A Little Help, Please
Dec. 13, 2010
For us, more cash on hand doesn’t cause an increase in spending but rather slows down our saving. I realize that we are fortunate and that this is not the case for every family. I am relieved that it seems the tax cuts for the middle class will be extended and that unemployment benefits will go on. Many people are hurting and the continuation of this economic help is imperative for a few years until the economy and job market are on less shaky footing.
As a housewife and mom, I can best relate to the tax situation less in a political way but more as a model for how we approach our own household finances. What we as a family choose to do with our money, or lack thereof, may not affect the global economy at large, but it does much to shape our everyday choices.
We are not in the higher tax brackets that are looking at the possibility of losing the tax breaks soonest. Although, without the tax breaks we get now I imagine that we would make lifestyle adjustments in much the same way we would adjust to a major car repair or an unforeseen medical cost: move our money around to where we need it most, cut back on the expenses and try to do it without taking on debt.
The best budget I know is the budget of spend-less-than-you-make. Back when I was single there were times when I was not able to make ends meet and I gratefully accepted help from friends and family. I did not make this the new normal or I would stay in debt forever and that is not something I am comfortable with. Any plan that depends on overwhelming debt being the norm, has problems.
The idea of having more money in the short term while mounting great debt far into the future (for my son to take care of) is against the financial model that we try to follow for our family. I see a parallel with the feel better now and “someone” will have to pay later aspect to some of the current tax break formulas. I would like to see assistance for the time being but to let it go on indefinitely is short-sighted.
—Lisa is a former comedy writer for television. She now writes about her funny family at her blog Smacksy.com.