Saturday, October 3, 2009

Comparing Client's Financial Choice with My Own

I had a client in my office who was talking about difficulties in making ends meet, especially considering around half his income goes to rent. During our conversation he mentioned going shopping and getting pants for $30. Then he said he spends about $75 on clothes every month. Since I know this client I knows he sometimes spends money on things he want before things he needs -- meaning occasionally not paying his rent in full (to the annoyance of his landlord), choosing instead to get something he wants (DVDs, eating out at restaurants, and so on). I asked if he sometimes buys clothes at thrift stores. "Second hand clothes?" He shook his head, "No I don't like getting used clothes," and I thought to myself, "Hey if it's good enough for me..."

We all compromise in things we want. I will probably not be able to get the car I want. However, I know I have a lot more freedom in options of purchase compared to most of my clients because of sheer difference in income. I actually understand there are lines people don't want to cross -- I have a friend who won't buy used books. Yet it seems the logical choice: With less income choices need to be more thrifty. On the other hand, with less income and less opportunities to entertain yourself every little bit goes a really long way. Doing anything, though, that jeopardizes your housing (by not paying rent first when you get your check) is harder for me to understand.

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