Taking a Bad Situation and Making it Worse…

08 Apr

I admit it.  I am a home improvement junkie.  I love to watch the shows where they take something old or outdated and revive, refresh and redesign it into something special.  One of my favorite shows has been “Extreme Home Makeover” .  For those of you who have never seen the show it is usually on network TV on Sunday evenings.  They find a family that has difficult circumstances who are living in homes that don’t meet their needs usually because of financial difficulties, tragedy, or health issues.  They bring in a team of builders and tear down the old home and build them a new home in the course of a weeks time.  They send the family on a vacation while they do the construction and then bring them home to see their new home.

I love that they try to improve the families circumstances by providing them with more space, updated wiring, plumbing, handicapped accessibility if that is there need but over the course of the show I have seen them grow the size of the homes to opulent, extravagant homes.  In some cases I have seen a perfectly good home bulldozed to the ground when they could have done some creative remodeling, updates to utilities and expansions to the existing home to meet their needs.  Granted it wouldn’t be as exciting of a show but it would make sense to help them in a way that would be sustainable in paying the electricity, utilities, property taxes, etc.  I just read recently that some of the families that were featured on the show have lost the homes in these difficult financial times.  That makes losing 2 homes for most of them.  First the home that they had before the show and then the home they got on the show.  What is wrong with some common sense.  I looked at many of the homes at first and thought “How exciting for those families!”  My next thought was “I’m sure glad I don’t have to clean that house!”  A housekeeper does not come with the home.   How have they helped these families in the long run?  Are their circumstances any better because they lost a bigger, better home?

How much is enough?  This time of the year for the parents of Junior and Senior High parents it is a very expensive time of year.  There are Senior pictures which have evolved into a full-scale photo shoot with several clothing changes and locations.  The next expense is the High School Prom where the dresses for the girls can cost more than $400.00 in some cases.  Then you add the hair appointment, nail appointment, flowers, prom pictures, and meal before prom.  Some even hire a limo to take them to their destinations for the evening.  The boys have the price of the tux and tickets for the Prom as well.  All for one evening’s entertainment.  When I added up all that was spent by some for last years Prom guests for the evening it cost more than my wedding. 

I was married 25 years ago.  We had a small town wedding at our church with the meal served in the church basement, no dance and a week trip to the North Shore of Minnesota for our honeymoon.  Call me cheap but we weren’t in debt from it like many will be after this week’s expenses for Prom for many.    I haven’t even begun to talk about the extravagant graduation parties.  We went to one party where they rented a $600.00 inflatible game so the young kids would have something to do.    What happened to just visiting with people and not having to have entertainment for our children every minute of every day?  When will they learn how to socially interact with others?

What is wrong with having some restraint in our spending and teaching it to our children?


Posted by on April 8, 2010 in Uncategorized



2 responses to “Taking a Bad Situation and Making it Worse…

  1. Linda Anderson

    April 9, 2010 at 6:55 am

    I could not agree with you more! We went to one wedding that clearly cost $20,000 or more! When I was a kid and we went to weddings, they had cake and punch, often made by the bride’s mother!

    In the book THE HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL, Richard Stearns talks about that very issue – being good stewards of our money and helping the poor.

    • Jeanne

      April 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

      I am not saying I have it all figured out but I have given some thought as to how we sustain the level of consumerism we are at right now or if we should try. I really think it has gotten out of hand. I think that to be the best stewards of our time, money and resources is to actually spend or use less than we have or need each month. Instead of buying something new for a particular season look at what we have already and consider using again or just for one more season if it truly needs replacement.

      When we moved into our present home in 1993 it was a home that we took what was already usable added to it what we needed and went to bargain areas of the local lumberyard to see if there was any discounted items we could incorporate. At the time we went we didn’t have a color scheme in mind for the exterior of the home so we had more options. At the lumberyard auction we attended we got green shingles (good quality) for $100.00 It was enough shingles to roof almost our entire roof. Just one package was $30 when we ordered the rest we needed and we got an entire pallet for $100.00 at the auction.

      Into that home we moved our old appliances from our last home because they were still good and could be used. The stove I will be replacing soon is the one we moved into our home in 1992. We have had to do some repairs on it over the past almost 20 years but it has served us well and it is truly time to replace it.

      Now when a young couple builds or buys a new home everything in it needs to be new and the right style, color and texture. Some people I know have replaced nearly brand new appliances just because stainless steel appliances were popular and their appliances were not stainless steel.

      It helps if you are married to someone who shares your passion for taking something broken and fixing it and sometimes making it better. I’m not saying we never buy anything new but if it can be fixed at a reasonable price and still has use that is what we do. I love new things just as much as the next person but sometimes you have to look around and see what you can do with the money you don’t spend on something new. Is there some way to help improve someone else’s life or circumstances?


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