Friday, March 28, 2008

Boycotting the economy doesn't hurt, either

After writing about how uninteresting my new coworker is, I'm going to go ahead and squeeze a short post out of her. I still think she's boring, but so am I and look how many posts I've written about myself.

Yesterday, I heard her on the phone asking someone if she could get the money to them tomorrow, which is now today. Then, later on, she had the same conversation with someone else. The conversations were short and cordial, so I'm guessing it wasn't her bookie or dealer. Actually, I really don't think she's the type to have a bookie or dealer and she definitely doesn't have a pimp. Now that I think about it, it sounded like one of them had to do with a field trip for one of her kids because the phrase "permission slip" was used. Point is, she couldn't pay it until payday and what does a field trip cost? Twenty bucks? Fifty maybe? I really don't know since I haven't been on one since the Clinton administration (which actually makes me sound kind of young, huh?)

Anyway, I know a lot of people live paycheck to paycheck, but I still have a hard time understanding it. I guess having three kids when both parents hold very low-paying jobs makes things tough. At least they have both parents.

I find it hard to relate, though, because I have the same low-paying job she does and I wait until I have four or five checks piled up before I take them to the bank. I know that's unusual (not to mention lazy), and I don't mean it to sound like I think that it makes me a better person, because of course it doesn't. I'm just really thankful that my costs of living are so low that when the Post Office loses my paycheck for four weeks in a row (which happened recently), I don't mind just waiting until they all get returned to sender so I can pick them up all at once.

I'm fortunate like that. Then again, not having kids is not so much fortune as choice. Okay, there may have been some fortune from time to time on that front (thank you, Jeebus!), but it's mostly choice.

CLARIFICATION: I think this still ended up sounding a bit "holier than thou," and rather than fix it so it doesn't, just know that I do understand how the world works and what I'm really trying to say is that I'm very glad I'm not in a situation where I'm digging a financial hole. This is a message of thanks to the fates (and maybe myself a little, too).


Allie said...

I think the problem is that it can be really freaking expensive to be poor. There are a lot of hidden fees in not being able to pay things on time, or paying installments, etc. I have a friend who has a couple of kids and it seems like she's always getting hit with one thing or another. And she's super frugal and super responsible. I think it's just that once you get behind it's REALLY hard to catch up.

ck said...

she has a gambling addiction. Maybe "permission slip" is gambler parlance for "put all my money on windjammer, but I'm at work and this guy is listening to my conversation."
That would explain A LOT.

Chris said...

Allie makes a good point. Your starting line can make a big difference. If you start in a financial hole, it can be pretty tough to get out --- especially with three kids.

Also, have you ever heard of direct deposit? What are you, storing cash under your mattress, too?

Courtney said...

Yeah, I was once seriously in debt thanks to grad school, and if I didn't have a second job I'd probably be paying that off well into my 40s. It's tough to get out, even if you're responsible. Plus, since I'm guessing this girl isn't exactly Einstin, she may be falling into those "get out of debt quick" scams.

Allie said...

CLARIFICATION: I didn't think you sounded holier than thou at all. And I think you've got a pretty good grip on how the world works, which is one of the reasons I like reading your blog so much.

Kiala said...

Well now I feel like poop. Thank you so bloody much, Mickey.

Can I pay you tomorrow?

ck said...

i think everyone is missing the point here: it's hard to get out of debt when you have a raging gambling addiction. like LINCW has.
also, has anyone every listened to the potential side effects for those "restless leg syndrome" pills? one of them is an intense urge to gamble. imagine taking a pill and then having a unreasonable desire to play blackjack all night. maybe LINCW has a prescription.

Mickey said...

allie- I have a habit of re-reading my work constantly after posting it and second-guessing myself. Your comment came in before I added the clarification, but it's not what caused it. And thank you for understanding me.

ck- Thank you for zeroing right in on the truth, as usual.

chris- Don't ask how far away my bank is, either. I can't explain my actions.

courtney- I think three kids probably just cost a lot of dough.

kiala- Why so poopy? You're not poor too, are you? I know how you feel about the Poor.

ck- Finally! We're back on track again.

The Ex said...

Well, I think I have no idea how it is to be a poor mother of three or one or even a poor single person. I've been very blessed to get pretty good jobs. So, I won't judge but sometimes I do totally get sick of LISTENING to people complain about not having money/being poor and stuff.

Jacob said...

Yeah, I think the three kids explains it. They suck money and even more so the older they get.

Plus most people want more than they can afford. If you have to shuffle things to squeeze in your house payment, you bought to much house (same for rent). You shouldn't worry about how rich you appear. You should worry about actually having any money. I'd rather look like poor white trash and have all the money left over for traveling and retirement I want instead of looking like a slick mover and shaker and living paycheck to paycheck or deep in debt.

Vanessa said...

I think no matter what job you have (fast food and the like aside) you can live decently. It's just a matter of living within your means and educating yourself as to what that really is. Example, sure you can afford the payment on the big car, but what about gas, insurance, maintenance etc. The car is really costing you $700 a month not the $350 you justify by telling yourself to only worry about the payment. Looking at the big picture really makes the difference.

Mickey said...

ex, jacob, and vanessa- Good points, all. Especially Vanessa- people in general are not good accountants.

Meaghan said...

Amen brotha! (I just felt like saying that because of the "holier than thou" comment) I'm always afraid I sound like that when I tell people how we try to do the whole financial thing, but I'm really just trying to give ideas of what works and what doesn't.

I think everyone is right, though. Kids just cost a lot of money. I mean, you are paying for more food, diapers, clothes, water, insurance, child care, etc. This is why we should all be limited to two children a couple (if that).