Today we show our thankfulness for family members, friends, or soldiers unknown for the sacrifice they gave to allow us to have the freedom and prosperity we currently enjoy. While we can never really pay back the sacrifice that others have given in our stead, we can look to make the most of our time and freedom.
Each and every one of us in America has, each day, an opportunity to use our freedom to live recklessly or responsibly. We can take each day and live as we want, trying to satisfy only our immediate needs and wants. Or, we can live each day responsibly, looking not just at the here and now, but also to the future.
We have the freedom to live recklessly with money. Whether it is multiple cups of your favorite coffee from your favorite coffee place, meals out because of convenience, or vacations to places you've never been just because you've never been. All of this sounds like freedom, and to some extent it is. However, it usually is the freedom to walk straight into debt traps that keep you chained to a money treadmill for years to come. I don't believe this is the freedom we are meant to have.
On the other hand, we have the freedom to choose to live responsibly. Each day we can choose to brew coffee at home for significantly less than elsewhere. Food can be bought cheaper and prepared more inexpensively at home. Vacations can be planned for instead of done at the last minute for twice or three times the cost! Every month where you do not spend all of the money that is brought in, you store it up for the future. Even if that future is a larger purchase, building that money up over time through good habits is better than putting it on a card with 20% or more interest compounded monthly.
What is truly weird about these two choices is how they seem to lead to opposite ends. Taking the more "freedom" oriented approach to money tends to lead to more debt. More of your money is owed to banks or credit card companies which puts you in service to them. Living more "free" now leads to less freedom later.
Taking the less freedom oriented approach allows you to store up money for the future. You will be able to keep more of your money, that is truly yours, and be free from owing banks or credit cards or car loan companies more of what you worked for. Living less free now, can lead to more freedom later.
As many of us enjoy the day off today from our daily work, in addition to remembering and being thankful, let us also look to live more responsibly. The more we do so, the more our freedom will count for the better in the end.