Black folks and our money

I know I have a fair amount of readers who are not Black, so if you want, you can feel free to come back another day since this post is for Black folks. Of course I would love to have you stay but I understand if you want to leave. 🙂

Nope, this is for us. Regular readers know I have come public about my money woes…much like any addiction, I believe truth is necessary in overcoming a problem and no longer can I sit and pretend I don’t have money issues. The truth is while money is tight now, the reality is if 10 years ago I had been wiser with my money choices I might merely be broke at present rather than trying to dig myself out of debt. I estimate that if in the years when the Spousal Unit and I were earning good money rather than availing myself of fly hair do’s and the hottest leather jacket or whatever the hell I fucked my money away on, I could have easily saved over $100,000 in cash. Yep, easily could have saved at least $100,000.

But the truth is I didn’t and now I am paying the price. It’s funny because while there are a lot of Black bloggers out there, there are very few of us who are talking money on a deep level. Hell, reading Black publications such as Essence, it would seem most of us who still have good jobs are merrily going about our way, not really thinking about our financial future. Yeah, many of ya’ll have a 401K plan courtesy of your J-O-B. But really how are you living? If shit hit the fan do you have any real money put away? Do you have six months of living expenses saved up for a rainy day? If shit hit the fan and the Glen Beck-bots go crazy, can you survive? Can you cook? Do you even have food in the fridge or is your idea of eating in involve making a phone call and waiting for somebody to bring you a meal?

It’s funny because I read a lot of white blogs and can I just say white folks, sane middle class college educated liberal white folks are working on learning handi-skills like cooking and sewing…can you do that? Or do you think that is some old domestic shit our Grannies did that we no longer need to concern ourselves with?

I have been reading this blog Wildflowersbloom, and let me say this sista has a lot to say, in fact she is the inspiration for this post. I was thinking about her blog today. See, it was my payday and like many of us on payday I think nothing of treating myself. Now I admit, I no longer head to the mall on payday since those days are long gone but I almost went and got a drink at Starbucks…after all don’t I deserve it? Hell, I been working hard, what is $4.30? Well after thinking about it that is $4.30 that can go on something far more valuable than the 10 minutes of satisfaction I would get from that drink. Instead since I am working from home today, I went in the kitchen made myself a cup of chai and whipped up some muffins with all the lovely baking supplies I bought the other day. The total time spent making the chai and muffins was 25 minutes tops and the calories satisfaction was nice too since my homemade chai and muffin was fewer calories than that venti espresso truffle I had planned on getting.

Now I know some of ya’ll are laughing thinking damn that is one cheap ass sista, glad I don’t have to live like that. Funny thing is even 5 years ago, I would have thought the same thing but we are living in different times and the comfy life you enjoy today unless maybe you come from some steady stable old money (how many of us come from that kind of money? In that case you probably wouldn’t even be reading me) your financial tide could change on a dime.

Look, I am not saying live a life of deprivation but too many of us only focus on the short-term, looking good today, feeling good today and in the end those things we blow our cash on have no value at all. So think before you spend and if you have no handy skills like cooking…do me a favor and give it a try. Once upon a time I didn’t know how to cook either, now I prefer my own cooking in most cases.

Have a great weekend!

13 thoughts on “Black folks and our money”

  1. @wildflowermeadow: “I think an abundance mentality has little to do with watching your money and saving instead of spending on stuff and upgrades that don’t really improve your quality of life the same as being debt free or having tens of thousands of dollars in the bank would.”

    You’ll get no argument from me: every man or woman according to his or her own light.

    Yet, I’ll add this: Your abundance would be equally assured, if you give from your meager storehouse, as often as possible, especially if you don’t give in order to get, but for the simple joy of giving.

  2. I don’t think people should chose a spartan existence. It is about figuring out what really makes you happy and plugging those money holes on things you really don’t need.

    Real cream makes me happy. I can do without a Starbucks coffee and buy great coffee myself. I can be just as happy with a cup of my own brewed coffee (with real cream, real vanilla, and real sugar) as I am with buying it out. I do buy to go cups so I can drink it on the run and still save money.

    Free time makes a lot of people happy rather than working to pay credit card bills they can’t even figure out how they got so high.

    I think an abundance mentality has little to do with watching your money and saving instead of spending on stuff and upgrades that don’t really improve your quality of life the same as being debt free or having tens of thousands of dollars in the bank would.

  3. It’s times like these I’m glad I was born poor. Not so poor that I was destitute, mind you, but only so poor that I had the things I needed and learned to budgeted for the rest.

    I don’t think I have ever been hungry a day in my life, but I never got unhealthy off of fast food consumption. Going to the Mall was a treat ( it was soooooooo preeeeeeetttttyyyy). Went to private schools my whole life too.

    My resolve, once I graduate and get a job, is to live off of half of what I make. I hear southeast Asians save 1/3 of all they make. I am currently studying Accounting and Finance, it pisses me off that ppl knew what was going on, and I didn’t ( LOL). No really, I must always be ahead of the game.

  4. Good discussion. I’m not advocating that folks spend money they don’t have (abuse of credit), nor buy things they don’t need (addiction to material goods).

    What I am advocating is a mind set. Frugal thinking will lead to a frugal existence, and a restrictive life style. To spend frugally, or act frugally, not so much, if it’s done out of a consciousness of abundance.

    There’s a difference. And from my perspective a huge one.

    And I agree with wildflower, “Gratitude is what should be foremost.” It’s an act of acceptance even when the thing desired doesn’t seem to be present.

    Lest we forget, living frugally doesn’t necessary insure against financial woe, and deprivation.

    Material things may come and go, but if your consciousness is filled with abundance, those things that truly fulfill your life won’t be absent for very long.

    I agree with most of what has been said here, but stand four square behind my statement:

    “You can still be a good steward, without resorting to a Spartan existence.”

    Stewardship of one’s thoughts is just as important as the stewardship of one’s acts.

  5. Lightworker, I think there is some truth in what you are saying but I think it needs to be balanced with some good financial sense. I grew up with parents who believed a lot of what you are saying…end result in many cases they were loaded with debt and never enough money. My Pops is almost 60 and still struggling financially because he thinks things will just happen if he visualizes it.

    For years I never thought long term about money and the consequences of my actions and the result has been debt.

    I think when it comes to money the key is figuring out why we seem so much happier when we are consuming? I don’t think frugal living necessarily has to mean lack or deprivation. I follow a few bloggers who are heavy on frugality, and with several of them I can’t say their lives seem to lack. If one can live a financially frugal life yet create more time to spend with loved ones and less time working yet have enough financial resources that strikes me as a good balance.

    Personally while I enjoy things, I am at a stage in life where my bills paid and a little extra is worth the short term pain. I choose to do work that does not pay a great deal (non-profit sector) yet creates a lifestyle (great flexibility, a perk with kids) so I have to look at the overall picture.

    Lynn, you have posted before…I am trying to recall if we have met since its clear you know who I am but I only know of one Lynn in the area that comes to mind. Yes, local stores like Marden and Reny’s are good for saving money and I do indeed use them.

    Kia, I may have missed your email…sorry about that. I am glad to hear though you are reexamining your relationship to money. I wish I had done this when my son was younger rather than now since he is almost 18. Some of my bad ways with money seemed to have rubbed off on him.

    Wildflower, I like what you said and having written specifically for a Black audience (I know how we are) it reminds me of why I wrote this. We (general we) spend today and never think about tomorrow. Yet in financial downturns we are some of the hardest hit, we have to make changes. Sadly your Mom sounds a lot like my Dad and even my Mom before her death.

  6. I feel like I’m the odd man out. There’s much on this topic I’d like to discuss, but, alas, I would be taken for a fool or an arrogant bastard.

    I’m probably a little of both, but here goes: to assure an amplitude of wealth and abundance, you
    have only to acquire the consciousness of it.

    Don’t spend time thinking, feeling, or entertaining lack of any kind. Be frugal if you must, for the short term, to build up your confidence in abundance, but frugality as a way of life will bring you a ‘frugal life,’ not a life of abundance.

    This is neither foolishness nor arrogance: It’s just the way things work, the way things are.

    You can still be a good steward, without resorting to a Spartan existence.

    As many times a day as you can muster, feel your abundance, experience your abundance, until it becomes a way of life.

    You are what you think you are: You’re living in a mental universe, it’s not as physical as you think.

    Try it: What do you have to lose? Except perhaps lack, loss, and going without.

    • My mother is into that thinking, the positive thinking, abundance mojo.

      I don’t think anybody should dwell on any lack. Gratitude is what should be foremost.

      But in my mother’s case, that mentality translated into spending money she didn’t have–’cause she knew the universe would cover the bills. She thought all she had to do was believe it and the law of attraction would provide.

      It didn’t work. She can’t even open a checking account today. She has a lot of stuff, every closet in the house is filled with clothes, every nook and cranny with things. It’s all crap even she seems to no longer value.

      Are the shiny baubles we want at the moment worth sacrificing our freedom for in terms of debt or trying to pay bills or being enslaved to our job?

      That’s the question.

  7. We know each other from another message board, I found your blog quite by accident a couple of weeks ago and emailed you. If you didn’t get it, I obviously hope you are well!

    As for the topic at hand you are preaching to the choir. My paternal grandfather (who is still saving his pennies for retirement @ almost 80!) has a motto I learned from the cradle “you can call me cheap because you’ll never call me broke !”

    I haven’t always lived by those words but for me the wake up call was having children and realizing that if I didn’t keep my house in order, I wasn’t just taking myself down a perilous road.

    Here in Atlanta I see a lot of ostentatious living from the young, black & fabulous set. Not as much as I used to but The Real Housewives have a lot of company on the bank foreclosure line.

    Lastly, my brief forays into on line survivalist communities garnered the same results as yours. I don’t know what my inter racial family will do when the race wars starts : )

  8. Oh, my dear, if you want to learn to live frugally, you have come to the right state. We are pros here from way back. I know in your job you deal with urban people (yes, your “small” city is considered urban here) who struggle to manage, but maybe you don’t get to interact with us people who succeed in just managing.

    I guess we take it for granted that’s just what you have to do and rural Maine is the motherlode for survival skills/attitude although we don’t call it that. I guess we’d call it getting by, but really we don’t talk about it that much, we just do it. And I’ve learned so much from the older people over the years just by watching what they do.

    Which brings me to the pertinent seasonal question: good for you for starting to make the small changes in spending, it’s not easy, but how’s weatherising your house going?

    Don’t want to stress you out with more stuff to do, but maybe you can take some of the cash you’re beginning to save over to one of those great Maine institutions, Renys or Mardens (although they’re both getting a bit on the upmarket side these days), and pick up some window shrinkwrap, caulk, and weatherstripping .

    It’s what’s going on at my little apartment (basically an oversized sieve) this weekend. It’s what we do for fun in Maine. And good for you if you’re already doing it.

  9. Thanks so much for the shout out!

    It was so discouraging when I was trying to deal with the survivalists, most of whom are racist against blacks as hell.

    Having some warm, wonderful women visit is a breath of fresh air, truly y’all are my sisters.

    • I have tried to check out the survivalist blogs and honestly the tone was just too much for me. I never seen any direct racism (didn’t engage em) but the undertone was there in almost every blog I visited. I do wish though that more of us thought about these issues instead of merrily assuming that our jobs will always exist or that we will have the ability to get a job.

      Your blog is a breath of fresh air.

  10. Wildflower’s blog has been like a divine gift sent to me. It’s practical, non-alarmist–just no bs approach to things. Even if the **** never does hit the fan, it’s great advice and ideas about getting your finances secure. Because of that blog, I’ve committed to saving $10K for each person in my family and though I’m very frugal, I’ve taken a second look and already figured out two slow money leaks that over the course of a year, equal a couple of thousand dollars.

    Great post.

    Did those muffins happen to be banana chocolate??

    • Yep, I got lazy and didn’t make them other night so they were the ones I made today. 😉 Banana chocolate chip muffins are the bomb as the young folks used to say.

      I agree her blog definitely is giving me food for thought…haven’t gone thrifting in over a month. Though girl child needs some pants so I will break my Goodwill break and head over this weekend. Thrifting is a huge money leak for me since it was easy to say its only the thrift store…doesn’t matter, its still money spent that need not be spent.

Comments are closed.