anxiety · Bipolar Disorder · mental health

You Don’t Have Any Money

I hate it when someone tells me they “don’t have any money.” My friends that live in expensive houses and drive expensive cars tell me this all the time. And I am guilty of telling my kids that in the past.  But I have stopped saying this. These people have money and have probably have no idea what it is like to not have any money. You see, I don’t work and I am on disability. My husband mostly supports us. My husband saved me, because I literally know what it is like to have no money. I didn’t live paycheck to paycheck. I didn’t have a paycheck. I barely lived. To qualify for disability you couldn’t make more than $900 a month. If you made more than that, you were not sick enough not to work.  I tried to work after my divorce. I worked full time for 2 years and then in year 3 my depression and anxiety started getting worse and I only worked 32 hours and FMLA covered the other 8 hours, unpaid.  This was the only way I could hold on to my health insurance. By 2013, I continued to go downhill and in March, I applied for disability. I had to drop to 24 hours and FMLA temporarily covered the rest. In June, my FMLA ran out. I had to quit my job. I lost the life as I had known it. I cashed out my 401k and gave it to my parents to save for me. My parents, knowing the situation, paid for my expensive COBRA  insurance. I was receiving child support and enough food stamps to feed me and my girls for a month. My parents also sent me a Walmart gift card to cover anything that food stamps didn’t like shampoo and toilet paper. After applying my child support toward my rent and utilities, I was left me with approximately $650 to take out of my savings. I had a friend live with me for 3 months so she was to pay for half my rent and utilities. She only paid for 2 months. By September, I had no more money left in my savings. I didn’t spend it on anything other than keeping my family afloat. I was terrified. I knew that a lot of people with my disorder had to suck it up and move in with family to take care of them. That would kill me. If I moved in with my parents, it meant moving my life to Kansas City and leaving my children with their Dad in Springfield. Nothing would destroy me faster than being away from my kids. I remember the day my dad called me. He knew how much money I didn’t have. He asked me if I had a plan. With a nauseous stomach, I asked if they would be willing to cancel my insurance and pay for my rent instead. My dad said that he and my mom actually never thought of that option. They discussed it and decided they would do that. I would get a check for rent, the Walmart gift card, and that was it. I had my medication changed to $4 generics at Walmart and what couldn’t be changed my doctor gave me samples for. I did get a part time working 8-10 hours a week making minimum wage. I met my husband, Brian that next month. I tease him all the time because he asked me to go watch him play pool the day we met and wanted to know if I wanted to eat at Qdoba. I told him I didn’t have any money and he said, “That’s okay, you can eat some of mine!” We actually still share to this day! I paid for my kids Christmas that year with the gift card that my mom gave me every month. We were so grateful to Brian because he would treat us to dinners out and movies. He worked at Sam’s Club for 13 years at that time and he didn’t make a ton, but he made enough. Then my world changed. We had been talking about places to live together. He decided he was going to buy a house. The market was good and he had never owned before. We found the cutest house in an amazing neighborhood and he bought it!! He said it was my birthday present. 8 days before my birthday, he proposed. We moved into our new house at the end of February, 2014. My parents were off the hook for my rent but continued to send me the Walmart gift card. I updated my information with the state for my food stamps, but through some error of theirs, I still qualified. Things were tight, but manageable. I had to quit my part time job in May because it was too stressful. Then in August, I was awarded full disability. I will be on disability for 2 years this coming August. After my brother in law questioned if we could afford another dog this past summer, I have learned to rephrase how I say I can’t afford something. I say, “I don’t have the money for that, at this time.” Not,”I don’t have any money.” See, by saying that I didn’t have any money, my brother in law (although none of his business) was lead to believe that we actually didn’t have any money. The truth is we have plenty of money to live on, but it is budgeted. We’ve already spent it on paper. So, that phrasing doesn’t bother me. It’s my friends in their $250,000-million dollar homes, driving their $50,000 cars, drinking their Starbucks everyday, and eating out every night. Then, I ask if they want to go shopping and they say, “I’m sorry, I can’t. I don’t have any money.” What a crock. Until you have lived in fear of losing your children and having to move back home with family or something worse than that, don’t you ever tell me that you “don’t have any money.”

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2 thoughts on “You Don’t Have Any Money

  1. I know that my wife and I can be guilty of doing exactly what you say here. We’ve started trying to change how we phrase our issues by saying, “We don’t have money for that.” While we are far better off than many people, we have made enough money mistakes in the past (and probably will continue to do so from time to time) that while we can afford to live well we have to budget very tightly to have any extras. Now there are times when we may have money, but we don’t have money for “that.”

    We’ve come a long way from losing a house, walking to work in the rain because we can’t fix our car, living apart to save money, and living in a friend’s basement. We still have a long way to go to reach total financial freedom, but we are eating that elephant one bite at a time. So while we may not have money for “this,” or “that,” or we many not have money “for that right now.” We do have money, and with careful planning we may one day have money to “do that” and more!”

    Liked by 1 person

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