First, let me preface this with the following soothing words: If you are in debt, you should ask for help if you feel you are drowning and you have nowhere to turn. There are many good community based help groups for your debt issues, so there is help for you, and if you feel you are at wit’s end, ask for help (i.e. this post is not about you).
Don’t be a Debt Dandy
I am lucky to be a financially comfortable person (relatively speaking), I am by no means rich like many of my other blogger brethren, however, I am OK financially. My debt load is kind of high, but it is manageable and I have a good job which pays reasonably well, so not too many complaints here.
I do however have many acquaintances and friends (who make a great deal more than I do, since most of them have Dual Incomes ) who are constantly harping on about how they have no money and how far in debt they are.
Let me give you a quick scenario which happened recently where an acquaintance was out to lunch, and started whining about how his credit card debt is so high, and it’s going to be really hard to go on vacation with his family this summer. He and his wife just felt that between the car payments, and day care costs it was just getting too much.
OK, I’ll give you a second to read that one over again, just to get the gist of why I might be mildly irked, or peeved about the statement.
Let me dissect this simple scenario and why I wanted to stab this acquaintance with a spoon (because it would hurt more!):
- This acquaintance has a wife who also works in a similar job, and thus his family income is effectively twice mine
- We were sitting in a nice restaurant eating lunch (which was going to cost around $30 or so)
- He paid with his credit card
- There was still going to be a family vacation to a cottage, but just not a nice vacation somewhere down south with a hotel
- Same acquaintance “refreshes” their cars every year or two because they don’t like older cars, and they lease all of their cars
If you have twice my income and you complain you don’t have money, you really need help financially. Unless you are sending your income to your family “back home”, supporting a disabled family member or are attempting to recover from a financial catastrophe which left you in dire financial straits, you really have no real reason to be complaining you have no money (or more specifically you don’t have enough money).
If you are having problems with your cash flow and you are spending too much, stop eating in restaurants.
If you have a massive credit card debt, stop using your credit cards (completely). Do the Gail Vaz-Oxlade money jars thing, put your credit cards in the freezer, or whatever, but simply stop using your credit cards. You can’t fill a hole in that you are continuing to dig at the same time.
Vacation? What the hell is that? Mrs. C8j (my sainted wife) hasn’t been on a descent vacation (with me) for 18 years! Are we complaining? YES, but that is for another time. If you are having financial problems, vacations are the first thing to go.
Leasing cars? Replacing your car every two years? I won’t go into the numbers but you are just burning money for the sake of having a nice car (which evidently is an important part of your self-esteem I hear (I drive an 8 year old Corolla, which better last another 3 years at least, for reference purposes)).
Oh and if you want to be really picky, if you think Day Care costs a lot, why doesn’t one of you two cut back your hours? Do the math, how much is this all costing to put kids in Day Care, and “Do the Work Thing”, you might find you are actually in a losing position financially.
Sorry, haven’t ranted much lately about this kind of stuff (and no this isn’t one single person it’s a conglomeration of a few acquaintances, however, I am sure you all have friends like this too).
Oh and to clarify the title of this post:
The problem with some folks who are in debt, is that they won’t shut up about it, and wear it as a red badge of courage to almost brag about how badly off they are (when in fact it is their own fault, and if they just did something about it, they wouldn’t have these problems).
Don’t BITCH about it, DO something about it!
(or start your own blog and complain about it there)