Dear Dave: I have a problem with impulse spending.
I switched to a debit card so that the money comes straight out of my checking account, but I still buy things I know I shouldn't.
Should I stop using the card?
Dear Lauren: First, let me say that debit cards are great.
You can't spend money you don't have with them like you can with a credit card, but you've still got to budget carefully and give a name to every single penny of your income. Otherwise, you can still overspend.
When I made the decision to get intentional with my money, I just used cash. It's hard to spend it when you don't have any on you.
It's a tough thing, I know, but you have to make a conscious decision to start living differently. You have to get mad at the things that steal your money a dollar or two at a time, and you have to put your foot down.
Enough is enough!
Try looking at your life as a whole, not a moment at time. All the moments you're living right now will have either a positive or negative effect on your future.
I decided I wanted the greater, long-term good, so I gave up on the short-term stuff. No discipline is pleasant when you're doing it, but as the Bible says, it yields a harvest of righteousness.
Trust me, Lauren. The greater good is worth the sacrifice. But until you make that decision for yourself, you won't do it. — Dave
Dear Dave: I'm 53 and in a position financially to retire in a couple of years. I want to keep working some after retirement, but I'm so burned out by my job that I'm not sure what I would do.
How can I find something that would light my fire again? — Nancy
Dear Nancy: If you haven't dreamed in a while, dreaming becomes an exercise.
I think it would be a good idea to set aside some time, turn off the television and just think about the things you like doing.
Maybe you could schedule a long weekend, just for Nancy, and get away somewhere to just relax, unwind and think about the things that make you happy.
It's easy to get out of the habit of dreaming, but try to find some time that will allow you to get back the feelings you had when you were 18 and felt like you could conquer the world.
Visit that place in your mind and your spirit, and think about what you'd aim at if you could do it all over again.
Dreaming is a great thing, but you have to formulate an idea. Once you have that in place, you can begin to develop a strategy for getting there.
Make a list of the things you need to do ahead of time to make the transition possible.
Would you need to take some classes or save up and buy some equipment between now and then? These are all important issues to address.
And check out the book "Quitter," by Jon Acuff. It's a fantastic read for folks in your situation.
Good luck, Nancy! — Dave
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