Short term or greater good?

Dear Dave,

I have a problem with impulse spending. I switched to a debit card so that the money comes straight out of my checking account, but I still buy things I know I shouldn’t. Should I stop using the card?

Lauren Dear Lauren,

First, let me say that debit cards are great. You can’t spend money you don’t have with them like you can with a credit card, but you’ve still got to budget carefully and give a name to every single penny of your income. Otherwise, you can still overspend.

When I made the decision to get intentional with my money, I just used cash. It’s hard to spend it when you don’t have any on you. It’s a tough thing, I know, but you have to make a conscious decision to start living differently. You have to get mad at the things that steal your money a dollar or two at a time, and you have to put your foot down. Enough is enough!

Try looking at your life as a whole, not a moment at time. All the moments you’re living right now will have either a positive or negative effect on your future. I decided I wanted the greater, long-term good, so I gave up on the short-term stuff. No discipline is pleasant when you’re doing it, but as the Bible says, it yields a harvest of righteousness.

Trust me, Lauren. The greater good is worth the sacrifice. But until you make that decision for yourself, you won’t do it.

—Dave

Daring to dream again

Dear Dave,

Our son is 21, and he’s embarking on a career as a professional soccer player. He’ll only be making about $30,000 a year, and we want to know how we can help him manage this money and not get caught up in the idea that he has to live a glamorous lifestyle.

Karen Dear Karen,

“Glamorous” isn’t the word I’d use to describe a $30,000-a-year job, even for a 21-year-old. I think the biggest thing here is to make sure he develops some emotional maturity and uses basic, common sense guidelines to help keep things in perspective. If he makes a habit right now of budgeting and living on less than he makes, he’s going to have a lot easier time later on if he starts raking in the big bucks.

Help him prepare his heart for two things. First, that a career as a professional athlete will probably be a short run. Enjoy it, be smart, then prepare to move on to the next part of your life, and develop a different career track.

The second thing is that even if he beats the odds and ends up making a ton of money, he’s got to view the money as a responsibility and a privilege. This is when the common sense and maturity really come into play. You can’t run out and buy a bunch of houses and cars and expect even big money to last for long!

—Dave

www.daveramsey.com


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2012-05-17 digital edition



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