College football has hit a fever pitch here. The Auburn-Alabama game is coming up and best I can tell all gloves are off, at least for the fans. And in this part of the world, everyone is a fan, one side or the other.
This year for us, the Alabama games are different. We didn't expect them to be, but they are. A former student of mine is playing, and playing often. I mentioned him last article. He's #88 O.J. Howard who is a (true) freshman playing offensive tight end. Two games ago, he caught a 52-yard pass for a touchdown. You would have thought he was our child from the shouting going on in our house. But you see, we know his family, too. His brother is still in our school. His mother drops him off. O.J.'s stepfather works in my old department at the paper mill (and thereby supports my retirement). So it's different and will continue to be different as long as O.J. plays as he has been.
If you have a close acquaintance playing on national TV, and you are as excited about it as we are, don't expect your other family or friends to understand. We wouldn't have until this year.
Changing subjects, my wife and I have decided to get out of debt. Unlike many couples where one is a saver and one a spender, Kathy and I are both spenders. It's a deadly combination! But a series of sermons at church have convicted us both. Not sure how this is going to work out when the next shiny new object hits the market, but we're giving it a try. I think the straw that broke things was a statement that what keeps most people from becoming millionaires is a car payment.
Don't get me wrong, I don't regret the 40 or 50 odd cars that I've owned in my lifetime. But my parents only owned five. And they were all bought with cash. Every one. Remember, I'm a spender ... no chance for me to have the self-discipline as a young man to save and not have a fancy ride for ONLY $75 a month. Used, but still fancy. So now it's $350 to $600 a month or more.
We are finding some extra money to increase the monthly payment to pay off our smallest debt first. Then we're adding that payment to the next smallest debt until it's paid off. And so forth. By the time we reach the first car payment, we'll have over $1,000 a month extra to use toward it.
Shoot with $1,000 a month, I could buy a new Corvette. Just kidding!
So cheer for O.J. Howard, unless you are an opposing fan, that he will continue to find success on and off the athletic field. And cheer for us that we'll maintain the self-discipline to get debt free.
If you'd like a copy of the message that got us on this financial tract from Destiny Christian Center (www.destinycc.com), just send me a text at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gene Canavan is a retired West Point Graduate and Paper Mill Utilities Manager and lives in Prattville, Alabama, USA.