Monday, October 1, 2007

Living Within Your Means Should Be A School Subject

I think we can all agree that Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are all worthy subjects for children to study, whether on their own or by assignment, as they grow up. We homeschoolers are fortunate that we can add whatever we deem necessary to those Big Three subjects.

That said, I’d like to propose a fourth subject that should be considered important enough to rank with the Big Three: Living Within Your Means. There are some scary things going on in this country right now, and they’re the result of people living far beyond their means by obtaining mortgages with steadily rising payments that they cannot afford, or by borrowing against the equity of their homes, whose prices are now dropping (and in some places, plummeting) in value.

Every day I’m reading about people who are losing their homes because they bought more than could handle out of greed, ignorance or both. And now President Bush and some members of Congress are proposing that we bail out some of these foolish people, in an effort to minimize the potentially devastating effects this could have on our economy. Of course, any bailout is going to come out of the pockets of the taxpayers, i.e. us.

How much pain and suffering can be avoided if people live within their means! If we teach our children from the time they’re little to use money wisely, to know the difference between a need and a want, and to pay upfront for the things they need instead of borrowing the money (this brings advances on the allowance into question), we can try to protect them from the world of hurt that many Americans are about to go through.

Homeschoolers are in an excellent position to teach our children these things because we have so much time with our children every day. Of course, we should also be setting a good example for them by living within our own means.


Janet said...

Yes, yes, and yes! It's a stewardship matter- learning that our money is God's money,and that we need to use it for His glory, not ours! (And yes, I am definitely guilty of greed too...)

Susan said...

Well, Barbara, aren't you unAmerican! Where would this economy be without moms in the workforce and families living beyond their means, indulging in consumerism out the wazoo?

And before you have a heart attack, yeah, yeah, I'm at least as "unAmerican" and detrimental to the economy as you are. Teaching my kids to save their money up and spend it when they have enough to buy things -- tsk tsk tsk. What would happen if everybody did that?

Dana said...


It amazes me that people like Dave Ramsey have been able to build such a business which basically says one thing over and over: If you don't have the money, you can't spend it.

It is simple, really, but it requires self-discipline. Something we have not been teaching in our culture for awhile.

Henry Cate said...

If you haven't seen Steve Martin's "Don't Buy Stuff you Can't Afford" check it out:

I think you'll enjoy it.

Henry Cate said...

Opps, click on this.


Barbara Frank said...

Janet, it is God's money, but it's so easy to forget that :(

Susan, guilty as charged. Unfortunately, we savers and our ilk are the ones who will pay when the govt. bails out the credit-dependent.

Dana, before there was Dave Ramsey there was Larry Burkett, a very smart and godly man. He inspired us to become debt-free.

Henry, I posted that a while back:

It says something about our society that a message like that is even needed, doesn't it? Thanks!