Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AMM - Automatically MY (damn) Money

Remember the line in So.ul Fo.od when Terry said that whenever the family needed money they thought of her as an ATM -- automatically Terry's money? I know what she means.

There's an article in the May Es.se.nce entitled Giving Till It Hurts and it talks about the fact that Black women stop themselves from living their dreams because they lend money to others before taking care of themselves.

Let's clarify one thing: I don't generally lend because I know the chances of being paid back are slim to none. I consider what I give a gift ... which means if I don't get it back, I won't be hurting. Let's clarify another thing: Just because I won't be hurting doesn't mean that you can count on me to support you. While we're at it, let's just clarify one more little thing: If I didn't give birth to you, it's not my responsibility to financially support you. And even if I did give birth to you, if you have a job ... I have limits. (Note: The Prince paid me back for the movies on Saturday) :)

When I was broke back in the day, I was too embarrassed to ask friends or family for money. I just couldn't do it. I found a way to make what I had work. I made sure the rent and the car note were paid first. I didn't have cable, I drove an old hooptie, I used coupons when I went grocery shopping, etc. Heck, I have no fashion sense now because I never had any money to shop, but instead of saying "I'm broke", I would say, "I don't like to shop". Which is actually true now.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah ...

When I got past broke and had a little something I didn't mind helping someone out every now and then. But when every now and then turned into a more frequent occurence I had to put the brakes on that thing. At first, it just felt good to be able to help. I considered myself blessed to have it to give. Then it began to feel like they expected it. Then I kind of felt obligated. Then if I wanted to say no, I felt guilty. Finally, someone very close to me said, "I will not feel guilty because I have a savings account and they don't." I know that's right. We're all working and ain't nobody rollin' like that.

It's only April and I have reached my quota for financial "gifts" for the year. The article in the magazine suggests having a "gift" line item in the budget and when it's done, it's done. I need to do that because right now, I stop when I get pissed. It shouldn't have to be that way. It's just frustrating. Basically, because what I have put away is not (or shouldn't be) at the disposal of family and friends who refuse to plan.

I'm done.

5 comments:

lyre said...

Girl I need this. Things are taking off for me and I see myself bing able to save...if i learn to say, "I'm sorry i dont have any to give."

Blah Blah Blah said...

no one ever ask me for money...dunno why.
Maybe it's because I always say I have none *wink*

My daddy taught me never to ask for money...good or bad, it is what it is...
...but he did say, you tell people what you need and it's up to them if they want to give. More often than not...men give pretty freely. At least that's what I have experienced. Especially east coast men.

Aunt Jackie said...

that article was the best damn thing Essence has published in a long long time. I swear i'm gonna buy a few copies and send it out to folks whom I think could stand a little reminding that God Bless the Child who has his own.

Now I'm guilty of having parents who still give quite freely but within reason and trust me they aren't letting anyone mess up their retirement plan..mean while I'm trying to build one!!

TJ said...

I used to be the ATM - Automatically TJ's Money, but around the time I turned 29 or so, I just snapped. I always made sure to give as opposed to borrowing (what do I look like trying to make my ends meet on other folk empty promises), but around that time I just was like, "I'm a grownup, I need you, you and you (and you too) to handle y'alls bills like grownups too."

Blu Jewel said...

I completely agree with the article and with all the comments here. I've given to the point of no return and put myself in a bind. And then it hurt like hell when I had to break down and ask someone else for help. Ugh! We all need to do what we have to do and learn to say "no" and mean it.

Love!