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I have a tendency to unconsciously appropriate other peoples' affectations, leading me to say things like y'all.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What I think about money

This is in response to my cousin's post earlier today:

H is right - it isn't fair that good people wind up in shitty situations, but as a woman who is almost 20k in debt post-separation, I can safely say that anyone in that much financial trouble has no one to blame but themselves. The fact is that even though I needed to charge things just to get by (and to feed/clothe Sophie), there were plenty of things I could have lived without. An ipod, an ibook, new clothes for my new dating life, a whole face that required the buy out of the nearest MAC store...things of that nature. Also, Sophie probably didn't need 6 pairs of shoes.

The unfortunate thing about credit is the convenience...you can live the illusion of being in an okay financial place even though you couldn't be farther from it. You can charge the lunch or the sweater and then the next thing you know you are completely and totally fucked.

The best thing anyone can do for a person who has no idea how to comport themselves in a budgetary manner is to point them in the right direction so that they don't fuck themselves up again. Throwing money at a problem like massive debt (as well intentioned as it may be, like in H's case) isn't a good enough solution because the debt will be gone, but the motivation, once the burden is lifted, to go out and rack up the debt all over again will still be there. Lending someone money won't change that. It's the impulse that needs to be addressed, because chances are that's coming from somewhere...and no, I don't mean to get all psychological about it, but the fact is that people want more stuff (especially stuff they can't afford) for a reason. Whether it's societal or personal, that appetite stems from somewhere.

So, my point is: the next time you think about charging yourself a new pair of shoes, go to the nearest Starbucks and order a venti marble mocha macchiato and the requisite sunshine cupcake (the yellow styrofoam lump in the display case), which will put you into such a sugar coma that you'll instantly forget about your consumerist woes.

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