I was listening to the radio today and they were talking about divorce -- what causes it, the statistics for it, how having faith effects it, how money issues are the main cause for it, etc. And a few things occur to me as I am listening. We live in a disposable society that wants immediate gratification. We get married and think that we should have everything that our parents have even though it took them 30 years to acquire it. Money problems are the number one cause of divorce. And these are usually problems that we bring on ourselves. The average American household with at least one credit card has nearly $10,700 in credit-card debt, according to CardWeb.com, and that number increases for those that have more than one card (and most do have more than one).
Debt is something I COMPLETELY understand because I have been in deeper than most. But I am lucky enough to have a loving husband who worked WITH me to clean up our mess so that we could start acting like adults about our money. I would love to be able to say that our debt was purely a result of our circumstance and that it was beyond our control, but that would be a lie. Granted, most of it was due to the move and the inability to sell the house for more than 2 years after the move, etc. and some was due to unforeseen medical issues, but lets get real here: we could have let the house go 18 months before we did and we could have cut up the credit cards and cut our expenses before we did. We could complain about the unexpected expenses caused by having 4 kids, but...well...we have 4 kids, so those expenses should not be all that unexpected. If there is one thing I have learned in the time that we have gotten all of our finances under control and started doing a written budget every month is that there is no such thing as a "Normal Month." I mean, sure, your house payment, your utilities, your phone, etc. will not change much month to month, but there will ALWAYS be some sort of "emergency" that is not in your normal expenses. That is why we have an "Oh Crap" line item in our budget. This month it may be 6 visits to the doctor (which exceeds our "normal" medical budget). Last month it might have been soccer or dance pictures or recital fees (or all of the above). Next month it might be a special contribution at church. My point is, it is always something and the key is to be as prepared for that stuff as possible. The idea that "Life takes Visa" is bassackwards -- Visa WILL take your life.