image WHILE CONGRESS fights over a plan to allow themselves to borrow even more money than the U.S. does NOT have, so they can continue to spend, spend, spend, let's give thanks that we consumers cannot do the same.

Actually, a few years ago, banks and lenders were acting like Congress by increasing credit lines on credit cards and offering big mortgage loans to many people who could not afford them.

Eventually, though, consumers ran out of borrowing power. Consumer credit lines were closed or lowered by lenders, loans called in, and mortgages foreclosed. The day of reckoning came for many families who are now dealing with paying back what they owe. They had hit their debt ceiling.

Unlike our government, we don't have the power to simply raise the ceiling on the amount of money we can borrow in order to keep our "borrow and spend" game going, and that's not a bad thing. Personal financial responsibility is important and without a limit, too many people just wouldn't know when to stop. The result would be even more bankruptcies, foreclosures, and financial devastation.

Consider it a good thing that the "all-you-can-SPEND buffet" eventually closes for regular folks like us. The goal is to be sure that you are the one in control of stopping the music. Never get to the point where your creditors are the ones turning off the lights on your finances.