Last night I spent some time with some friends and it made my little ninja heart sad. Only one of them knows that I love finances, and none of them knew I have a financial blog. There was one continuing theme that seemed to reoccur throughout the night. These people are stressed.
A little background on these peeps, one has a steady job as a teacher, one was recently laid off but found another job, but took a pay cut, and the other is in a masters program. They are all roommates and they all live well outside of their means. These were some of the conversations that occurred during dinner last night.
The Teacher. The majority of my conversations with her focused on a used car she was looking to purchase. She currently owns a 2006 Honda (which she bought new) and after three years of driving it, she believes it is time for an upgrade. She has her eyes set on a $25K used 2007 hybrid. She also mentioned to me that she has credit card debt, a small school loan, and $900+/month rent. She’s a teacher, so I know she is not bringing home big money. She really has no need for the upgraded car, aside from the fact that she “wants” it. This girl is financially strained and tomorrow, that strain is only going to intensify when she comes home in her new ride.
The Recently Laid Off. I did not have direct conversations with her about her financial situation, but overheard comments she made like “I have no money.” After she was laid off, finances obviously became a little tight for her. She was fortunate enough to find another job quick, although she mentioned it does pay less. After taking the pay cut she knew money was going to be tight so what did she do to improve her financial situation? Well, she went and bought a new car. A brand spankin’ new Honda. Her justification: “My car payment and insurance stayed the same, but now I get better gas mileage.” I wish I could have slapped her and said that is a short term solution to a much bigger problem. The only reason she has equal car payments…she extended her loan out for six years. She is so desperate to try and make extra money, she almost got suckered in to a craigslist scam. Fortunately I hopped on the computer, after hearing about her “exciting opportunity”, and was able to prove to her that it in fact was a sham. I’ve always wondered what kind of people fall for the craigslist scams. The answer…broke people. To cap the night off. She told me about how she sent in some gold to Gold Exchange and received a check for $33. I chuckled in my head and wished she would have read yesterday’s post.
The Student. Now I don’t know to much about the student aside from a few comments about how rent ($900+/month) was really stretching her financially and that she was strapped for cash. Unfortunately, I was unable to learn more about her situation. The reason, she left to go shopping at Nordstrom. Ummm, excuse me, but if you’re broke should you really be going to Nordstrom right now?
Spending the evening with these girls was a frustrating reminder that sometimes people choose to be broke. They live like rockstars, but don’t have the income to back it up. The two with jobs make enough money that they could easily live a comfortable life, but they chose to be financially strained, stressed, and stupid by doing things like spending every dollar they make. It’s craziness, but a great reminder that living within your means, improves your overall quality of life. Life is good, because I have chosen to make it that way.