It’s like watching the human equivalent of moths and a bug zapper

I found out that my brother just “bought” a new car. I’d like to feel happy for them but the declared bankruptcy a couple years back and lost their home,  I believe it was a short sale of the house.  They just could not wait to get back into debt and “playing the game”.  In less than a year they had bought a used car on credit on the advice of a”financial adviser” in order to rebuild their credit rating instead of paying off the debt and getting small financially. They are renting a huge four bedroom house in a high end subdivision and it’s just the two of them living in the home and just for extra fun they have a student loan they have deferred the payments on, though it still is accruing interest! But hey they got a great deal and low payments on the new car!  I feel a bit more sympathy for the moth as electricity is fairly new and the moth doesn’t get a chance to learn from it’s mistake.

This is one of the most frustrating things for me to deal with is denial and willful ignorance of family members. They all seem to be getting worse getting into debt even as the economy tanks. What scares me is they are consider the normal ones and good little consumers and I’m the weirdo. I know some people have to learn the hard way, it took me getting 100% disabled to wake me up but for gosh sakes two bankruptcies seven years apart would seem to indicate a problem with your financial planning. These folks didn’t suffer a job layoff, disaster or massive medical bills. Just plain old fashioned over leveraging and to much debt.

Kind of scary that I tried to teach them how to get debt free and live a simpler life style before they lost the house but it all fell on deaf ears. They did not see themselves as the cause of the problem, it was bad luck, the economy tanked, it happened to a lot of other people, so they could not be the problem! I’m quite concerned about all of them if the cost of living goes up as much as I think it will. I’m sort of figuring about 10-20% rise in food, energy and medical costs, add in dropping wages and hours and it looks like 2014 could be a tough year overall for the middle class and the rest of us at the bottom of the economic food chain.

As I say every person you meet can be used as an example, sometimes good and sometimes bad. I don’t waste my breath trying to convince people any longer. I’ll drop a few ideas/hints about preparing and self-reliance and if they ask then I will help if they remain open to the idea. I get some of the family members that occasionally “Humor me” about prepping and then either proceed to tell me it is somehow impossible for them to do it or they already know everything so they do not require my help. I figure eventually everyone will wake up though it might be a very nasty surprise to many people.

I need to adjust my goals for this year as the water main repair was a surprise and I should have had an emergency fund built up so I could have handled better on my own. Dad did spend to much for the repair but if I had the funds on hand to at least made good down payment on the repair I think it would have cost less over all.  Sometimes you end up paying a “stupid tax”. While annoying it’s best to just learn from it and not beat yourself up. I need to work on getting the revolving credit account at Les Schwab paid off since I have the Kia’s tires and brakes done. That should be paid off by the middle of April. At this point in time the only major purchase I have forecasted is the greenhouse and I plan to spend about $200.00. I hope to get a small greenhouse with rigid walls but if it’s to expensive I’ll go with soft side walls. I’ll add any savings from paid off debt to my emergency fund and then will be time to get rocking on paying off the wood stove as the Credit Union charges me interest on that loan.

It might not be a good Christian thing to do but I would really like to surprise the parents at the end of the year with good chunk of cash as repayment for the loans they gave me to help me out.  The idea I have is a bit of showing off but it is also that actions speak louder than words. Besides I tend to do better when I have a challenge that is almost impossible to do, I may not succeed but it often works out much better than any rational person would expect.

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21 Responses to It’s like watching the human equivalent of moths and a bug zapper

  1. Dannyboy53 says:

    What you are saying about humans and bug zappers is so true Jamie. We have five daughters and three of them (married) either have accrued or they are in the process of getting under some serious debt. My wife simply asked them if they have been paying attention to what is going on. Their reply was pretty much standard…we want to enjoy things while we can. Mary and I could go off the grid today and sustain ourselves for at least a year and a half maybe longer. Not one of our daughters and their husbands/children have the resources to last more than 3-5 days!

    We continue to improve our lot almost daily and offer suggestions and advice to those that are interested enough to ask us. Three of our daughters live In Florida, Louisiana and Colorado, the other two are about 30 miles from us here in north central Arkansas. The distant ones will be pretty much on their own when the SHTF unless they can by some miracle get to us.

    Like you pointed out, one simply can not waste their breath trying to convince people, even loved ones, that something is terribly wrong and about to come down on our heads with a vengeance.

    I believe the writer/author Jeff Gerke said it best,

    “No one changes until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of risking a change”

    • Jamie says:

      Danny it’s like the old ant and the grasshopper fable but in real time. I have been to plenty of the survivalist/prepping websites that have comments about folks not wanting to live if they could not have an Iphone or internet access. I fear many of these people will never get the chance to starve to death as they will probably die because of a lack of clean drinking water or proper sanitation.
      It sounds vile but I almost want to give them a pistol and some ammo so they can off themselves without needless suffering.

      • Dannyboy53 says:

        I know what you are saying and I often consider the same at times! If they couldn’t have their phones I think most of our kids would go insane. We have one of those “pay as you go” phones with no contract (I call it a throw-away) that we only have for emergencies. Our youngest daughter pays almost $200 a month for her phone and wonders why she is struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck, simply amazing. People have their priorities screwed up.

  2. harry flashman says:

    Well, maybe everybody will get lucky and the big crash will come, or there will be a big sun spot, and everybody’s debt will be erased.

    • Jamie says:

      and people call me an optomist. LOL

      • Ya know I think a lot of people out there are hoping for that very thing. I had one even admit it once. They think a collapse will be just a big reset is all.

      • Jamie says:

        Historically speaking I can’t say I have ever seen a bank or the government wipe the slate clean of debt to help the little people. Well the ancient Hebrews did have a concept of Jubilee that wipe away all debt every 50-75 years but that would be insane.

  3. Once had a woman I worked with start her job and within 2 weeks had convinced herself her paid for car was costing her more money in maintenance than a new one would cost overall. How many times have I heard people say stupid shit like that? Why I bought an entire brand new factory engine for my wife’s car and it was cheaper than a new car would have been especially when you consider interest, insurance etc.

    A month after she got her new SUV (Of course) she got canned lol.

    The point is people don’t need much encouragement to go into debt. It has to end sometime and it’s gonna end big I think.

    • Jamie says:

      Pioneer, You are correct the new car is a Hybrid so of course it will save them a ton of money in gas. Except I work the numbers and I know just how much money they could possibly save vs. the cost of a brand new car, interest and depreciation values. You will lose money even if you are replacing a paid off vehicle that get’s 20 miles per gallon with a vehicle that gets 40 miles per gallon for at least 3 years of the contract just to break even on gas costs and that does not include carrying comprehensive insurance or the vehicle payment. I figure at best the car cost about 26 grand and while I don’t know about the trade in car I figure they are financing at least 20 grand at 3-5% interest which equals about a $280.00-$350.00 month payment. Add another $50.00-$100.00 a month for comprehensive insurance and now they are paying more per month for a car than what I pay on my mortgage.

      I love my Dad but he has no clue about the cost of money, nor how he spends it. He thinks I am foolish to drive 15 miles to get real gas not counting the fact I get about 2-5 gallons worth of miles every tank as well as real gas is better for a the engine. I had a gas mower and all that crappy ethanol destroyed a good product that I replaced with an electric mower.

      • Dannyboy53 says:

        We live in a rural area so getting gas without ethanol is a “treat” for us. Yes ethanol is destructive and many people have been finding that out the past few years, it plays hell with these danged smog control systems or whatever that crap is called.

  4. Jamie says:

    Sometimes I get a peeved that many in my family think I’m cheap by choice. While I will admit to just getting by on some costs I will pay for good quality when I can afford it. Sorry just a random rant since I can’t yell at the people that annoy me!

    • Dannyboy53 says:

      My late Dad used to joke with my wife about money saying she “is as tight as the bark on a tree”! We are careful with spending money but like you, we will not buy something of junk quality either. It ends up costing you more in the long run as it doesn’t last so you spend more money replacing it.

      A lot of items we use or put up for our prepping I have built from scrounged materials. Our well bucket costs about $12 from materials bought at the hardware store, for instance a one way valve to trap the water and a length of plastic pipe! Cheap and easy to build.

  5. Rob In His Bunker says:

    You can’t fix stupid. Our car is a 2001, bought last year for $5K cash. We have no debt.

  6. Snake Plisken says:

    Jamie, I enjoy your posts because you speak truth to me about my situation. I’m the crazy one because I prep. I’m the crazy one because I drive 2 vehicles that are 12 YRO. I’m the crazy one because I own my small but tidy home. I’m weird because I save and reuse things like screws, bolts, and nails ( no hoarding though, all that stuff is sorted and organized):)

    I think I got this disease genetically from my grandfather who made lots of money but was very frugal. My father ( who is 75 YRO ) doesn’t have two nickels to rub together because of his huge debt and reckless spending habits. In fact, my relatives think I’m a cheap and wealthy man and are always hitting me up for cash. I do very well financially but am not about to help those who are so frickin’ dense that they can’t help themselves. Why should I? They think I live like a pauper and have a gold stash under my house. Not true. If i want something I go out and buy it for the best price and quality I can afford. I pay cash. Cash that I earned through my own sweat equity and risk.

    I just want to be independent and provide for myself and my like minded friends.

    I like the idea of you surprising your parents for the help they’ve provided you! It’s good for your soul and they’ll be grateful I’m sure!

    Best,

    Snake Pliskin

    • Jamie says:

      Snake, No one asks for money because the know I’m on disability so I must be poor. I pity them in some ways but angry in others that they keep making the same mistake over and over.
      I know how easy it is to fall in the credit and debt trap and found myself sort of slipping back into that way of thinking. I had to set the payoff challenge to get refocused on the debt-free goal.

      • Dannyboy53 says:

        Jamie I agree with each of you, it takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice, something most people do not have nor are willing to do. We have no debt and have had no credit cards for about ten years, like Snake if we can not pay cash for something we do without it. It’s a great feeling and is not difficult to do.

      • Snake Plisken says:

        I’ll bet you a dollar that you are more wealthy in many other ways than your relatives could ever imagine. How about peace of mind? What is that worth to a person? To me, not having much in the way of debt is liberating. It’s a sense of satisfaction and independence that means more to me than anything. Large debt is slavery to me. To quote Johnny Cash about debt ” I’m gonna break this rusty cage, and run!” 🙂

      • Jamie says:

        Snake, I have a lot of peace of mind. nymore I ask myself do I want to go shopping this month because there is a really good bargain or I need something specific like the Green house and budgeted for it.
        I’m a little mad at myself not having an cash emergency fund but I’m working on that now. Going to get that debt snow ball started to pay off the loan for the wood stove early.

    • S.Lynn says:

      My husband is similar. Out of 11 kids he’s the only one that has a home paid for and no bills. And just purchased our retirement home in Idaho for cash. His relatives ask for loans (denied) and I know if the SHTF he’ll be the first one they’ll come running to. Gotta get out of this state and up to our retirement home this year.

  7. Louise Jacobs says:

    When I was younger, we had a small business, so our survival depended on our energy, and we did OK. But now that we are retired, and physically unable to do a day’s work, I am very conscious of how dependent we are on the government pension, and what would happen if it ever got cut back or heaven forbid, stopped entirely. Whenever we can, we add something to the pantry. I also have a few skills that I still want to learn, such as wine-making, canning syrups, making cheese. My goal is to eliminate the need for our freezers (the one on top of the fridge should be adequate. If somebody shows up at my place looking for a hand-out, they’d better be prepared to work for it, and get a lesson in survival while they are at it.

    • Jamie says:

      Louise Jacobs:I’m not sure were you are at for making wine. I’m a beer brewer myself but you might check my side panel and the bootlegger bottle. It’s supposed to ship in April and the basic bottle yeast is a dry champgne type. From what I have read of the website the basic start up “bottle” is about $50.00 but all you need to add is a bit of juice and sugar. The bottle does the rest of the work. I have no connection to the company other than it is a local company with a great idea I’d like to see become profitable.

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