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What The Preacher Says

August 5th, 2009 at 02:12 am

Much to my chagrin, my wife told me about the birthday present that the minister at our church gave to his wife: a Mustang convertible. That came right after I bought my wife a candle for her birthday.

The Mustang was actually a week-long rental, a sort of trial run after both agreed she could use--and they could afford--a new car. What a guy. I probably would have offered up an '89 Dodge Duster.

So, Barbara falls in love with the Mustang and a week-long garage guest becomes a permanent fixture, right? Nope. She decided on a Ford, alright, but not a Mustang ragtop. She bought a used Fusion. The story was told in church on Sunday as an example of living simply. She could have afforded the Mustang, but the Fusion made their financial life simpler.

That's a good end to the story for some of us, but not everyone is willing to put frugality above shiny new wheels. Just look at how fast the government burned through one billion dollars last month by sponsoring the Cash For Clunkers program. Do you really think anyone saved money by trading in their bucket of bolts for a new vehicle? Of course not. Forty-five hundred bucks won't come close to paying for the privilege of driving a new car or truck off the lot. But the C-For-C participants put new wheels in their driveway, and they're happy about it.

The hard part is having your stuff-- whatever you're lusting for--and keeping life simple. The answer is simple, too--save up before you buy. Americans have proven it's possible. The Labor Department reports that the country's savings rate has gone from negative 1 percent in 2007 to plus 7 percent in 2009. Advertisers try to convince us that we need to call now, go online now, come on down to the dealership now, because these great deals won't last much longer. Yes they will, and a struggling economy will survive without you providing an immediate stimulus package from your own wallet. A great deal today is even greater one year from now after you've socked away $200 or so each month. Not only have you spent 12 months figuring out whether you can make a monthly payment, you've put $2400 toward the purchase of your new car/ATV/helicopter/submarine/whatever.

Better yet is to follow the advice of Dave Ramsey--save up and pay cash for everything with the exception of your home. But if that thought makes you roll your eyes, go ahead and fall in love with that Mustang you've been eyeing. Just make sure your new relationship is on your terms: simple terms.

5 Responses to “What The Preacher Says”

  1. shiela Says:

    Hey, welcome.

  2. NJDebbie Says:

    Welcome! The preacher's story reminds me of me. I've been lusting for a Saturn Sky at a tune of $30,000. I finally convince my husband to test drive it and we were going the next day to pick it up. Thankfully, God knocked some sence into my husband and he convinced me that having two car payments is not a sound financial move. Bob, I must admit that I pouted like a three year old; I wanted that car so bad. I'm reading Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace for the second time just to keep me grounded. Thanks for a great post!

  3. Ima saver Says:

    Glad you have joined us!

  4. davera Says:

    Great story, and I love your comment "a struggling economy will survive without you providing an immediate stimulus package from your own wallet." So true and very witty!

  5. Jerry Says:

    I really agree with you on Ramsey's idea of paying cash (taking the time that leads to saving up the money actually helps me to decide if I really need something!) - and I think that doing the same for a mortgage is great, if it is feasible. I also prefer paying cash in advance for stuff like car insurance, if I can, because it ends up costing less money. Welcome to the blogosphere, and I look forward to reading your input!

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