I can’t say I’ve always been completely financially responsible, but this week I’ve been overwhelmed by the refusal of people in my life to get their acts together.
One of my family members is going through a divorce. Her soon-to-be-ex keeps threatening to turn off her cell phone, which would cut off her contact with any of us. He knows she can’t pass the credit check to get a phone of her own because she’s always been a stay at home mom. She just found a job, but she left with zero money and can’t even afford a prepaid option right now. Being the stupid nice person I am, I offered to add a line to my cell phone plan if that happens. I figure the extra $10 a month is worth knowing she is okay and able to talk with her family.
Was that good enough? Oh no, of course it wasn’t. She has decided she wants an iPhone so she can have internet access. Which raises the cost to $25 a month. I told her flat out that I’m not willing or able to pay for that. She promises she’ll PayPal the money every month. But I know she isn’t able to – she would be depriving herself of something else she needs – and I’d end up paying it. Also, she wants to activate the phone right now (even though he hasn’t turned off the old one) so she can call and text without him knowing who she’s talking to. Um, not my problem.
I have a coworker who is drowning in debt. She’s going to end up filing bankruptcy, I can already tell. In the meantime, though, she spends like she’s rolling in money. Yesterday at lunch she offered to buy an appetizer and drinks for all of us. What did she use to pay for this? A credit card. And as a bonus, she had to call the number on the back of her card to check the balance first. I can’t judge too harshly because I’ve been there myself, but I couldn’t help being annoyed.
What is it that makes people care so little about themselves? I’m asking this question as much about my former self as anyone else. How do you get to the point of justifying stupid stuff – not something like using a credit card to buy groceries in an emergency, but just buying a bunch of crap at a restaurant because you want to show off? It blows my mind. It makes me thankful for the financial epiphany that stopped my stupid behaviors (for the most part), but it also makes me sad to think that I used to be the same way.
This was the real kicker of the week. S called me on Wednesday and said our son was out of money on his lunch account at school. Could I pay for it this time since S is broke? Well, Wednesday was May 4 and S got paid on April 30. “How on earth do you spend your whole paycheck in five days when you spent three of them working 12-hour shifts?” I asked. “Well, I took out a cash advance and had to pay that back, and my electric bill had a late fee, and I was overdrawn at the bank before my paycheck hit.”
So I added money to my son’s lunch account because he is my child and he will never go without because of his dad’s stupidity. But I didn’t like it. S doesn’t pay child support, but he is responsible for Jay’s lunch money, school clothes/supplies, and health insurance. Compared to the things I pay for, that’s nothing. And he can’t even follow the budget THAT I MADE FOR HIM BEFORE WE DIVORCED to make sure those things are taken care of.
S said, “I don’t know why you’re so upset. I know you’ve got all that money stashed away in the bank.” Um, yes. Because I saved it! Because it’s not just sitting there for me to squander away covering his mistakes! I can’t believe my emergency fund is being thrown in my face like I’ve done something wrong. Ugh…
I’m just over it. It’s so hard to keep my own goals in mind when everyone else is driving me crazy with foolishness. I think I need new friends who don’t stress me out with their stupid choices. Any PF bloggers want to rent my basement? 🙂