06 August 2008

short term gratification is not worth sacrificing the long term treasure

Dave Ramsey tells how getting out of debt and saving money is so mountainous that we might want to give up trying, thinking this is too damn hard, there is no way for me to do this, and other defeating thoughts like that.  He tells us that we might think that we deserve this extra treat, as a pick me up, cuz we've been working so hard, as a reward, etc.  He also shows how this type of thinking can set us so far back and dig us deeper into debt.  For an example, he uses this story about a single mother who is very frazzled, having a very bad day, late to pick up her kids, and when they are in the car, they begin to whine about being hungry and clamor when they see a fast-food restaurant.  The mother thinks, feeding them now for a few bucks with a happy meal will give me a break from making dinner, shut them up, and give me some down time without them getting on my nerves.  So she goes thru the drive-thru and picks up some cheap food for her kids.  The problem is that she doesn't have that money; she writes a check, knowing that she just wrote checks for the bills so there is no money in her account that is not already designated by outstanding checks.  But she thinks, I deserve this, how bad can it be?  So she writes a check for the cheap food.

Well lots of checks for bills bounce.  So she ends up paying overdraft charges on her account, she ends up paying bounced check fees to the companies for her bills, and pays for her bills too.  So that cheap food ended up costing her way more than she bargained, cuz what she was focused on was her immediate gratification.  She ended up sacrificing the long term treasure, or at the very least dug the hole deeper, making her journey that much harder and longer.

She did not deserve that sorta break today.

Using that same sort of way of thinking, we can see how it is applicable in so many ways to our own lives.  For instance, something fairly common is gorging on food, then hating ourselves for making it worse for us to be healthy.  A major set back that we perpetuated on ourselves time and again can lead us to be incredibly hard on ourselves.  I'm not saying we should give ourselves permission to splurge unhealthily without being accountable for our actions {omission or commission}.  But I do feel that the approach of brow beating and castigating ourselves is counter-productive and just as {if not more} harmful as the behavior for which we are chiding ourselves.

There is nothing saying that we must be the same as we were and that we have no choice and must go on committing harmful acts {to ourselves and/or others}.  We can help ourselves so that we don't dig ourselves deeper and further from our desired goals.  Sometimes in helping ourselves, we need to ask others for help, support, encouragement, and understanding.  Cuz we rarely can do all the work ourselves.

Ya know, getting by with a little help from your friends is sometimes the only way you can get by.


  1. I've fallen into that trap before.  I've always thought Ramsey was stealthily right-wing which makes me not trust him.  :o


  2. Dave Ramsey is pretty wise about money.  Although I can sympathize with that Mother and her children, it was never even a choice for me about paying for something that I couldn't afford.  I wish my children could only learn.  Debt free is a good feeling.  We should all strive to do better in this instant gratification world.  Anne


Thanks for taking the time and effort to let your thoughts be known!