Don’t Give Me Credit

My house lives a mostly frugal lifestyle. This apparently causes others great consternation, because we do not live like others. We do not live by credit, and we do not listen to people who talk a big game about “playing the system.” If you think that by increasing your debt margin, that this means you are “winning,” leads me to seriously reconsider your adulting faculties. It’s like the joke about the Kung Fu guy that trains an idiot wrong because it’s funny. Or something. They mean well, I know, in their way. But still. It irks. Yes. This is a backseat Ramsey post. Who knows, chuckles.

My wife is a stay-at-home Mom. By choice. That I live in a time that warrants the preface is sad. Although we get a lot of yuks out of “radiator” jokes. (For the longest time her family, and others, assumed I abused her after she quit the work force, which was making her miserable.) I am the sole income, as my son is three and, as you might imagine, relatively incapable of drawing an income. He qualified for coof bennies during the last instalment of a fabricated pain in the ass virus, but not now. And since I refuse to pimp my son for social media bux… whatever. I should save my mixed feelings on Social Media for another postrant.

We try to pay in cash. We fail, and fall back on debit, but are slow to use credit. Extremely slow. We budget. When things aren’t in the budget, they don’t happen. This concerns people, who assume we must be miserable because we don’t spontaneously haemorrhage money. They assume also that we must live like hermits and never do anything, ever, because we decline to go a-spending when not given advance notice. The more the cost, the more the notice. Noticiary brackets: $50 = 1 week, $100 = 1 month, more than that is months. Why? I sock money aside. I’m self-employed, so I have to compensate for work missed as well as money lost. Because money spent compounded by time off creates a cash deficit. Being self-employed means I don’t get paid when I’m not on site.

This doesn’t mean we’re impoverished. I see to it my wife eats well, and to her taste – that she has clothes, and is comfortable in our home. My son is healthy, writes I as he whacks me in the kidney with a thing he pulled out of a shade he can reach. Our house is predominately up to date. The major difference between us and many we know, is we have assessed what is important to our house and in our lives. Frivolous trips and ridiculous doodads aren’t a priority. Priorities are nullifying debt and creating a nest egg so that when I finally die, I can leave my children with more than (I hope) happy memories of all the embarrassing jokes I told.

I’m not here to mock or ridicule anyone with more money than me, who can afford (apparently) to be careless. If you cleared your debt and are living it up, great! You’re awesome, and should be praised. However, even when my debts are clear, I doubt I’m going to become a debonaire. I really don’t like people enough to waste our lives on that. Would I like to go to L’Anse Aux Meadow? Yes. Britain? Yes. Maybe. Year 2007 Britain. Rent an RV and do a driving history of New England? Yes. However, and this is where I take issue with many in my age group… I won’t live a lie.

Many my age live well beyond their means. They rent their lives. They play complicated games with money they don’t have to get things they don’t need. As we all get further away from being younger, their behaviour becomes increasingly strained. Maybe the walls are closing in. Maybe they know that despite their advice on opening lines of credit, the late-night phone-calls really bother them. Because if you are using credit to pay for your lifestyle, you don’t have a lifestyle. You’re voluntarily indenturing yourself.

We can debate 9 ways from Sunday the merits of “cucking the system.” I’m not against weaponised welfare, specifically, with women who in many ways are more vulnerable, capitalising on available services to assist in their voluntary withdrawal from an increasingly deleterious workforce. If that puts a dent in the piggybank of America, good. America should have managed her money better, just like many snobs tell those in the poorhouse. I don’t mean anything violently illegal, shady or obscene. Because, really, there is something to voting with your feet. Workplaces have been made ridiculous, with the amount of care taken to navigate entirely ridiculous social constructs under pain of termination, with the triteness of most entry-level positions and the probability of being replaced with a cheaper to maintain robot or immigrant… it’s no wonder people are burning out, and shutting down.

I don’t blame them. I don’t blame them for not going back after being put on lockdown during the Coof. I really don’t.

But I have a general plan for my house. When my (including my wife’s) debt is crushed, we want to someday get a pair of rentals. We can rent to people who share our values, with the one, to give them a leg up. I can train them in basic home maintenance and potentially employ them around town if I can steer my clientele locally. The low rent for my nepotistic beneficiary would be offset by a market rate rental leased to someone of higher means and amicable views. In this way we could begin to influence our personal sphere. I think others should adopt similar plans, and the reasons are manifold. One: the rental situation in New England is disgusting. Revolting. Beyond the pale. Another thing is, because housing (the gateway to blood and soil) is so tenuous, nobody ever feels at home. How could they when the social fabric seems bent on starving them?

If someday I, and others, can begin to create a cushion to push in which flesh and blood community is the default, than we can reclaim some of that village feeling. That village feeling, highly devoid in the modern world, is a loss which contributes to the malaise and depression. Perhaps you disagree, but I stake a wager. Nobody really feels at home in America, because nothing belongs to anybody. The atomisation has been so complete that the default is detachment. From education until employment, the lesson is disembodiment. That’s no way to live.

Now. If I lived like everyone else, whose patterns of baseless consumption betray the detachment from lasting values (ODAL) than I would have a credit card, feed my wife a fancy restaurant dinner every other night, buy my kid the newest in dopamine retardant bing-bang toys and drive all over Hell and back for no reason. But. I don’t. I am part of a fabric that will outlast myself, and I have a duty to live in accordance with that. My goalposts are local. Anything that drags me out of New England or takes food out of my wife’s mouth, or the shoes off my son’s feet, is no friend of mine. Not really. No matter the guise, be it fun, or duty, or what.

So. As I said. Do what you will. We live quiet lives, but our life is more or less our own. We sink or swim by my blood and sweat, not Shylock’s imaginary gold. That this is the case does not mean I am poor, in need of help, or that my wife is less than because she doesn’t wear a pantsuit and leave our son in the care of a potentially dangerous stranger so she can go be an empowered girlboss being talked down to by a corporate dog whistler. (Does anyone consider the irony of that? Of how cruel women can be to stay at home, “regressive” mothers, when the alternative to being suppressed by home is being suppressed by ‘the man?’ –My wife can take a nap if she wants to, when she wants to do it. Can you?) What it means is I live inside my means, and don’t want to deepen the reserve of intergenerational debt slavery awaiting many Americans. That would be foolish.

Furthermore, I believe that Carthage is still in need of destruction. Trust me. I’ve been saving my salt.

…NTS; Kingston Trio, “Greenback Dollar.”


10 thoughts on “Don’t Give Me Credit

  1. I am slowly crawling out of the debt hole it wasn’t caused by being frivolous it was caused by a system I could not keep up with as I wasn’t earning well. Not having grown up here I didn’t understand the fundamentals of living here well enough in regard to the decisions I made. My naivety is squarely on my head. I have a very sensible and wonderful husband who handles all the finances since we married 3 years ago and I wish we had been together earlier. We don’t live like papers or suffer for anything but we budget carefully and always pay off what comes in. One day I will be clear of this mess but I think it won’t change the way we live once the albatross leaves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I understand. Circumstantial for me. I did not believe but in went along with the salvific college myth. I saw no other way, because the evidence was stacked. Now it is different, thank Gods, but that doesn’t help those neck deep today… When I married, I inherited my wife’s debt following our decision she withdraw from workforce for mental health/fertility reasons.

      I know many default to escape. The paradox is, if I were single, I might – but might not think to. But I have a son and would like another, a daughter, and more besides. The system, I have no doubt, would gleefully punish my offsprinf on account of my choices.


  2. I can relate to this. I never got a credit card when I was young, but my mother ran up so much debt we were eventually evicted from our house. My husband is amazing with budgeting and he absolutely will not allow us to have credit. As you say, I don’t criticise anyone for living their lives in a way that suits them. But we make it a priority to spend carefully. That’s not to say we go without, I mean, we do have a flat (the mortgage is our only credit) we go on holidays, I change my decor and clothing seasonally. But we’re careful; we don’t go abroad, we go camping. I buy all my clothes and home stuff nearly-new from second hand shops etc. We plan to go on a few big trips, America, Japan etc, but we’re saving for them.

    We don’t do it to be obnoxious. Just like you, my driving force is to ensure my son is raised in a stable and secure home. There’s nothing I could buy that would be worth more than that.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good post. I think they are getting better. I come from a “been there, done that” point of view, regarding debt, but I have never made a lifetime commitment to another human being, like spouse or children, and admire those who do.

    Debt is a trap, and the debt I assumed for medical school trapped me into a politicized medical system that amounted to debt slavery, and for what?

    I worked hard enough and long enough to get out of debt, and now what little money I spend goes to feeding animals, myself, and maintaining and enhancing what I already have.

    You are still young enough to have dreams and ambitions, but my only ambition, these days, is find fulfillment in what I have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “You’re voluntarily indenturing yourself.” I feel the same way when I see the “average” person throwing money they don’t have at things they don’t need. I don’t judge, but my goal is personal sovereignty–freedom from the system, to the extent possible–and that can’t be achieved without full control of my finances.

    My partner and I have the same vision of buying a property (or properties) and renting below market rate to someone with shared values who needs a leg up. If Lady Luck smiles down upon us, it will be a large plot of land and hand-picked neighbors. You’re not alone in craving the sense of community and camaraderie. Society, in general, is trending away from what has, historically, worked. Those us who notice and care must now be intentional about choosing habits of tradition over convenience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve come to believe that’s the way to go. I know you aren’t Asatru, but the A.F.A. bought and will be shareholding land to make an intentional community out of. Anyone with enough land could lease and lend, build and grow their own villages – with the right ties.

      Liked by 1 person

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