At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I got into credit card trouble. Between my family, learning to live within our means, and a lot of tears and heartache, we learned a hard lesson. Credit cards are not magical little cards that can give you what your heart desires without consequence. There is something to be learned from living within your means. It took us many years to learn that lesson. I think it is safe to say now that we have. However, after going through something like that, you have to “rebuild” your credit. It almost feels like a scam. In order to be considered for things like a car loan, mortgage, even renting an apartment, and the best way to do that is to have a credit card again. *Gack!* I was so proud that we could get rid of them. I started to research. What about a green dot? This way it is prepaid, you only spend money you have, and you can’t let the debt get out of control if it is based on the money you put in. I found that they were full of hidden fees, wouldn’t actually help my credit score, and really won’t do the good I wanted. Then I found something called a secured credit card through my bank. The credit limit is the amount of money put in, but then the card works like a regular credit card. We just got approved and I am proud. This is a great way to rebuild the credit and keep us living within our means, as we are supposed to be doing. So, it took us young kids about half a decade to get back on our feet and learn this lesson, but we are well on our way to making sure that we don’t make the same mistakes again and we have learned how to live within our means, save for the things that we need, and we are rather proud of what we have accomplished. We may not live in a mansion, but what we have has been earned with blood, sweat, and tears. So, if we can figure it out in a relative small amount of time, why can’t our government?
If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. It’s not about the credit you might have, it’s about the money you do have. If your credit card bill goes over the amount that you have in your checking to cover it, there is an issue with spending. This is true if you are a little family unit or a large government. So, if your debt is outweighing what you are bringing in there are two options. You can get a job that brings in more money or you can learn how to live within your means. In terms of the government, they will turn to two things, cutting spending or taxing us more. Here’s the catch, the tap of the tax will only last so long. At some point the people will pay so much in taxes that everyone will need government aid. At that point spending will go up because more people on aid means more money spent. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a cycle our government has been on for a long time. It hasn’t worked. In fact, our debt is going up, not down. Our taxes are going up, not down. And the problem? Still a big issue, look at the election speeches this year. So what does work? It doesn’t take rocket science, I don’t think. I takes the same thing that it took for my husband and I. Cut spending first. What do you really need? I think the government would find that if it backed off of certain programs there would be others to take its place. It’s not that there aren’t privatized programs out there, it’s that the government likes the monopoly it gets out of being the only game in town. It makes the politicians look good. Obviously there are certain things that just can’t be replaced. When my husband and I looked at what we could chop, the electric bill wasn’t on the list. Neither was food. There are essentials. That’s a topic for another post. However, this election season, when the economy is not just “important” but on life support needing a decision on collapse because what we have now is unsupportable, and becoming responsible because that is what this economy needs to not just give our children the USA we started with, but to continue to allow us to live in the USA we were born into, think long and hard about the candidate you vote for. Romney and Ryan have my vote. Fiscal responsibility is Ryan’s legacy in my current home state. I am proud to call him my Representative. He calls for the tough choices I have already had to face on a smaller scale. This is the way of the world. It’s not easy, there’s no magic cure all that will give us everything we want. It’s not about that anyway. It’s about being responsible.