Virtual begging

How have we gotten to the point that people are begging online? Instead of standing on the street corner, they put their hand out on social media. I’ve seen this more and more in the past year, to where it is becoming normal.

I doubt that they think of it as begging, but how can it be anything but? It is more sanitized this way, but the effect is the same. They want others to pay their bills for them. Their idea of financial planning is to tap into someone else’s financial plan. They ask to use other people’s savings, rather than saving up anything themselves.

Perhaps you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about? It is when people open up a Go Fund Me or a Kickstarter account, asking friends for money for things that they need, such as unexpected burial expenses or medical treatment for an accident or a chronic condition. Another one I saw was a plea to help a lady buy lapidary equipment so that she can expand her business. The further heart-string pull is that she is homeschooling her special needs child.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all quit our jobs and do whatever we wanted, not worrying about our futures? We’d never have to deny ourselves anything, because we could buy whatever we wanted and not have to save. We’d never have to work at a low-paying job and feel chained to it because it provides health insurance. Then, when the inevitable happens, we can just go begging online.

How have we gotten to this point? Why aren’t people saving money? Why aren’t they thinking ahead? How did they pay their bills before these online begging options arrived?

I remember that it was once considered shameful to beg. Is that over now?

Money, cash, and addiction

I’m really getting into this idea of saving money by using cash. It has only been two weeks into this experiment and the results are pretty amazing.

Before, I’d really get a rise out of spending money. Now I’m getting excited about not spending it.

When I first started I felt like I should carry my whole week’s allowance with me. I thought I might need money on hand, more than I normally did. You know, just in case I had to buy something. Like there would be a random need to buy, like an itch that needed to be scratched.

It is weird. I realize now that money was like a drug for me. I got a high out of using it. I started to get nervous if I didn’t have enough on me.

Now, I hadn’t gone totally cash free in all these years. I normally carried some cash on me even when I used credit cards all the time. It made me feel better to have it. Every now and then the credit card machine wasn’t working. Some places don’t take cards at all. Sometimes it was faster to pay in cash. Sometimes there would be a collection being taken up at work for a gift for a coworker who was leaving or having a baby or both. It is better to tip in cash.

I was always grateful to have it when I needed it. I just didn’t get that I’d be better off using it.

Now I carry a credit card as the backup instead of the default. I’m not quite comfortable going without it yet. Last week I needed it because I went to the dentist for a filling. I’d forgotten that dental insurance isn’t like medical insurance. The bill I got upon leaving was a lot bigger than my usual twenty dollar co-pay. Even with that, I still spent less than I had been spending when I used the credit card all the time.

I don’t know how I’ve been doing it. For the past few years I was spending $300 to $500 a week on my credit card. I paid it off every week. This is a lot of money, especially for a government employee. We get paid in benefits, not in actual money. I didn’t get toys. I bought things that were needed, or so I thought.

The first week I pulled out $300 in cash. I overspent by $40 because of the dentist. So still, pretty good. Far better than $500. This week I pulled out $200 and I’ve only spent half of that. This includes buying groceries. A lot of my money was going to eating out. Now that I’m cooking fresh food I’m not only eating better I’m saving money.

I’d not planned on this additional part to my New Year’s resolution, but I’ll take it.