Thursday, September 10, 2009

Should People Speak Openly About Budget and Finances

Well, technically I am low class. There is no way in this country that we would constitute middle class. Even calculating the tax rebate into our income, we are still way below the poverty line.
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I've opened myself up a lot in this blog, and to be honest, I'm really enjoying the challenge. I'm getting a lot of positive feedback, and some negative, along with tough questions. I like that, and I hope it keeps coming. But is it low class, what I do, exposing all of my figures, from my midwife's rate, to tax rebates, to the cost of my flour?
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My Grammy, who is upper middle class and lives on Cape Cod (the arm of Massachusetts), gave my mother a gift one memorable Christmas. As my mother was opening it, Grammy said, "I was going to throw that away, but I thought of you." The gift had no monetary value to Grammy and she admitted it. She has been teased relentlessly about it since, but my mother loved the gift.
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My aunt and uncle come to visit from England every summer, yard sale season. They found this Thomas the Tank Engine for $3. They said it was a risk getting it, but it is hands down, my son's favorite toy.
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I will never stop bragging about my free wedding dress, hanging proudly on my entry wall.
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We all love to brag about our good finds at yard sales, but I also love to brag about my low car insurance rate. Why? Because I have worked to get it. I shopped around, I kept my record clean and I found a deal. If I didn't think I handled money well, this would be a horrible premise for a blog.
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I'm also passionate about money, not the actual dollar bills, but the concepts, hopes and dreams behind them. I come from a wealthy family and learned early and often that money does not satisfy. Yet, for some reason, the very people I learned this from thought that if they just got more, it would. Most people have not had the opportunity to witness this first hand as deeply as I have. So, if you take my word for it, I can save you a lot of grief. You probably don't need more than you have.
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Even though you may think finances is a dorky passion, it is mine. (I also love art, and frequently combine the two.) Regardless of what the standard etiquette is, there is no way that openly pursuing your passions could ever be considered low class, not in my mind.

14 comments:

Nest said...

I believe that it's one thing for you to choose to live this way, but it's another for you to choose to have children live this way. Yes, I agree that children are materialistic... but I also know that children are cruel and you will be subjecting your children to that cruelty at school. The result may be that your children grow up so desperate for money that they will do whatever it takes, regardless of legality or morality, to get it.

autumn said...

I just wanted to tell you that I really like this blog. We have five children and have always lived below the poverty line...they are not made fun of or desperate for money. We always tell them we chose a large family over money...not that large families can't have money!! The kids dress nice...from yard sales, have tons of toys...from yard sales, a housefull of books,games,and art supplies. My oldest is in 6th grade and you wouldn't know that he is from a "poor" family if you lined them up!!

Caroline said...

I don't think it's low class. I think it might make others a little uncomfortable at a dinner party if you go into numbers, but for something like this blog, where the readers seek out this sort of information, I think it's perfectly acceptable. I think your children will benefit from such frank discussion about money.

scrappy quilter said...

I've never been fond of the words Low class, middle class or upper class. We live below the poverty line and have for years. Our kids are well adjusted, are wise with their money and have never gone without. Do they have all the materialist things some say we should have...no they don't. Do we, no we don't. Our family is content.

Now as to what you write on your blog...it's your blog. There is a badge out there somewhere (I've seen it on a number of blogs) that says "blogging without obligation". If others don't like your blog they don't need to read it. They can go elsewhere to read blogs they enjoy. I for one enjoy your blog and what you are doing. I think they just might be a tad bit jealous of how well you do!!

Emily said...

gddyupchrs, on the $500 per month, my husband will probably have to work a second job with his pastorate for a while, but owning our own home, having solar energy and heat, growing veggies and having animals are all ways that we will become more sustainable. These are all investments at first, but ones that will pay for themsleves and lower our cost of living once paid for.

"A diet that consists mostly of processed foods." I make everything from scratch, and have run out of mac and cheese, so I won't even be making it from a box anymore either, just as I said in the post about it. Yes, we admit to having processed meats, but its not like we live off of hot dogs.

As far as the neighborhood, there has been one shooting in the year that we've lived here, so I don't consider it that bad. Maybe some would. There was a shooting in the area where we lived before. I admit that I don't want my kids hanging out with the other kids in the neighborhood, but we are close to a nice park and the ocean, which we go to a lot.

If my husband got a second job, it would make our lives worse. I wrote a whole post about that, too. He works and goes to school. It already feels like we don't see him enough. Our time with him is worth more than the money he could bring us. I'm surprised at how many people don't get this.

As far as "do more", I don't think my worth is determined by how much money I give. It is how I spend my time, church involvement, and how I invest in my kids that will make a lasting difference. I started this blog to share my ideas, no matter how weird others may find some of them. Some people will gain from what I am doing. Some will not.

Heather~~~~~~~~~~~~ said...

Thank you for sharing! :)

Sarah Jessica said...

Normal people don't talk about money.

Normal people are broke, however, living paycheck to paycheck without a plan, in over their heads on car loans, in houses that are too big and that you can't afford, and the whole nine yards.

Forget normal.

Carry on!

stolenhalo1776 said...

But don't you expect to someday overcome this poverty? Isn't that why your husband is going to school, to at least somehow advance himself in life?

Emily said...

stolenhalo, no. My husband's position will probaby change when he no longer is in school and has more flexible hours. We will probably move, depending on the open prospects at the time. He can get a better job, and we will have more tax money cuz we won't spend it on his schooling. But our goals are not money. He is going to school for a pastorate, and most pastorates in the area we want to go to are not paying much. We are quite content with our life as it is, and I don't think that more money coud make us happier.

The Martins said...

You are a breath of fresh air!!I am so happy I found your blog-Berean Wife recommended it!!Mothers that stay home should be commended for their galant efforts!!You are on the front lines and God Bless you and your family!!

Debtfreemommy said...

The problem with this country is that people have been too busy talking about everything they "own" for the past decades. The problem is these people are in debt and ruining the country. I talk bluntly about money. If you compliment me on something I will tell you I bought it for .50 at goodwill. I tell you this to educate you so you will stop spending 20.00 on the same necklace at Target. Im glad you are putting your family first!

Anonymous said...

But if people have the money to spend $20 on a necklace at Target, it's their money and I don't understand why those of you that are thrifty AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME everyone that likes to spend money is in Debt, etc. I get tired of some of you talking down to those who do spend THEIR OWN MONEY.

Emily said...

Anon, I know that there are people who can afford a more affluent lifestyle than I do without debt. But we all know so many who can't afford affluence and chase after it anyway. I think that is mostly what we are talking about here.

Anonymous said...

Interesting again. I grew up a lot poorer than (it sounds like) you did and now live well above the poverty line as a young, thrifty single person with a good job. I find myself constantly fighting the urge to brag about all my thrifty finds and small financial victories. I will pretty much lay out my financials to anyone who asks because I feel that transparency promotes awareness and because I just don't sense the taboo others seem to. What I do sense is that talking openly about money is considered "low class" though, in the etiquette sense you mention. I understand that asking someone about their finances can be considered rude but I hate that I feel ashamed for wanting to share my strategies and victories.

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