I have a friend who always is complaining about not having any money. Always. And yet she is constantly misses opportunities to change her situation. I don’t get it. It makes me a little crazy.

When I first met her I was impressed by their financial situation. Not because they have fancy things, quite the opposite in fact. She is a full time student but takes all her classes on line so she can be home with her son. She also babysits part time for a child with special needs. They live in old army barracks that have been turned into student housing for students who have children. And they only have one car, which her husband takes to work. She’s a smart girl, it seemed to me that they really had their stuff together. They were making sacrifices and doing what they had to do to get by while she finished school. I was impressed by that.

Come to find out that isn’t really the whole story. First off, she takes more student loans than she actually needs and they live on the excess. That kinda rubs me the wrong way, but I know lots of people do that. In a perfect world everyone would only finance their books and tuition, not their groceries. I found this out because she had planned a huge blow out birthday party for her son. And then told me she couldn’t have it because she wasn’t getting as much in her student loan as she wanted. I cringed. She wanted to finance a birthday party for a two year old.

The reason they only have one junker car is because their credit is horrible and they won’t save enough money to buy another one with cash. Horrible credit means more financial irresponsibility in the past. I don’t know the story here, but I have a feeling if I asked she would tell me a story about why it’s not her fault.

She was telling me recently that the dentist advised her to start saving up for braces for her son. She told me she can’t possibly save any money. “Maybe when we are making more.” She said. But two minutes before that she was telling me about her son’s third birthday party. And how you can rent the whole bouncy place for “only $400″. Gulp! What! She can’t save for braces but she can spend over $400 on a party? This is what I’m talking about. Another missed opportunity. When the day comes and her son needs braces she will again complain about how expensive braces are and how she can’t possibly afford them. Will she remember that 10 years earlier she was told to start saving?

I guess what’s frustrating is that she is half way to being in a good position. Her living expenses are very low. All she needs to do now is plug the holes. It really wouldn’t be much of a lifestyle change. She just needs a budget and some goals.

Are you missing opportunities to turn your situation around?

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