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Monday, March 3, 2008

The Active Veil Of Consumerism

We have a family budget meeting at the end of every month. For February we discussed the good progress we made, when a question came up from our middle child, our 10-year old daughter.

"If we have $2000 in our Emergency Fund and $3000 saved on taxes, that $5000, right?" "Why can't we use some of that to go to the mall like we used to?"

After some chuckles I noticed that others were thinking along the same lines...and probably me too. See when we would get money in before we would allocate some of it for "fun." We would buy something on our list that we had all agreed we wanted. New TV, DVD player, etc.. But not this time.

What we were all feeling was the break from the past.

Before we would "celebrate" our wins more. We would look forward to bonus as it meant a second Christmas, albeit with more expensive gifts! Although this was an illusion...what I call the active veil of consumerism. Sure we had debt, check out the Pinball machine. No retirement, Trip to Vegas. But every grain of sand in the hourglass was working against us. Every spend, pay-off, spend cycle got larger! The Power of Compounding was our Enemy...

That is why with our Success Map firmly in hand we had planned out what we were going to do with this Tax Refund...and it was going to be boring. No Ice Cream, no Pony rides, just put it into E*Trade for our 2008 Property Tax bill.

And that is what we said to her...how doing that in the past, while fun at the time, gave us the debt we are paying off now. And how every dollar we save or use towards paying off that debt gets us closer to our Freedom Goal.

Her reaction: "Ok, that makes sense, but I still like the mall though!"


Matt said...

Setting aside a bonus can be really hard sometimes but in the long run not doing so simply allows the money to vanish. At least this is what happened to my bonuses every time I got them.

RacerX said...

@Matt - That had been my exact issue as well. Then you look at where it went and you can pick a few tangible things, but often it just melts away...Hope to be really good with the next one!

Thanks for visiting!

Fiscal Musings said...

It can be difficult to change mindsets, develop new habits, and break old habits. I'm glad you're being consistent though.

RacerX said...

Great Point Fiscal.

Every day, every check it becomes more ingrained, but at the same time easier to slip back into old habits!

Thanks for being a great supporter.

Sharon said...

What a wonderful lesson you are teaching your daughter. She will remember this conversation, and that's a good thing.

RacerX said...

Thanks Sharon!

She is my natural saver. She always has money left from her earned allowance.

Thanks for commenting!

Mrs. Micah said...

Sounds like an excellent response. If her only association with the mall was fun, then it's harder to understand why not to go. But if it's fun and also debt, then it's easier.

RacerX said...

Thanks Mrs M Great kid and started a great conversation.

I truly believe that these monthly budget meetings will be drivers to get them on the right track with their future finances.

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