Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve worked from home a few times and discovered the wonderful world of daytime television advertising. I know what you’re thinking, but I assure you I really was working. The only stuff I watched was midday news, I promise.

But, I digress. Basically, for those of you who don’t watch TV much during the day, the commercials prey on two kinds of people: old people and poor people.  From a strictly business-sense, it’s pretty logical because those are two of the three types of people (the third is stay-at-home moms) who are most likely to be at home watching TV during the day.

What particularly caught my interest, and got me thinking about writing this post, was the obscenely high number of debt counseling, “evade your debt using a slick lawyer” and “you shouldn’t have to pay that high interest mortgage you signed up for” commercials.

Our culture has been doing such a stellar job when it comes to personal finances.  On one hand, you have companies who exploit people in desperate circumstances (stay classy, you loan sharks out there). On the other hand, we become a society of out-of-control spenders, seemingly oblivious to the consequences of our poor choices.  Why pay now when you can file for bankruptcy later AND keep your stuff?

This kind of makes me wonder whether or not we should really be considering bailing out all of the people facing home foreclosure. Is bailing out people who acted foolishly and stuff with debt they can’t afford just reinforcing to them that decisions don’t have consequences, that the government will bail you out?

Don’t misunderstand me.  I know there are lots of folks who are burdened with debt not their fault like medical bills, etc, but it seems like the majority of people with out-of-control debt dug their own trench.

So here are my questions:

  1. Do you live above your means?
  2. What types of things do you do to save money (if anything), be thrifty and live within your means?