Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Counting Pennies

Who needs pennies anyways?  Coins in general are just a regular annoyance.  They jingle in your pocket and add pounds to your purse.  So why do we keep them around?

My husband doesn't even bother to use coins whenever we go back to the States.  I discovered this by accident when I was looking for something and found the huge pile of American coins that he had managed to hoard over a week of visiting the States.

So I, being the money-conscientious one (ha!), quickly confiscated the coins and added them to my own meager collection because I actually use them.

I find it some sort of challenge, actually, to give the store clerk the exact amount of change.  It is a sort of never-ending cycle really, because once you successfully rid yourself of all coinage - then comes the moment when you need coins and you don't have them...and so on it goes.

But I really didn't start this topic today to talk about pennies or coins or anything of the sort actually.  I wanted to talk about this article I read today about a family that had to get rid of their car due to the recession.

The situation feels a bit distant to me.  I mean, I feel for the family involved, but it just seems so far away.  Granted it IS far away because I live in Egypt, but the reality is that it could be anyone in this situation.

We live in a cash-based society here in Egypt.  By "cash-based" I mean that we actually pay for most things in actual cash money.  Credit cards here are very strange because in order to get one you have to front the money to the bank first and then they will grant you a credit card in that amount.  In my opinion that's more like a debit card than a credit card, even though it's not technically pulling the money directly from your account.  Actually it sounds like a lot of work - taking the money from there to pay the money here, etc.

Yes they DO give out loans but I couldn't even begin to explain that one.  I mean it took several tries PLUS the bank guy explaining it for me to kind of understand the way the credit cards work here.  Like I said, not really a credit card if I have to give you the money up front.

But I think in America we have long been content with living beyond our means.  Can't afford a big house, just take out a bigger mortgage...Must have the fancy car, another loan in place...Can't pay off the credit cards, just transfer them to another card...  Sounds like a vicious cycle to me (MUCH worse than the coin counting I was doing earlier).

I was reading another article where the family happily downsized their stuff.  It definitely made for interesting reading.

So maybe this going back to living a more simple life isn't such a bad idea.  Could YOU live without your car?  Could you have less clothes, less shoes, or less beauty products?  Or perhaps we should start in the most reasonable way, that being living within our means.

Have YOU been simplifying your life lately?  If so, how and why?

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