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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Go Cash

Nearly 20 years ago I had a financial (and emotional) train wreck. Practically overnight I went from being a married career educator with a house and a few cars to being a single handyman living with my parents.

I'm married and teaching (and living in my own space) again, but one of the good things to come out of all that was simply that, to this day, I have no credit cards.

Whenever possible, I pay for things in cash, or by a wire transfer. But sometimes (like when paying for my website, or ordering books from Amazon) the system won't let me do it any other way, and then I usually ask a friend or relative to make the purchase for me with their card, and pay them immediately.

I know, living in a cash economy is "un-American." But for the better part of two decades, I've been living within my means.

And there's great freedom in that.

For some reason, I'm reminded of a line from the Steve McQueen/Dustin Hoffman film Papillon. Hoffman's character--a bit loony--has broken his wire-rimmed glasses, and to fix them, he has bent the rims around a remaining piece of lens. "Instead of trying to make the orifice fit the lens," he explains, "I made the lens fit the orifice."

When you "go cash," instead of making your income fit your needs, you make your needs fit your income.

Try it. You'll be saner. You'll find that you don't miss what you can buy on installments.

You'll be happier.

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