With all the debate crazyness, and political talk, I feel this post needs to be written. The other day Jason was at the gas station, and in line in front of him was a woman that in his opinion was most likely wearing hand me down clothes or thrift store purchases that didn't quite fit her (no judging here, just laying groundwork for the story). She bought a coke, a pack of cigarettes, $20 in lottery tickets, and $9 in gas. Now, I don't know about you, but I do know that this is not the 90's and $9 in gas is NOT going to get her very far! As an ex-smoker, I do remember putting cigarettes as a higher priority then gas, but lottery tickets.....Seriously???? And it looked as if she didn't win anything either.
You see, Obama is not the problem, Romney is not the fix, our fellow Americans need to be educated! If this is the typical way of spending of a good amount of our population, (which I believe it is) then of course our nation is going to be in debt. Of course people are going to need help. What really bothers me about all of this, is that a lot of people don't see anything wrong with this! We have seen people first hand that eat out constantly, yet complain about how they can't pay bills or talk about how they just don't have any money, but yet they may have a brand new big screen or top of the line appliances or cars that they really can't afford. Don't get me wrong, we have been guilty of this ourselves, and still sometimes slip here and there and have to reign ourselves back in. But it seems to me, that if more of America were educated on how to spend and save money, and were taught budgeting then maybe, just maybe we wouldn't see the scenario that Jason saw the other day.
Another thing I have witnessed people not put as a priority, is health insurance. In this area, there are a lot of self-employed people. So, group insurance is not an option. Therefore, it seems like the theory of most is "I can't afford health insurance-it's too expensive". I feel that health insurance is another one of those things that you can't afford not to have. What if you or someone in your family has a serious injury? Or gets cancer? Or has some crazy blood disease, or internal disorder? By the time one of these happens, it's too late...You are un-insurable. Check into individual or independent health plans, you can even do it on your own without an agent. Sometimes going directly to the insurance websites, will save you money on your monthly premiums. If you have never checked into individual plans, they are a lot cheaper than you probably think they are. Most of us have had group insurance through a company at one time or another, and it's pretty expensive, so that's the amount we have in our minds. When we had group at one time, it would have been $1600 a month for our family of 4 out of pocket. We now have individual health insurance for under $500 a month for all of us. Big difference right? Of course the coverage is different, but at least it's a safety net for when something does happen.
As far as the reason I started writing this post in the first place, overspending by the average American. I wonder how many Americans have a budget, or even know how to evaluate their spending. I would like to share a challenge, if you don't already have a budget, or if you have possibly gotten away from it, then starting this week, keep track of every cent you spend. Keep all receipts, and divide them into categories at the end of every week. This way you will be able to see where your money is going. You will also be able to see any unnecessary spending that may be happening in your family. This is a good exercise to do at least once a year. And trust me when I say we sometimes get off track too! :) If only there were a way to educate all Americans to do this, then we might be able to get ourselves out of some of this mess.
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