Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Define 'savings'. It can mean preserving, as a verb, and it can mean reducing an expense, as a noun. Save can also mean to keep safe or intact. These definitions really show a major difference in the way one thinks. Has anything in your life journey set apart these definitions for you?

Once upon a time, when I was shopping myself into bankruptcy, I thought getting a $10 item for $6 was 'saving'. I used to think that using coupons 'saved' me money. The truth was, I was using 'reduced prices' as an excuse to buy things I didn't need, and probably didn't even want. I know I wasn't 'saving' because I didn't even have a savings account.

In the early part of 2008, things had started becoming really bad for us financially. Most months we couldn't even meet our fixed expenses, let alone put any money away for the future. This is when I discovered Gail Vaz-Oxlade. I started watching her show, Til Debt Do Us Part, and started feeling somewhat better about our situation. I told myself that those people had far more debt than we did, and we would never be like them.

I think I was dillusional. Turns out, we were exactly like those folks on t.v. We had tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Most likely it was in the neighborhood of $65,000, but I'm not entirely sure. I started looking at our payments, and figured out how to reduce our expenses so that we could start getting a handle on our debt.

Now, two years later, we still have some debt. But it's not at the level it used to be. We've paid off about $40,000 worth of debt in that time. And for the first time in my life, I have money in a savings account! Occasionally, when I find a way to reduce an expense(save-noun), I also manage to put that money into the bank(save-verb).

There are some uncertain times coming for us over the fall and winter months, and I am handling it all with a lot less fear than I would have in the past. I know that we can deal with whatever life throws at us, and not worry where next months rent or phone payment is coming from. This peace of mind is priceless, and I have Gail to thank for her wisdom and guidance.

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