Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How Low Do I Go?

I had someone criticize me for doing family wipes and yet spending $500 to send my girls on a "vacation," as she called it. It got me to thinking about just how far one goes to get out of debt.

I think I live a pretty frugal lifestyle, the credit card debt notwithstanding. I was living a frugal lifestyle even AS I was getting in to debt! The main reason my husband and I are in debt is a lack of planning and a lack of communication between us. So my question is, do we "punish" our children by making them quit music lessons or miss out on a good educational opportunity just because mom and dad have a hard time getting our act together?

I say no, personally, and so I use cloth wipes and let my daughter continue her music lessons. If you read all my posts, you can see that my children pay their own way for many of their activities. They work hard and have lots of responsibilities.

Is there a compelling moral reason for me to quit the music lessons (and the TeenPact and the life insurance and the many other rather radical suggestions I have been given) just so I can pay my debt off 2 months sooner than I would otherwise? And if so, can I really stop there or does that moral reason encompass our mortgage as well? Should all outside spending beyond food and clothing stop until every last cent is paid off?

I guess I don't see it. I want to be out of debt, very badly, and I want to be able to quit, or at least cut back, work. But I don't see being in debt as a sin or a sign of moral weakness. The weakness or sin is the lack of communication in my marriage. We are working on that.

I am interested in hearing others' point of view on this question.


  1. I am so encouraged by your wipes instead of TP. My husband and I have talked about using wipes, which would drive our kids crazy, and then not getting rid of, say, cable, or buying alot of pre-packaged foods. We need to let our kids see that we are not making them use wipes and going to Starbucks for a daily coffee. We must live out our beliefs/convictions (debt-free) before them. Every family must decide when we have gone far enough.
    Music is important in home education. We all make sacrifices to achieve something, wether it is to go on vacation, send our kids to camp or pay off debt, etc.....You are doing a great job, keep plugging along. You are an inspiration to me and I think/pray for you often.

  2. I think you are doing great! You have evaluated where you can cut back and where you won't. You have really encouraged me to think those things through. If you have health issues then the insurance is very important. I considered dropping my life insurance, but then I got sick. Today I am uninsurable. I am so glad I kept the life insurance now. I have a bunch of little children!

  3. I wouldn't cancel the life insurance, that's for sure. Just imagine the worst case scenario there! As for music lessons, if that's an important part of your homeschool or your children's lives I would work very hard to find a way to keep them. However, if cancelling them for a while will help you get out of debt faster (and I don't mean just a few months faster) then I'd talk to the kids about quitting them for a period of time.

  4. I want to apologize for coming off so harshly. I feel like a big fat stupid stinking pile of jerk. Did I mention I stink?...

    I'm so so sorry. I think it's great that you and your husband have set a goal to pay off your debt, and I got carried away with my comment. I guess I get so excited when people decide to do this, that I forget common courtesy -- ack! What a dunce I am. That was wrong, and I am sorry.

    You have more wherewithal than me -- I certainly am too lazy to go totally non-paper :)

  5. Dear Anonymous, I had no other way to contact you than this, so I had to publish your comment. All is forgiven! I am not even sure which comments you are referring to, as I have had several anonymous comments, some published and some not, but none that I have lost sleep over. Thanks for your mea culpa, and I am sure you don't stink!