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Monday, April 19, 2010

No Shame in My Financial Status



There. I think the title says it all.
It is pretty apparent that I do not hide my financial circumstances; I make it clear to any readers of this blog the extremes to which I am willing to go to save money, because circumstances require it.
You might assume that I am upfront about my monetary situation on my blog because my blog is anonymous, but that is not so. Many of my readers do know me in person; I spread the word about my blog to friends, family, and to new and old acquaintances. Meet me in person, and within a few minutes, I'll be telling you "Hi, I'm Penny. I'm the writer over at PennilessParenting.com." Clearly, I have no qualms with anyone and everyone knowing that I, Penny, do not have a cent to my name.

Most other people I meet who have a hard time making ends meet try to keep mum about this fact. Why do I not care that people know that I am "living below the poverty line", yet others would be mortified should anyone find out?

The answer lies in the title of this post. I have no shame in my bank status. In fact, I am proud of my accomplishments of overcoming adversity and testing myself, untangling myself and family from this sticky web of materialism which pervades modern society.

Shame? That is for when you've done wrong. Continual faulty judgement resulting in poor choices require owning up to the consequences. Shame is a by product of that guilt. Only when wrong doings were done does guilt come to fruition.
Or at least that's how it should be, according to my line of thinking.

If I were in a difficult monetary situation because neither my husband nor I worked, as we found work to be beneath our dignity, that surely is shameful.
If I spent recklessly and did not live within my means; I'd be embarrassed when I couldn't make it on a sizable salary.
If I or my husband gambled away hard earned money, I'd definitely keep mum when the bank was empty.

However, the reason we're struggling financially is because of more innocuous reasons. In our current location, a large chunk of the population lives beneath the poverty line. Circumstances and minutiae that I do not care to discuss on my blog make surviving, even on two incomes pretty difficult. Housing prices are outrageous; you can work 50-60 hour weeks (as my husband often does) and still just barely scrape by. (Moving away would only become financially possible once our financial situation improved tremendously, at which point, such a move would be counterintuitive.)
We have little money because thus was ordained Above.
We are in tune with our fiscal flow and spend accordingly.
We reduce, reuse, recycle. We also use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.
We both work hard; no job is beneath our dignity. Providing for your family is honorable, no matter the job description.
We prioritize and spend first on needs, and only after that, spend a little bit on wants.

You know, I see no reason to be ashamed. Why should I be?
If you're also in a tough financial situation, do you keep mum, or let people know?

(To be perfectly upfront, what prompted this post was that a few weeks ago, we were really struggling because of some  unavoidable, really large expenses that cropped up. A person in my community runs a charity and helped us out, and I was giving myself a pep talk, that I have no reason to be ashamed.
Usually, I am fine mentioning that I have no money, but needing to receive charity from an organization was a bit hard emotionally, I will admit. It is something I need to work on, because the One who decided to make me have a rough time financially also decided that I'd be on the receiving end this year. By swallowing my pride, I was able to get the help I needed to provide for my family, and also let the giver have the merit of  that good deed.
That's it! No more religion/faith talk. I try to keep religion off this blog, but its hard to do so in posts like this.)

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