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Hooked on Credit?

Updated on October 28, 2013

How did we get hooked on credit? Many people have been convinced that credit is OK, and in fact a way out of their current situation. why is there over $2.4 trillion in consumer debt? Lets take a closer look as to how we got to thinking overspending is not a problem, and in fact encouraged.

  • We lost touch with earning something. We see our friends and others around us and we want what they have. Before, it was a house, a car and a family. Now add flat screen TV’s, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets to the “Need”. The problem is that we began to think we have a right to these items, and do not need to earn them. No one wants to say they can’t afford something, it hits our self esteem pretty hard. Money is very emotional, and we want to feel good right? So just buy it is our decision.

The Fix: Take responsibility! Begin to think long term by thinking how our current economic system is set up to offer financial security if handled carefully. Look towards security instead of satisfaction. Change your approach from a buy it now, to a save and buy, you will feel more accomplished at reaching and achieving a goal, and will appreciate your purchase that much more.

  • We give money an image it does not deserve. Money is a tool. Money is stored labor. Money is a means of exchanging. But we do not think of it in those ways. Money means power, status, fulfillment and much more to many people, and that right there is the problem.

The Fix: Discover what is really important to you, look at what you spend your money on. By examining your bank account, you will quickly see where your priorities lie. Now translate what you spend your money on to what it means to you. If your priorities that you say are important to you such as family, friends, career or religion do not mach up with what you spend your money on, and further do not match up with what those purchases mean to you, you have some soul searching to do, and some realigning. Example: I love tennis, I say I am a tennis player, and enjoy the sport. Someone asks how often I play, and I tell them I have not played in years. Am I really a tennis player, or did I used to play, a former player if you will, but I still want to be one. My priority does not correlate with my actions and my perceived importance tennis has in my life.

  • We cannot resist the newest, fastest or Brightest. We are a culture that needs the newest and best, no matter the cost or what we give up to get it. I am reminded of the cell phone commercial where the people who just purchased a new phone are being told its obsolete and out dated. As soon as they purchased it, a new version is out a month later.

The Fix: Humility, Contentment. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and enjoy what what you have worked so hard to have. Businesses understand and have spent millions in research to know when to bring out the newest product to keep you coming back. Buy quality over quantity and your purchase will last longer and perform better over time. Try and fix something instead of buying a new one. My personal favorite, if it is a larger purchase, save up for it, because when it took months to save for it and maybe even sacrifice, you will enjoy, respect and have your purchase longer.

  • Lastly, we have let others dictate our financial lives and futures. When you owe money, and are bound by debt, you are not free. My goal is to have the day where I can honestly say I do not owe anyone any money. Not for a house, a car, an education, or any other debt, period! How much more free can you get then not being in debt to anyone?

The Fix: Pay down your debt, actively and diligently. Do not fall victim to “low monthly payments”. Stop your thinking of I can afford that monthly payment, and change it to, can I afford to pay for the entire item? Our society is dominated by a get it now, pay for it later, instant gratification mindset. Long gone is the traditional "save and buy what you can afford and spend less than you make" thinking. And why? Because it doesn’t feel good.

Bottom Line- You are not giving up something good for something not good when you save, you are giving up something good for something BETTER! Can you wait?

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    • profile image

      lia S - St.Paul, MN 3 years ago

      This is a very encouraging and empowering article. I appreciate your time and for sharing. A wake up call it is indeed.

    • beherdtennis profile image

      beherdtennis 6 years ago from Eagan, MN

      Thanks for the Comment and Suggestions. I am very green to this and will take all the pointers I can get. I think my passion for this area is ahead of my ability to convey it to others in writing at this point. Something I am hoping will change!

    • BrightMeadow profile image

      BrightMeadow 6 years ago from a room of one's own

      "Money is a tool. Money is stored labor." Well said. I would agree that trying to keep up with the Joneses and wanting the newest and best ranks high on the list of what keeps us in debt, but I would also say that the bombardment of advertising and seeing that everyone around us is also using credit cards, etc to "improve" their lifestyle also make it look like an acceptable option. Good hub, but may I humbly suggest checking the grammar and punctuation to make it even better :)