Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Getting Out of Debt For Good: This Little Piggy Had None
Once upon a time I knew a family who worked at two jobs and lived in the worst possible conditions at all times. They hadn't a decent stick of furniture and what they did have that might have been decent was so ill treated and so abused that it soon fell to pieces. The house was poorly kept. Food upon their table was a strictly feast and famine sort of thing. When they had grocery they ate every last bite, never bothering to stretch to cover more than one meal, were very casual about putting away any leftovers, and were wasteful as could be. The adults never instructed by example and lacked the discipline to set rules. There was no stocked pantry in their home nor even a full cupboard. Most meals were planned daily a half hour or so before one would normally eat. If meals weren't forthcoming from their own resources they went off to visit friends and hung around waiting for a meal to appear. I soon learned that once fed a meal, they saw no point in going home at all and hung around hopefully waiting upon the next one!
There was no regular bedtime and no regular meal time and no regular routine of any sort. Their home was seldom clean and it wasn't uncommon for Mama Pig to show up on a friend's doorstep complaining that the children hadn't done chores, so she'd left home without doing her chores or making supper to punish them. She would stare blearily at you mid morning and say she'd been up doing laundry until wee hours of night because it was discovered around midnight that no one had clean undies or jeans to wear the next day.
No one bothered to keep check of the budget, they spent until the last dime was gone each pay period and then they suffered and complained and sobbed and wailed until someone took pity on them. Only to complain and sob and wail that they didn't LIKE that item or this!
Each pay period before bills were paid or groceries bought, they promptly went off and offered two thirds of their cash to a local merchant in exchange for a few more pieces of battered furniture or a car that had mechanical troubles galore and needed a new battery and tires as well.
If an extra paycheck or windfall came their way, they took off to go spend a weekend in the mountains or at the beach, took the kids to horseback riding lessons, bought rather than rented a band instrument, or shopped for new clothes for the whole family and never set aside a dime for future needs. Things like school supplies were expected to magically appear at the beginning of the school year and if they had to purchase them on their own, they wailed and gnashed their teeth and bought a bare minimum of each required item and groused when it was used up and had to be replaced.
I was well acquainted with this family. My own family and I were struggling along at the time so I tried to lead by example, I tried to instruct, I tried to help, but alas these Piggies were pretty much entrenched in having NONE and meant to stay there. Last I heard they'd bought their own place and in 5 years time it was falling down around their ears for lack of routine care.
Even now, some 30 years later, I shake my head remembering how very foolish they were. These little piggies perpetually had NONE. And it was all their own fault! They had better income, far better opportunities job-wise and were not lacking in intelligence. These None pigs had no desire to live differently than they did. They were forever waiting on a lottery win or an unknown wealthy uncle to toss them a pile of money. However, that wouldn't likely change their lives much because they refused to learn the basic skills of money management. They absolutely refused to believe it wasn't a matter for luck alone. What's more, they had no respect for money, things, or others. They were and are still much upon my mind when I feel too inclined to complain of any lack in my life.
And I suppose on that score I should congratulate myself that I knew them. Because of their example I've been far more prone to look about and see what I might do differently. Which just goes to show, even a bad example is still an example.