Yom revi'i, 23 Sivan 5775.
Debt kills. Increasing debt weighs you down, dragging you toward a grave in the End of Hope Cemetery. I think it must be like heroin addiction. In the moment of the "fix," you're flying high, feeling no pain. But when you crash, when you smash face first back into reality, the pain is exquisite and debilitating.
My mother was a woman of uncommon native genius. Even though she never finished high school and lacked positive role models as a child, she came up with many of her own chunks of life wisdom.
One of her particularly wise recommendations was to set aside cash in little labeled envelopes each month, until the desired item or service could be paid for outright. This was just another of the great ideas that we ignored, as children often do.
Until crisis strikes.
Without going into gory details, I'll admit that we had a lot of debt to unload years ago. Once it was finally gone, we vowed never to have another credit card -- and we've kept that commitment for the last eight years. While we do have debit cards to facilitate payments directly from our bank accounts, and we have a monthly grocery account at our makolet, we no longer go into debt to purchase stuff, or worst of all, to pay off another month of interest on our debt.
Now, we tuck a little money each week into Mama's Envelopes. They are labeled as needed: "Emergency Fund," "Dental Work," "Vacation Fund," and so on. There are envelopes for the fun purchases such as musical instruments, and for educational pursuits, such as my beloved writing class.
There is so much pride afforded by not being in debt, by having the self-restraint to wait to make a purchase until the money is collected.
And then there is the sweetness of keeping my dear Mama in the world, just a little bit, by finally living a little more of her wisdom.