Monthly Archives: January 2009

TJ #5

5.  Pride costs more than hunger, thirst, and cold.

I have been really thinking and praying about this one.  Pride….. it is the ultimate downfall. Really it is….. the Bible even states it.  Proverbs 16:18-19 describes pride as the beginning of destruction and a haunting fall.  Pride will ultimately cost you everything.  Could it be that pride will hurt you worse than starving or freezing to death?  Could it be that Jefferson meant exactly what Proverbs 16: 18-19 describes?

So I asked a couple of high school students.  Today’s youth will surprise you.  I asked them “What did Jefferson mean when he said…..”  One quickly stated that pride will take everything away from you.  She went on to explain that it will consume you and haunt you.  Wow, how profound.  Kudos to her parents!!

Throughout time, we find ourselves daringly toying with pride.  It can give you a false sense of ego and it can even put you on a path of vast destruction.  Again, Proverbs 16 says it all.

In these hard times, hunger, thirst and cold will humble the best of us.  It is so hard to make ends meet and the threat of losing your job is even becoming a reality to many of us.  Just yesterday I overheard some ladies talking about losing their jobs.  One lady’s reply was “I just wanted to get drunk and not think about it.”  Another was concerned about getting the bills paid and wondering if there is going to be enough money to last the week.

My heart broke for them.  I wanted to scream as loud as possible that things are going to be alright.  My aunt recently was talking about her grandfather and the great depression.  She said that he commented that he never understood why some of the rich now dirt poor people were killing themselves.  He would chuckle and say, “the depression didn’t impact us.  There was no change in our status….. we were just dirt poor and happy to be alive.”

Losing your home, your lifestyle, your material possessions will take a hard toll on any sense of pride a man or woman or any family may have.  Perhaps we need to stop looking so inward and band together to support one another.  It isn’t going to kill anyone to accept help or a hand out.  Don’t allow pride and a false identity that is over during these economical trials to keep you from getting a full belly at the soup kitchen, or a warm night’s sleep in a shelter.   Don’t allow pride to destruct you further.  Praise God that those services are out there even if the conditions are worse than any run down motel.

If you are reading this and your financial situation is collapsing faster than you know what to do, I am praying for you.  I pray that you find another job or the assistance you need to get a leg up.  Even if it is to swallow your pride and move into your parent’s home.  You will get through it.  I pray you will.

Okay now if I have not depressed you enough, I want to talk to you out there that is feeling the crunch of the times but haven’t forclosed or lost everything.  Pride clouds your perception on material things.  There are those out there that take pride in knowing that their clothing came from the coveted designer’s line.  There are those who take pride in their lavish homesteads and automobiles.  Some of those are pridefully still making those purchases instead of changing their lifestyles to match their earnings or to match their losses.   Living outside of your means because you are too proud to wear second hand even if it is designer clothing, or taking the bus instead of driving the newest “beamer,” is pride before the destruction.  Taking a hard look at your means and living among it can cause such anxiety and pain to some Americans out there.  Don’t believe me?  There have been countless Oprah and Dr. Phil episodes talking about this.  When the destruction hits and the fall is inevitable,  is pride really going to save you?  your home? your car? Is pride going to keep you from being honest with your family and friends?  Is pride going to keep you from rethinking the spending? Is pride going to destroy you?

Take heed to TJ’s wise words, ” Pride costs more than hunger, thirst, and cold.”

A Blessing

Yesterday, I heard some terrible news.  My friend’s husband has been laid off.  Her job security is not stable, either.  My heart broke.  Then my uncle told me my aunt’s employer is laying off workers this week and she may be one of those unfortunate.  Scary times.

I heard that “THEY” are determining this “recession” to be as devastating if not more as the Great Depression.  It is my prayer that it isn’t.  After, hearing the news of the lay offs and the terms of this recession, I began to feel down and blue.  All those people without jobs, without the security, and living with despair.   Just the thought made me sad.

Then, a phone call came.  It was God’s way of saying, “It is well.”  See, my dearest friend called me to share some miraculous news.  She is with child….. no children.  God had answered her prayers (and mine) for the past several years.  She is being blessed with twins.  My heart leaped with joy and I wept.  God is so good.

No matter the circumstances surrounding you, know and rest assure that God loves you.  Look to His reassurance in the blessings He sends each and every day.  It is my prayer for all of those who feel hopeless and helpless in these economical times that God will bless you with His comfort and know that tomorrow will be a brighter day with Him.

Thomas Jefferson's 4th Rule

“Oh, look at that!  That is so cool!  Don’t know exactly what it does, but look it is a dime!”  So you walk out of the store with 10 of those things.  Did you really need it?  Was it going to make a difference in your life?  Did you just buy it because you could get 10 for a buck?  Chances are it was because it was so cheap.

Let’s take a look at TJ’s 4th rule:

4.  Never buy what you don’t want because it is cheap.

How many times I have gone shopping and found a bargain!  The object may have caught my eye but I knew deep down I didn’t want it…. UNTIL…. I saw the price.  If it was dirt cheap, I immediately needed it. I have fallen prey to the idea that something cheap makes it a better choice.  But, in the long run, that thing will only take up space in my home and eventually will make its way to the trash.

I think today’s way of thinking has cluttered our lives.  We need to get back to the idea of what we need vs. what we want.

Funny, I remember my dad saying that there is a big difference between a want and a need.  Yeah, I may want those new pair of shoes but do I need them?  That is what we need to distinguish. It is my opinion that we today have a strange way of deciding what is a need and a want.  We know the basics:  we need food, water, and shelter.  Those we got but we over extend our need rule.

This is what I mean, we make daily choices.  For example, this past weekend, we were out shopping as a family.  My son immediately wanted a drink.  In his mind, he wanted a soda.  Did he need it?  No, he needed a drink.  My husband told him that there was a water fountain the in store and he can get a drink there.  Oh my heavens, he thought we were the meanest parents in the world.  He thought if he was thirsty we would automatically purchase the coveted soda drink.  His body prefers the water over soda anyway. His need was met at the water fountain and it did not kill him.  We have distorted the idea of a need vs. want.  He wanted a soda.  He needed water.

Just the other day on the Today Show, a lady was seeking help at the grocery store.  She needed help stretching her dollar and needed to lose extra weight.  She was told to go shopping as usual.  She did.  She had soda (name brand), chips (name brand), cereal (name brand), and packaged meals (name brand).  The “expert” pointed her to the store brand of everything.  The whole time I was screaming at the television.  Her family doesn’t need soda.  Water is free.  Tea and Kool-aide (store brand of course), is cheap and goes further than a bottled soda.  Chips?  What are those?  We only have them for “special” occasions.  The kids don’t need them.  They need veggies and fruits.  Cereal?  How about oatmeal?  Or making pancakes?  Learn to use a crock pot and save money on “packaged meals.”  This was classic need vs. want.  She loaded herself down with wants not needs.  Even at knock down prices, did the family “need” soda and chips?

So, here’s my challenge:  Rediscover and distinguish or perhaps redefine is a better word, your idea of needs and wants.  In the long run, if you learn to purchase the needs (at markdown prices), you will save money and will spend wisely.  You may want something because of it’s price but ask yourself:  Am I a better person if I purchase this?  If your answer is no, put it down and walk away….. now you are the better person.

Thomas Jefferson's 3rd Rule

Oh dear, this next rule is going to hit home to many people today.  I’m going to get it out there so I can throw my 2 cents in……

3.  Never spend your money before you have earned it.

I know it may seem so UnAmerican to not use credit cards but HELLO this is a statement from one of our founding fathers!  TJ is probably rolling in his grave right now.

It is a bad habit that a lot of us have been struggling with for a few decades now.  We have become so impatient that we have come inflicted with “Gotta Have It Now” syndrome.  I can remember saving up for what I wanted.  I remember finding jobs around the neighborhood or babysitting neighborhood kids so that I could purchase the “designer” jeans I wanted so badly.  Many people today just plop down the ole credit card and get those jeans.  What has happened to the feeling of achievement when you have worked hard and saved to get something?

I recently had to call the bank about an overdraft issue.  In the debate, I was upset that when I made a deposit two days prior it did not show up to cover a debit made from the previous day.  Word to the wise, the bank will cause you to overdraft if it benefits them with their $35 overdraft fee.  Can you tell I lost the debate?  My point to this is that during the conversation, the bank manager was quick to argue that it wasn’t his fault that I had spent more money than I had.  My point was I had the money and it wasn’t acknowledged by the bank.  Anyway, it sounded like he had made that statement so many times that it easily flowed from his tongue.  I was being lumped into the “financially irresponsible” category and in his eyes: end of story.  Once he looked at my account and saw that I didn’t exactly deserve the label of irresponsible, the conversation quickly turned into my favor by acknowledging my point yet his hands were tied the corporate business of matters.

It is  a simple concept:  Don’t spend if you don’t have it.  Trust me, it can be very hard. I know when we were down to $3.24 and pay day was two more weeks away, putting food on the table became a concern. I could have easily used my credit card to purchase food but I was determined not to take the easy way out.  I was going to have to be creative from the pantry.  I was going to have to stretch the gas tank to get to where I needed (noticed I said needed not wanted!).  I was going to have to get the family on board.  We sat the kids down and explained what was happening and how we all can help.  Our son  gave up boy scouts to save one trip to town.   Our daughter postponed a $15 part for her trombone until after the holidays.  We agreed to eat the mystery food in the back of the freezer until we had the money.

We did it.  We were successful.  It taught us something though.  As a family we pulled together and we worked together to see that everything stretched.  We learned that we didn’t need to run to the store the minute we were low on supplies.  We learned to stretch.  If it meant passing on seconds at dinner so we could eat it again the next night, we discovered it didn’t kill us.

So all of you out there,  I put a challenge out for the new year…… wait before you spend.   Wait.  Learn to say no.  Learn that you can find freedom in waiting. Good luck!  I know you can do it.