Money Stress, Saving Tips, and Skittles (006)


Sarah and Kim discuss local news stories about helping people in financial need and why these (so-called) feel good stories actually feel bad. They then discuss why most advice about budgeting isn’t helpful, paying for college, and Sarah gives her top tip for saving money.

Charity Stories on Local News

First, Sarah shares a podcast life update: She can’t resist eating the Skittles in her desk drawer while podcasting. Kim points out how this might not be the best thing to do but “Ms. Skittles” may be listening, so Sarah’s willing to “taste the rainbow” for a possible future sponsorship.

Sarah talks about seeing a lot of local news stories lately about people in financial need being helped out by others who buy something for them, which seems nice… except most of these people work full-time jobs, so they shouldn’t they be able to afford their needs? (YES)

She gives the examples of a man needing a car to get to work, and another man needing car repairs to avoid a 3-hour walk to and from his job

They both agree these issues are a symptom of the larger problem of people not being paid enough to support basic living. Kim suggests local news stick to things like pigs skateboarding for their “feel good stories.” But Sarah has a question:

Kim says she once stood in line behind a woman buying a lot of children’s clothing for her employee’s kids, since they were struggling financially. (It is never confirmed whether Kim was at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, or Kohl’s, but she does admit, “It was a Kohl’s-like establishment.”)

They both agree that talking publicly about doing something “charitable” is very self-serving. Sarah sums it up: “Linda at Marshalls isn’t raising awareness. She needs to dial it back.” She says the best solution is to pay people more so they can afford things.

They discuss the lack of respect and dignity implied in just giving people random “help” and expecting them to be grateful when the underlying issues of their struggle goes unsolved.

Sarah points out how business owners specifically may not realize how much they need to adjust their wages, because it’s easy to just make more yourself without really passing that along to your workers.

Tips for Saving Money

Starts at 15:18.

Sarah brings up budget tips that suggest things like, “Stop buying that latte!” and how these articles are not helpful for most people. (Sarah buys a coffee drink almost never. Her advice: Just have a latte when you want.)

Kim agrees that people who need help saving money are already not having “extra mimosas at brunch,” and that these articles also tend to mostly be talking *down* to a specific group – Millennials or younger people in general. Basically, skipping avocado toast doesn’t mean you can buy a house.

“Just quit eating avocado toast, kids!” – Kim’s example of unhelpful budget advice for Millennials

Jason Chaffetz suggests not buying an iPhone to pay for health insurance. Sarah says she doesn’t actually buy 12-15 iPhones a year so, “Thanks for nothing, Jason!”

Sarah gives her #1 tip for saving money. What is it? Listen to find out! (It seems like an obvious tip, but can be hard to do.)

Sarah and Kim both grew up in working class, “paycheck-to-paycheck” families with little or no savings, so they agree that when you are not making enough to pay for basic needs, no advice or article is going to change that.

Sarah says Kim’s guilt about not being able to save as a young adult is very “on brand” for Kim.

Sarah & Kim both went to college without parental support and had to go part-time or take out loans. They both share stories of not being able to pay for things like food or gas despite working full-time jobs.

We are thankful things are better for us right now. As an example, Sarah shares she recently got a free iPad with credit card points! (Even though now is the time in her life she could use free stuff the least.)

They then discuss how having money turns into more money, but overall something feels out of balance with that. Sarah and Kim want people to know that a lot of factors go into being lower income & it’s not a personal failure. But they do recommend getting a rewards credit card that you pay off monthly in full, if you can. 🙂

We hope issues like paying for college and making a living wage get fixed in the future. Look out for chat about Basic Universal Income in a future episode.

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