I’m well aware of what I do not own. It’s not hard to assess my have-nots as I drive down the road, shop at the grocery store, or sit at my desk at work.
I do not have:
- an SUV or minivan
- a flat screen or digital TV
- more than 1 TV
- a tablet or iPad
- a large-screen laptop or home PC
- Cable or satellite
- 4-channel recording on my DVR
- a DVR from this decade
- china or a china cabinet
- a smart phone with a data plan
- a Blu-ray player
- artwork by people I learned about in highschool
- a dishwasher
- a printer/scanner/fax/copier
- a digital camera
- a garage or car port
- clothes that need to be dry cleaned
- high level insurance for vehicle or property
- Income & Asset Report
I do have:
- a job that changes everyday even tho I do the same thing everyday
- a car that runs, with 4-doors, and an operational trunk; my last car was working hard to run, had 2 doors, and a broken trunk
- a home with deadbolts, a backyard, a garden, heat and air conditioning, windows (a few even open), and a driveway
- hundreds of pictures and frames
- a TV that works if it isn’t windy, cloudy, or rainy and a DVR that records 1 channel – and it has to be on the channel its recording
- a Wal Mart phone and phone card which requires as much unlimited patience as it provides unlimited data
- 4 sets of dishes, 1 of which I purchased at Target 15 years ago
- a couch set, a dining room table set, linens, lamps, pots & pans, and a stereo set all donated to me
- clothes that fit and a washer and dryer to keep them clean
If you’d measure me by my haves I’d have about a gallon. I know some with a quart. I have what I have because others had when I didn’t, so, if you ask me, I have a hogshead.
I owe for my car and I owe student loans. I have purchased very little for myself. I bought the bed & dresser set I have in my room. I waited six months after I started working and paid cash. I searched for my new car for months and took the time to find the right car at the right price. I waited a year after I started my job, traded in my old car, got a price close to invoice, and qualified for very low interest. I financed less that $10k. The student loans are student loans and they are high, but I studied abroad in Oxford, England twice.
In the last month I have bought 4 pair of shoes, 3 dresses, 2 skirts, 1 pair of pants, and 5 t-shirts. Someone asked me if I planned to move my stuff or if I planned to purchase new when I arrived in Atlanta. I didn’t think this was a question. I will move what I have from my old house to my new place.
I will also stop buying new clothes. Sheesh. The kids are barely gone and I’ve practically reinvented my wardrobe.
I’d like to buy a new TV, leave this one behind, and add another box to too many other boxes. I’d like to buy a new patio set, leave this one behind, and fit the space to something instead of something to the space. I’d like new pillows, a new comforter, and new curtains for my bedroom. I’d like a trundle-bed or bunkbeds for the kids room and a nice decorative screen to give them each their own space. I’d like a new kitchen knife set, more cutting boards, silverware that matches, mixing bowls, and storage containers.
I’d like to buy a living room set, leave this second-hand one behind, and have my living room look better than it should. But, if I did that, I could lose the best sleeping couch ever.
There are a lot of things that I do not have and another one is credit cards. I used to and then I made a recording error that I discovered months later and just days before I left for 3 weeks abroad, which wasn’t a big deal until the apartment complex cashed my post-dated rent check 2 weeks early. So, there I was, over the Atlantic, with my bank account dwindling to a few dollars and I was none the wiser, until I couldn’t buy dinner in Heathrow Airport. I ran to the ATM and decided not to panic at the surprisingly low balance, jetlagged, and still hungry. It was easy to solve with the MasterCard.
It was all easy to solve with a credit card. When I returned to work after my studies, I worked full-time and went to school part-time, the company made some changes and I was last in first out. I paid rent and utilities, went grocery shopping, and filled prescriptions on the Visa. I found a part-time job on campus, changed my attendance status to full-time, and moved in with a room-mate for cheap rent close to school.
Working part-time on campus and going to school full-time wasn’t the same as working full-time and going to school part-time. Rent, utilities, school supplies, and car payment, plus food and gas took everything and I still had a balance on the credit cards. I had managed to accumulate over $4,000 in credit card debt in just a few months.
I was facing that choice: pay the credit card payment and use the credit card for groceries, or buy groceries and skip the credit card payments. Minimum wage job at school, full time status to finish in a year, a car I needed to visit my family, who were 650 miles away while I attended school, rent and utilities, and food, and and and. And it closed in on me with the first collections call.
I ran frantic to the consumer credit counseling service and put myself on a $190 month payment plan and paid my cards off. Doing this required that the cards be cancelled at the end of payment. I thought about this. It wasn’t recommended. My faults were minimal and could be remedied individually. I decided to cut the card. I have been credit card free for 7 years.
“It’s not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.” Sheryl Crow