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.