Debt Free Zone – part 3

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debt freeIt’s Matt – Recently we have received a number of emails about readers dire financial circumstances. It is so hard to read these emails – day in and day out.  With the Extreme Couponing shows that are out, more and more people want to start couponing to save their family from falling apart due to the economy. Or wife’s wanting to coupon to help their husbands from having to work 18 plus hour days. It is always wonderful to see families pulling together to try and make it through something rather then dissolve. But sometimes when in dire straights our basic human instincts fight with what our current lifestyle tries to stay to maintain. One natural instinct that has given humans such an advantage in the animal kingdom is our ability to “adapt”. When it gets cold we adapt, when our surroundings are in upheaval then we adapt, but when the economy changes it becomes very hard to adapt.

In the last decade many people became so used to the growing markets and growing salaries and jobs were so easy to get. But now over the last few years things have become hard in every aspect of life. People are losing jobs left and right and salaries have plummeted. And with the Extreme Couponing shows more and more people are wanting to save more. When folks watch the show they see shelves and shelves of food, cleaners, and products and they think they can get that over night. But it takes time. We live in a “buy it now- pay for it later” world. We see something and we want it with out thinking that just maybe you will have to adapt. When salaries drop by half or a two income home loses one income then your family and life WILL have to adapt.

So often we get these emails that beg for help. They tell me that husbands just lost their job and they need to coupon. Then they give me the list of what they can and cant do. For example one might say I like such and such deodorant, or cleaning product. Or a family member says that they do not want to give up a certain eating habit like high meat. Yeah and I want to be able to spend money on what ever I want too and not have to worry about where the money is coming from. If you remember in Part 1 of Debt Free Zone , I talked about having to eat potatoes and noodles. Did I crave steak – you bet I did, but I also craved living a better lifestyle where I had money to do the things I wanted, when I wanted to. To do that I needed to temporarily live a certain way. Did it kill me, no not really. It was a short sacrifice to be able to gain financial control. Once you have a food storage or “stockpile” and once you have debt under control you will be able to live closer to a king and queen then before you started.

So when you lose a job or your income drops in half – Yes we will need to allow our self to adapt. It may not be forever and it may not be as long as you think. But the over all out come will be so rewarding. You may need to give up meat in every meal of the day. You may need to switch to a less expensive product. You may need to give up the cable or satellite TV, or that cell phone. You might think you can never live with out it. Guess what, we lived just fine with just land lines. Remember the day cell phones came out. Now we live in a world that can not disconnect and unplug. So lets sit back and contemplate on things that can change and if you find something that you think just cant change, then think about it more. Is that really worth being stuck in a financial pit?  Do you think that by just trying something different just for a bit that you could actually survive and live with and adapt to the dramatic economy that we are in. If things are so dire and you are emailing for help, please take into account that just maybe you could adapt – at least for a while.

In the next part to Debt Free Zone – We will talk about how to adapt and what it can do for you. Also budgeting and saving advice on Mint.com – a free online program that will make your future a more stable and be better prepared.

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