Stop saying you're "broke" when you really just have a tight budget

Hello all you lovely people in pseudo quarantine! I’m here to express my continuing frustration in having to read some of you complain on social media about your finances, day-in-day-out, with phrases like, “We can’t afford that” and “We’re broke”.

Now the great majority of you saying these things aren’t actually hurting for money at all. Your income comes from a white collar job with a good company. You have employee sponsored health and life insurance. You have 401Ks and 529 plans for the kids. You probably even have a well padded savings account (you might call it your “vacation fund”).

Guess what! You’re not broke!

You might be saying these things because you have a budget. Maybe this budget is constrained because there are student loans to pay back, your mortgage payment is high, or you have credit card debt.

You’re still not broke. What you should be saying is, “We have a tight budget”.

When you complain about being broke or not being able to afford something, it is hurtful to those that have far less than you. You are belittling a very serious situation.  There are so many people in this country right now living paycheck to paycheck. One stroke of misfortune or bad timing, and they are likely to spiral into poverty. There are those in this country who have never known anything but poverty. And then there are those struggling with homelessness. You don’t meet any of these qualifications.

So now, the next time you’re tempted to say you’re “too broke” to go out for dinner or “can’t afford” a nonfat latte, please show a little respect and rephrase: “It’s not in our budget” would suffice.

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