Bill Nye once said “When we start down hill we usually find everything greased for the occasion.” We might add—“except the bumps!”
LIVING BEYOND OUR MEANS
Living beyond our means is a big subject that must be treated broadly, for circumstances alter cases. There is a sane way to look at every problem, and the matter of living beyond our means is one of the major problems we have to face. If every man was alike and every avocation in life was on a parity, it would be possible to dispose of this subject in a paragraph. But men are not alike. What one could do successfully might easily baffle another. Therefore, it seems advisable to consider the subject by looking into its depths.
To most people debt is terrifying. To some it means nothing—and thus we have individual temperament as an angle from which to consider. Living beyond our ability to pay means going into debt via the shortest route. Getting out of debt means a revision of our code to the extent of ceasing to live beyond our means and saving something with which to pay off what we owe. Some men can do this successfully—others fail while seemingly trying their best to succeed—and still others do nothing to stem the tide. With these it is a matter of how the tide serves. If favoring winds should drive them to opulence they would more than likely pay up, particularly those imbued with sufficient personal honor to “make good.”
Such are the exigencies of life, we may as well concede that a vast majority at some time or other find it necessary to owe more than they can readily pay. Emergencies arise which force us into expenses that require credit, and if we have so ordered our lives that when the pinch comes we have no credit established the fact that we pay out our last dollar and go hungry to bed does not bring us much sympathy. Thus it would seem that to be able to say: “I pay as I go,” or, “I owe no man a dollar,” or, “I never live beyond my means” is not much of a boast, when, after a death in the family, or other unforeseen circumstances, we find ourselves broke and nowhere to turn for accommodation.
It has been aptly said that “People can save themselves to death.” In other words, one may develop the saving habit to such an extent that “Laugh and Live” can find no room beside us on the perch of our existence. We must admit that the systematic saver of pennies misses a lot as he goes along, and, with time, degenerates into a sort of “Kill Joy.” In the matter of regulating his family to his way of thinking he usually has an uphill job. Sons leave home as soon as they can; daughters marry and breathe a sigh of relief, leaving mother behind to slave on in order that the hoard may grow.