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Getting Past Being Appalled
by, 09-22-2009 at 08:20 PM (4917 Views)
One of the things Iíve learned living a debt free life is never to dismiss anything out of hand. Whenever I see a money saving tip, investment strategy, or other money management idea I donít automatically pooh-pooh it as something I canít do. Iím always willing to try something new ó or at least investigate it further ó before deciding whether it will work for me or not.
Contrast this with many of the people I deal with who not only dismiss many money management ideas, they are actively appalled by them. Suggest to some people that they bring their own coffee to work, line dry their clothes, give up cable, make their own cleaning supplies, or stop eating out to save money and they will look at you like youíre from another planet. Then theyíll say something like, ďOh, I could never do that. Itís tooÖ [gross, icky, hard, inconvenient, degrading, humbling, messy, insert reason why it's impossible here].Ē They act completely appalled that you would even suggest such things to them. They dismiss anything that requires them to work, change their ways, or act differently from others.
But Iíve found that being debt free means that I can literally not afford to dismiss anything. Sure, some things donít work out for me. I tried making my own laundry detergent once and I donít know whether I had a bad recipe or what, but I could never get it to work. But I tried. And if presented with a new recipe, Iíd try it again.
There have been other money saving ideas that havenít worked for me, or at least not saved me any money compared to the effort they required. Some investment and savings strategies have run aground, too. Some things have worked in the short term, but then later Iíve decided that Iíd really rather go back to the old way of doing things. But Iíve tried many things or at least put them to further scrutiny.
Being willing to try almost anything in order to cut costs enables me to avoid debt. Iím willing to try to repair something before buying new. If it comes to that, Iím willing to check out the used market before buying completely new. Iím willing to drive a car for fifteen years or more and Iím not at all worried about what others might think. Iím willing to take the time to use coupons and shop sales to save 40-50% on my food bill. Iím willing to cook at home rather than eat out five times a week. Iím willing to line dry my clothes to cut my energy bill. Iím willing to do a fair amount of labor on my home and property myself rather than paying someone else to do it for me. I donít dismiss anything as beneath me and I donít get bent out of shape when something requires me to try a different pattern of behavior.
There are some things I wonít do, although Iíve tried them, simply because they donít yield the results I need or the effort required doesnít really end up saving me money. Making laundry detergent was one of those. Another one was my failed envelope making experience. I tried making my own envelopes, but discovered I could buy a box much cheaper than I could make my own (and the store bought ones were sturdier). But I tried and never said, ďMake my own envelopes? What a stupid idea.Ē
The willingness to try (and fail) and learn is one huge step on the path to debt free living. If you want to be debt free and stay that way, you have to cut costs (or make a fortune, but weíre assuming you donít have a fortune). In order to find new ways to save money, sometimes you have to entertain ideas that seem foreign or hard, inconvenient or icky. But sometimes those strange ideas yield big savings that allow you to sock away money and avoid debt. Sometimes it wonít work out and sometimes youíll need to tweak the idea to make it work for you. But getting appalled at savings suggestions and always saying, ďI canít,Ē or, ďI wonít,Ē is a sure fire way to stay mired in debt.