A friend recently lost her job. Not her fault, just one of those downsizing things. She had some hints that it was coming, but I don’t think she had accepted it, so hadn’t done much in terms of looking for new work until after the layoff happened. That was back in July. She’s been looking and she’s had some pretty promising interviews, but nothing yet.
What’s driving me nuts is her complete inability to stop spending.
I try to not be judgmental about what people spend their money on. It’s your money. Do with it what you want. But I personally think you should pay your bills and buy necessities first, then do whatever you want with your disposable income. We all have different interests, so if I want to spend my money on running races and you want to spend your money on a sweet new computer, that’s fine. But note that I said disposable income.
My friend has been spending money like crazy. She’s taken a couple of not inexpensive trips, trips that weren’t planned prior to her layoff. And I know she doesn’t have money. She’s not sure how she’s going to keep paying her mortgage. I’m assuming she’s putting all the trips on her credit card, which is not exactly a responsible way to go about things. She split a hotel room with me and another friend a few weeks back, when we ran a race together. She has made no indication that she plans to repay me. It’s not about the money – it was one night in a hotel room and the other friend, when finding out the situation, offered to split the cost with me without telling unemployed friend. And honestly, I budget such that I can take the loss and chalk it up to a learning experience. But it’s the principle behind it. She doesn’t care enough to pay me back? And yet she can go spending all this money elsewhere?
I think she knows we’re frustrated. She didn’t tell most of us she was taking this last trip until we saw the pictures online. And we know what it cost her. A quick calculation tells me that it was easily $600, probably more. And this wasn’t her first trip during unemployment!
I try to not judge. I really do. But it’s hard to watch her drive herself further and further into financial trouble. And it’s frustrating to listen to her complain when I can see very clear ways she could improve her situation.
But at this point, it’s wait and see.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.