- Personal Finance
Good Things Come to Those Who Have Debt
I am so tired of being penalized for being financially responsible. My husband and I have made a commitment to pay off our house as fast as we possibly can. We put every extra penny towards the principle on our loan each month. We’ve cut cable TV, cell phones, entertainment expenses, dining out expenses, and we even sold one of our vehicles to slash insurance, gas, and maintenance expenses.
I guess you could call me crazy when I contacted our mortgage company today to see if they would lower our interest rate. I thought they might be willing to reward a customer who has never missed a payment, always pays on time, has excellent credit, and even pays extra towards the principle of the loan. What on earth was I thinking-a mortgage company reward a loyal customer? Yeah right!
So the loan servicing officer I spoke with, we’ll just call her Rosie, asked me right off if I had a financial hardship. I explained to Rosie that we were not interested in getting out of the loan. We are committed to paying back our debt in full. I told Rosie that things would be much easier if our payments were lower, and thus, I was inquiring about possibly getting a lower interest rate.
She then spent the next twenty minutes asking questions about our finances. I answered all of them openly and honestly but I couldn’t help but notice that my frugal ways were leading me down yet another punishing path.
Rosie: “How much do you spend each month on cable TV?”
Me: “We cut that so we could pay for the house.”
Rosie: “How much do you spend on the weekends for entertainment?”
Me: “We don’t.”
Rosie: “How much do you spend on car insurance?”
Me: “Only $69/month, but that’s because we became a one car family to better our financial situation.”
Rosie: “How much do you spend each month on cell phone service?”
Me: “We cut that too so we could be responsible and pay our mortgage every month.”
Personal Finance Books based on Biblical Principles
I could go on and on. I knew in the first few minutes that we would never be considered for financial hardship. I am one of the most frugal people I know. I just don’t spend unless it is a necessity, and when I do spend on necessities, I find the best bargain around. For instance, I only spend $160 per month on groceries for a family of four. Call me out if you want, but I think that’s well below average.
At the end of the financial hardship analysis, Rosie told me that we should have approximately $900 per month surplus. I said “We do, and we put it into retirement accounts and college savings accounts for our kids.” Apparently investing for the future doesn’t count for anything.
So, I told Rosie that I would sign up for cable TV, sign an expensive cell phone contract, buy a second vehicle, blow a bunch of money on entertainment this weekend, and quit my job, then call her back and see how things look from there.
I’ll be honest. I was upset when I got off the phone with Rosie. So often I feel like there is no reward for my efforts to be frugal and save money for the good of my family. I ask myself why I even bother. It would be so much easier to just spend, spend, spend.
After pouting for a few minutes, I remembered that the money I’m getting angry about isn’t even mine. Everything I have belongs to God, and He has entrusted me with it and expects me to be a wise steward of His blessings. He is the Lord of everything, and He is in control of everything. He determines how much money I have. God used my conversation with Rosie to remind me that doing what is right in His eyes is what is important. That’s why I budget and save like I do. God wants me to use His money wisely, and if I do that, He will entrust me with more.
Although I often feel unrewarded, I know that I will someday receive the ultimate reward in Heaven when I’m standing in front of Jesus and He says “Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.” Until then, I’ll continue to clip coupons, shop the clearance racks, and share the car with my husband. And I’ll try really hard to do it all with a smile on my face!