Thursday, November 4, 2010

Money I of III: Eight years on a grad-student stipend

I am tired of being poor.

If I wasn't poor, when my friends said, "You should come to Brazil," or Costa Rica, or Italy, I could say, "Yes." Not, "The only reason I can afford to go home for Christmas is because the plane ticket is my parents' Christmas gift to me."

If I wasn't poor, I wouldn't feel guilty because I could only afford to buy eggs laid by hens raised in cages under inhumane conditions. I could buy the Dagoba cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate for these cupcakes I'm making instead of getting the Kroger cocoa and wishing there was a house brand for the unsweetened chocolate instead of just Baker's.

If I wasn't poor, I could say, "I'm excited about trailbuilding this weekend, because I'll have fun with my friends while doing good," and not add, "And get fed for free."

If I wasn't poor, when I complained about my finances I would feel guilty for being okay in this recession, instead of feeling guilty because I have friends making the same money as me and supporting dependents.

If I wasn't poor, I'd have a savings account, not nearly five digits of credit card debt.

If I wasn't poor, I'd buy a pair of black pants that fit me. I wouldn't wonder if a slip and tights are actually in my clothing budget.

If I wasn't poor, using up my prescription benefit before the end of the year wouldn't send me into a panic.

If I wasn't poor, I wouldn't have to budget to afford that new $150 part for my car. Instead, I would get a new clutch when they tell me to.

If I wasn't poor, unexpectedly going out to dinner with friends wouldn't blow my budget; I would actually have a budget to blow.

If I wasn't poor, "sprucing up my apartment" would mean "replacing my decade-old sheets" instead of "taking out the recycling."

If I wasn't poor, when I went into campus to work, I wouldn't think, "Well, I'm spending money on gas, but I'll run my laptop with free electricity once I'm there."

If I wasn't poor, I wouldn't wonder if I can afford to do what I want with my life.

No comments: