How to Dig a Hole

by Amy Burns


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How do you dig a hole? Sounds simple. Get a shovel. However, if it's a financial hole we are considering, there are a multitude of tools one can use to ensure that the hole not only gets dug, but even gets bigger over time with no additional effort. Magical? Only to our creditors! Follow these easy steps to dig your own!

  • Start Young. Make sure that immediately after getting that first job, you sign up for every credit card offered to you, no matter the interest rate. Then use them!

  • Keep Your Expectations High. You deserve to live as well as your parents, your friends, and various celebrities, right? Why shouldn't you have a $500 purse?

  • Always Drive a New Car. Crummy used cars are for others. Make sure you have the ride of your dreams. Definitely go to the car dealership with a monthly payment in mind instead of a bottom line figure. The salesperson understands you, and will make sure you get what you need.

  • Move Frequently. Landlords, jobs and climates are irritating. Remember, movers will actually pack up your stuff, move it for you, and unpack it at your destination. They take Visa.

  • Eat, Drink, and Be Merry. Life is short! Cooking takes time! Why not meet friends for drinks and a meal every night? Then you don't have to do dishes, either.

  • Go to Vegas. Everyone knows Vegas is extremely cool. You'll have a chance to wear your new threads, drink new drinks, gamble, and possibly see celebrities. Plus, the shopping is excellent. Go quarterly!

  • Attend Concerts. So what if the tickets are $250 a pop? It's the experience, man.

  • Be Lazy. Hello, why should you mow a yard, do your laundry, or walk your dog? There are people out there to do that for you! They will also take your car to be serviced, clean your pad, and get you to the airport.

  • Invest in Electronics. Make sure you get the latest television, stereo, game console, personal music player, car stereo, headphones, cell phone, and camera. You don't want to be behind. And remember, in six months or so, you'll need to replace it. That takes a lot of effort!

  • Forget About an Education. Why should you pay for school when you can earn some money now? When your supervisor tells you later that you need some classes or a degree, move! It's so irritating.

  • Hit Up Your Parents. Old people don't need much money. They are more than willing to finance your lifestyle, because they: a) got divorced and feel guilty; b) worked and were never there for you; c) favored your sibling(s) or d) all of the above.

  • Ignore the 401k Contribution. So what if your employer matches? You're young, right? You have plenty of time to catch up. Besides, it's all a government scam.

  • Bag Health Insurance. It costs, like, so much money every month. If you have to go to the emergency room or the doctor, they take Visa.

  • Get a Purebred Pet. Little dogs are so cute! They need little collars and outfits and special food and fit right in your $500 purse! All the best people have them.

  • Get Addicted. The real world is so boring. Video and online role playing games allow you to be exactly who you really are without annoying people telling you what to do, all for just a few dollars.

Because I know several young people who are using almost all of these "tools," I often wish I could wave a magic wand over this great nation and instantly require parents to teach financial skills to their kids. Why is financial education such a low priority in our country? The cynical part of me says that the powers that be have a vested interest in keeping us ignorant. What is the solution? It's for us to start educating our children at home by providing a solid financial example, so our kids aren't knocking at our door when they're 29 wanting us to pay off their SUVs, their Master Cards, and their responsibilities.


Amy Burns is a stay-at-home mother of two young children. Having recently survived a move from the Southwest to the much more expensive Windy City, she is enjoying applying frugal living techniques in a new environment.

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