Women’s Personal Finance Wednesdays – Week 37
1. That One Time When My Students Thought Everyone Got Food Stamps Money Smart Latina
This is a jarring post. Period. Unless you’ve experienced something similar yourself, it’s easy to rationalize that simply creating personal finance education will make all the difference in terms of financial literacy rates. But when you’re working from a completely different place – one where everyone you know receives food stamps, where no one is financially secure – the conversation looks very different.
Too often the discussion is about trying harder and doing better, but we have to realize that we are not working from an equal playing field. The first time I had any kind of experience with food stamps was in college, because they are available to students who receive need based financial aid, so I saw second hand how much of a difference they can make. The students in Athena’s class, on the other hand, had not ever experienced someone NOT using food stamps, until she gave her example. The starting line is not the same.
Do I have any real answers or insights here in particular? No, but this story has certainly been bouncing around in my head since I first read it, so thank you Athena for sharing it with all of us. We need to hear more of these kinds of stories.
2. The Time Will Pass Anyway Millionaire On The Prairie
The thing that struck me about this post in particular is the positive nature of how this advice is given. After reading this one, I’m not sure how you aren’t inspired to go find something to set your sights on. And if you don’t have anything in particular that you’re focused on, she gives you a reason to move forward with savings anyway.
This is the advice I particularly could have used early on in my career, especially after I’d paid off my student loans. It’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day and distracted by the here and now. While there won’t always be an urgent new financial goal ahead, getting into the habit of saving regularly is a big deal for once a goal looms on the horizon and when you have more money to put away.
3. Lessons From Eating On $2 A Day: Live Below The Line Challenge Frugality and Freedom
I have such conflicted feelings when it comes to poverty type challenges. So often, it can be dismissive of the hardships that exist when this is your life and not a week long experiment. That said, I feel that Michelle did a very thoughtful analysis of her experience from this challenge, and I think the replication of it annual must have some cumulative effects as well.
Poverty, and the need to live on so little, is clearly much more all encompassing than simply how much you have to spend on food, but we can all use some more empathy in our lives and a better understand of how hard it is to live with so little money. And then, like Michelle, hopefully we can reset some of our thinking around food and abundance as well.