Joint Base Charleston


Get off the debt wagon

By Economic Readiness Team | Airman and Family Readiness Center | July 07, 2010

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Debt. It's a four letter word. It's an American way of life. You hear about "keeping up with the Jones" and "I want it all and I want it now." Gone are the days when you actually had to "save" (according to some, another four letter word) to get something you want ... or are they? As the saying goes "everything old is new again" and this seems to apply to the financial school of thought of our depression era grandparents, or in some cases, great grandparents.

As times are changing and credit is sometimes harder to obtain, the national motto may be changing from "charge it" to "save for it" In a surprising statistic from the Wall Street Journal, consumer debt has dropped to $853 billion in the first quarter of 2010 from $935 billion in the first quarter of 2009. Consumers are getting more concerned with getting the best value for their dollar and stretching it as far as they can.

If you are looking at making a jump from the credit ship, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1) Make a budget and stick to it. Think of a budget as a tool to manage your money, prioritize your bills and stop spending money wastefully.

2) Pay down your high interest, unsecured debt first. A good resource is After you enter your information, this site gives you're a detailed plan to pay off your debt.

3) Set up an emergency savings account. A savings account is a great alternative to charging emergency expenses on a credit card and incurring interest.

4) If you find you are having financial difficulties, seek assistance. The Airman and Family Readiness Center offers everything from one-on-one financial counseling to classes that teach budgeting, home buying and everything in between.

5) When you are in a good place financially, look at investing. Ira's, Roth and traditional, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc., can outperform inflation and give you a nest egg to rely on in your golden years.

As for the next generation, keep in mind that children learn from watching their parents.

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