For many of us, the problem with our finances boils down to a lack of extra cash. By the time the bills are paid, there is no money to save, pay down debt, or have fun. In my opinion, this is the point where many people begin the painful cycle of using debt to substitute a lack of cash flow. Society has taught all ages to use debt as a “tool” in order to maintain the life we live or upgrade the life we live. It is this simple concept that I believe is the reason why Americans are in debut up to their eyeballs.
Take me for example. I went to a private Christian college my freshman and sophomore years, because I thought that I would get a better education. After racking up $15,000 in debt in two years, I realized that I was living in a fantasy world. If you or your parents do not have the money to pay for an expensive private college, then you do not need to be there! It is a luxury, and it was a luxury that I am still paying for.
There are two alternative solutions to increasing your cash flow. These two solutions are often overlooked, because they are much harder and painful than taking out a loan or swiping the credit card.
- Get a second job. If your first job does not support your lifestyle, then GET ANOTHER JOB. If you want to get out of debt before the turn of the century, get another job. It is as simple as that. I struggle with this solution, because I have not gotten to the point where I can give up my social life.
- Tighten your budget. The only other way to increase your cash flow is to free up money in your current budget. Suggestions for this are eating out less, cutting out cable, get rid of your cell phone (or get rid of your land line), or car pooling to work.
I always want to be real with people that read this blog, so I will tell you that I try to tighten up my budget before I think of a second job. But I know that there is going to come a day where I need to suck it up and get that second job. Going through the pain now is much better than going throug the pain when I have kids and gray hair.