Been awhile again. Craziness of a new house purchase hopefully almost over; (possibly long) summary to follow. Until then, a really short response I gave to someone recently about how we've managed to stay out of debt, afford what we have, not live the rich lifestyle, but still remain happy. Enjoy!
I loved your message about thriftiness. I also have never been in debt--just the mortgage, which doesn't really count. I paid off my student loans all at one shot many years ago--over $9,000 in one check, boom! And my credit score as of two weeks ago was 802! So, hah! :-) Seriously, this allowed me to be lucky enough to buy my father's house after he passed--and rent out the one I own. I move in there in 4 weeks and I can't wait. I also think that people who race to hit their credit limit are idiots. I only have 1 card, with a limit of $1,500 that I never reach. I don't own a debit card or an ATM card. I don't get automatic deposit--I go to the bank, and I never walk away with more than $200 or $300 on me--which lasts me two weeks until my next check. I balance my checkbook at the bank; I've never bounced a check. When I was 14, my father taught me to pay rent first (20% of the total check went to him); then I put half of what was left automatically in the bank. The rest had to go to gas and my bills right away. The rest--about $50 by that time!--I could spend. This made me rather wealthy for a working 14 year old (massive numbers of hours over the summer, never during school), but it taught me everything I need to know about saving money.
So I'm with you, there, my friend. We're also both former reporters, though you are way more successful a writer than I at this time. But I'll be hittin' my stride soon!