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Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford

According to a story on cbc.ca, Canadians are increasingly racking up debt on credit cards. Which is kind of an obvious statement, given the way the world is today. But it really got me thinking. And then it just got me into a ranting kind of mood.

[ rant ]

I look at my friends who are financing cars, buying condos, buying toys and going on trips – and I often wonder if they can really afford it, or if they’re living beyond their means. I know that some of my friends have good paying jobs, and can afford to live the way that they do. But unfortunately, for the majority of my friends, they’re struggling.

I’ve been with my friends so many times where they’ll bitch and complain about how much debt they’re in and how hard it is to make ends meet. Then a second later, they’ll start bragging about their new hardwood floors, their new PS3, the new car they’re driving, or the hot new restaurant with the $60 entrees. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!

It really bugs me when my friends complain about their debt because they never talk about solutions … they just talk about all of their problems and how hard life is for them. They complain about their ridiculous rent, student loans, the interest rates on their credit cards, how expensive it is to buy things – then they buy it anyway!

Re: ridiculous rent. Rent is SUPER expensive over here on the West Coast. That’s just a given fact. It’s the price you have to pay because everyone wants to be here. If you don’t want to pay such a high amount, either move back in with your parents, find a roommate, or move to Saskatchewan. Otherwise suck it up. Seriously.

Re: student loans. Nobody put a gun to your head and forced you to go to post secondary school. It was a choice that you made on your own. Yes, school is expensive. It’s ridiculously expensive. Yes, in other countries, education is free. But not here, so stop bitching about it. In this country, education is not a right, it’s a privilege. And don’t give me that crap about how you didn’t realize how high your loan payments were going to be afterwards, or that it starts charging you interest even in your grace period. That’s because you didn’t read the paperwork!!! It says it right there.

Re: high credit card interest rates. Clearly if you keep a balance on your credit card, it’s because you’ve purchased something that you cannot afford to buy. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Then you won’t have to pay a cent of interest at all, and it won’t matter what your interest rate is. Just because someone else has bought it and can afford it, doesn’t mean that you can too.

Sometimes I feel like they think that it’s okay for them to be in debt, because everyone around them is also in debt. And if you’re all in it together, then nobody is getting ahead of each other, because everyone is just drowning. Which is a terrible way to think. But it’s like they’re enabling each other to keep on spending and to keep on buying things. And nobody in the group is going to say anything or change their ways, because they all like their fancy cars and their posh dinners and extravagant vacations.

When I was in debt, I was so frustrated. But not at anyone else but myself. It wasn’t the government trying to gouge me, it wasn’t the greedy credit card companies, and it wasn’t great advertising that forced me to buy something. It was entirely my fault for buying things that I couldn’t afford and living beyond my means.

And it’s not like I can say anything to them. I’ve tried in every way possible. But all I get is flack for being a “penny pincher” or the one in the group who chases the dollar signs. And that’s why I’m here! That’s why I have this blog.

So basically what I’m trying to say is that I just wish my friends would take responsibility for their debt, instead of complaining about it all the livelong day.

[ / RANT ]

Adding debt to the sidebar

There was a good question raised about my debt: should I list my LASIK eye surgery debt on my sidebar and in my NetworthIQ? My original thought was that since I wasn’t making payments and no interest was accruing, I wouldn’t list it up there. But now that I think about it, debt is debt, and in the end I’m in the hole $2,900 – regardless of the timing of payments or interest rate. What do you think?

Oh, and I also reduced my car value in my NetworthIQ down to $3,400.

What would you rather talk about?

It still surprises me how personal finance and money is still such a taboo topic. Perhaps it’s because, over the past few years, I’ve been reading and surrounding myself with people who don’t find it uncomfortable to talk about money (mostly people with PF blogs).

CBC just posted an article called Money talk taboo for Canadians compared to love, politics, religion. That just completely blows me away. Even before I started this blog, I would have much rather talked about how much debt I had, instead of my political views, or my love life.

But it’s healthy to talk about all of those things, and when we talk to each other about things that we’re uncomfortable with, not only do we gain knowledge and insight, but we gain a greater understanding about how our peers operate. It becomes easier to understand why we do the things that we do, and it becomes easier to figure out what choices are the best for us.

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