in the process of divorce right now. All of them are due to selfishness. Three of these marriages are in considerable debt, to the point where it is tearing their whole family apart. All of these families have had to take drastic measures to try to reduce their debt.
It scares the beejeezus out of me. Dan & I have some debt, mainly from credit card use when we were young and stupid, and then our student loans. Student loans will be paid off in time, and it was for a good cause. We’ve both been highly educated and are in positions to make the money we invested in our education. And we *love* what we studied and what we do.
The credit cards are a whole other story. Ask me what’s on my Citi card, and I can barely tell you. I know some of the major purchases, but there’s a lot that I cannot account for in my mind. The charges are valid, it’s not like my cards were stolen or anything. But why was it that I *needed* those new pants? Why did I *need* a 6th suit? Really. . .I’ve been guilty of the “So-and-so has it, so I need to get _____.” It makes me sick.
When you think of it, the same voice that spurs on excessive spending, is the same voice that pushes one to eat, drink or be merry to excess.
Mosiah had some words about this:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:19)
Sometimes working your way out of issues means humbling yourself. Sometimes it means you have to clean out those closets, and get rid of the ungodliness that exists there.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin spoke about this in 2004’s General Conference. He said:
In spite of the teachings of the Church from its earliest days until today, members sometimes fall victim to many unwise and foolish financial practices. Some continue to spend, thinking that somehow the money will become available. Somehow they will survive. Far too often, the money hoped for does not appear.Remember this: debt is a form of bondage. It is a financial termite. When we make purchases on credit, they give us only an illusion of prosperity. We think we own things, but the reality is, our things own us. Some debt—such as for a modest home, expenses for education, perhaps for a needed first car—may be necessary. But never should we enter into financial bondage through consumer debt without carefully weighing the costs.
May I suggest five key steps to financial freedom for your consideration.
First, pay your tithing. . .
Second, spend less than you earn. . .
Third, learn to save. . .
Fourth, honor your financial obligations. . .
Fifth, teach your children to follow your example. . .
I’m a new mom, and I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t know it all.
How did you learn financial restraint? How are you teaching your children financial restraint? Please comment as I’d love to hear others’ opinions on this.