#46 When You Grow Up Poor…

…you don’t know how to save money. You’ll hear teachers, and the news, and “smart people who wear Izod polos” tell you that the reason people are poor is because they don’t know how to manage their money. You’ll believe them for a long time. Then you’ll grow up and stay poor through college. You’ll get married and be super poor and move into a 4-plex that was built two centuries ago. You’ll notice one day while sweeping the floor in the kitchen that instead of sweeping dirt and crumbs into a dust pan you could just sweep it into the gaping crack between the wooden floor and the brick wall. You sweep all that stuff into the black hole in that gap between the floor and the wall and don’t realize that that stuff is going right down into the kitchen of the tenants below you. Anyways, you get it. We were so poor. We ate “fish tacos” every night, which were corn tortillas, ranch dressing, and fish sticks. We were very poor. So you have no money making $9 an hour beating up little kids at a treatment center. You can’t pay bills monthly, so you pay them every other month and just get further and further into the hole every other month. So you decide to enlist help from the holy grail of financial angels, Dave Ramsey. He told us to cash out all our money and use envelopes to keep track of our funds. This was huge for us because we had an epiphany after the first month. We found that we had no money in the envelopes. None. And then it dawned on us: You can’t manage your money when you have no money. It was sad to see, but very freeing. We gave up on budgeting. Budgeting is for rich people. Budgeting is for those people who have money to budget.

I realized that all those Izod pricks were wrong. You’re not poor because you can’t manage your money. You’re poor because you don’t have money.

So when you realize this you’ll never feel bad about spending your Christmas bonus of $250 bucks on a TV ever again. You could put $250 into savings, sure. Then next month you’d get a bill with a late payment penalty on it for two months delinquent charges on your utility bill and your $250 would be gone. Or you could keep paying the minimum payment and then go watch Dr. Who on your brand new Vizio flatscreen. Yeah. I’m getting more mileage out of the TV. The doctor wisks me away to distant universes. What have you ever done for me?

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