About the Colony

Curb excess spending? I’ll buy that

One of my credit card companies notified me by mail that I could get a lower rate on my card if I would use it more.

I tore the offer up in anger, but I think they suggested that if I charged somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 a month I’d get the lower rate.

I quit using my cards about five years ago, just before I retired. I do use it in an emergency if I’ve forgotten my checkbook.

My general rule is this: If I don’t have the money, then I don’t buy something.

Isn’t this how our nation got in this trouble in the first place? We’ve spent beyond our means, and now for many it has become another added burden in coping with these very difficult times, such as losing a job.

We’re being conditioned to buy, buy, buy. I’ve never been much of a consumer. I’ve only bought a new TV when the old one crashed. And that was after I spent a great deal of time trying to fix it.

I squeezed another six years out of a TV by clipping a clothes pin to one of the circuit boards to keep the connection together.

My dad always told me to take something apart when it quit working to see if I could fix it.

Many times, I did. Other times, I ended up throwing it away because I didn’t know what I was doing. Overall, I think I’m ahead on the fix-it, break-it scoreboard.

And I am incensed by this whole “Black Friday” thing.

When I read that consumer spending is down, I generally rejoice. I see it as a good thing.

The incessant advertising to try to get us in the stores by 4 a.m. after whipping us into a shopping frenzy isn’t healthy. It has become the American way to continue to turn us into consumers.

After what this country has been through, I was hoping that attitudes would change as we curbed spending, bought only what we had the cash to cover and even put a little aside for that rainy day, which, apparently, is now.

Last year, my two daughters, their husbands and my wife and I agreed not to buy Christmas presents for anyone except the three grandchildren. We all felt really good about it. In fact, we’re going to do it again this year.

All my children have learned the evils of spending beyond their means. Thank goodness they’ve been cured, or are at least on the mend.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. He can be reached at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.