I think one of my biggest pet peeves in life is when people assume. Granted, I’m not immune from this as I’m not a perfect soul. I would, however, like to think that I have really made a conscious effort to try to stop that way of thinking.
But I recently had a conversation with someone via Facebook about something I couldn’t financially afford to do. And whenever the topic of finances comes up, in any varying conversations, it always causes my blood to boil. Not because I have a plethora of dollar bills raining down on my at any given time, but because that’s the opposite of my situation!
The conversation went something like this (I’ll paraphrase):
ME: My insurance is not very good and I have a very high deductible ($3000 if you must know). The “treatment” you are suggesting is not covered by my insurance and I don’t have the out-of-pocket cash to spend for this type of treatment.
ASSUMER: Well, it’s cheap here and only $35 a visit if you don’t have insurance.
ME: Maybe to YOU $35 isn’t a lot, but to a single mother on a limited budget, $35 a few times a week, every week adds up very quickly and it’s a lot of money to me.
ASSUMER: (In a private message) Well, if that’s the case, how much did YOU spend on a recent plane ticket to a city out west?
ME: $1.86 (which WAS the actual airfare, I wasn’t picking a number to prove a point)>
ASSUMER: Defriended on Facebook and no further communication….
ME: BLOCKED said assumer and am moving on with my life.
Now, there are several assumptions this person made about me, just in that single conversation. Let me break it down for you and give some responses:
This person ASSUMED that I had an extra $35 lying around to pay out each week if not multiple times a week. I do not.
This person ASSUMED that I would think that was an affordable price. I do not.
This person ASSUMED that I shelled out a lot of money for my upcoming trip away. I did not.
You see, you have failed, as an assumption maker, to gather the appropriate information before jumping in and giving your 2-cents worth, when it was first never asked for, and secondly, you were wrong.
This is what you need to do, in this order:
Learn the FACTS….Before Assuming
Understand WHY…Before Judging
Maybe before you THINK you know my situation….ask and learn the facts.
$35 is a huge amount to me to spend 1-3 times a week seeing that my CHILD SUPPORT that I receive is only $35 a week (for both boys).
$35 is a huge amount to me to spend 1-3 times a week seeing the my GROCERY BILL is around $40 a week since that’s what I CAN afford.
Sure, you see me going to Reds Games, or the Art Museum, or other events around town with my boys. Do you think I just spend hundreds of dollars on that and therefore can AFFORD to spend the $35 1-3 times a week on medical treatments? NOPE!
I’m a single mom on a limited income….but I’m also a FRUGAL mom. I don’t HAVE to explain myself to anyone, I know this. But in case you’re wondering, let me break this down a little bit more for you, so you DON’T have to keep assuming you know what my life is like!
Yes, we go to several Reds games during baseball season. 15-20 games to be exact. BUT…
Did you know that about half the tickets we get for games are free?
Did you know that I pack a cooler with drinks and a bag full of snacks and tote those in to every game?
Did you know that when I allow the boys to get a treat at some of the games it’s based on allowance they have earned?
Did you know that while about half the tickets we get are free, that the other half are tickets that are purchased either during a special (i.e. $5 tickets) or after using some of my tax return money?
Yes, we go out to eat on occasion and I don’t cook every single meal. BUT…
Did you know that I almost always either have a gift card or a discount coupon for the meals we eat out?
Did you know that because of some Reds games, we’ve earned free pizza?
Did you know that I make my children’s school lunches, therefore saving money and ensuring they eat whatever I pack them?
Yes, I buy my children “new” toys on occasion. BUT…
Did you know that I almost always buy their toys used, from Once Upon a Child or Goodwill?
Did you know that if we buy a “new toy” we donate 1-3 toys in its place?
Did you know that if a NEW toy is bought, it’s almost always on a gift card or from allowance the boys have earned?
Yes, I take my boys to various events and places in the area to fill the time. BUT…
Did you know that if we go to the movies, we wake up early and go to the 1st matinée of the movie since the tickets are half-price?
Did you know that if we go to the Cincinnati Art Museum, admission is free and we park down the hill in an off lot so that we don’t have to pay for parking?
Did you know that if we go to the Cincinnati Pops, we go on special times where the admission is usually half-price if not more or I’ve used a discount coupon?
Yes, I had several trips this past summer with my boys. BUT…
Did you know that our trip to Chicago was almost free as I had free hotel stays, dinner coupons, discount half-price tickets to LEGOLAND and bought tickets for the baseball games we attended after I got my tax return and bought enough in advance that I got better prices?
Did you know that our trip to Louisville to go to the Louisville Slugger Museum was only $8? That I had 2 free tickets and a half-price ticket?
Did you know that our trip to Mammoth Caves was paid for with my tax return and I cooked almost all our meals and we stayed in a cabin in the woods at a minimal price?
Did you know that our trip to Hilton Head during Spring Break was very inexpensive? That I paid for it with my tax return and split costs for food and transportation with my boyfriend? That we had coupons for a lot of our meals? That I saved up for the trip and found condo bargains?
I shouldn’t HAVE to defend what I do or how I spend my money or what I do with my children, but after dealing with such ignorant people and those that just assume that they know my situation, I am left with no option!
Did you know that I’ve been through a bankruptcy? That I cannot get a credit card (nor do I want one honestly)? That I cannot get a house loan (nor do I want to because I don’t have the extra income to pay for household issues that could come up i.e. no credit card to pay for those)? That I had to take a loan out part of my 401K (which I’m paying back) so that I could get an older used car so that I could get to and from work and get my kids to and from school, etc? That I’ll never have a NEW car and I’m perfectly ok with that?
Did you know that MY personal insurance deductible is $3000? That I have to pay that out-of-pocket before I have full coverage? That on a recent ER visit in the spring my co-pay was $300 and it took me 3 months to pay that off as I had it deducted from my paycheck? Did you know that I buy just about all my clothes at goodwill? That on the occasion I DO buy clothing or accessories at a retail store, I will only buy if it’s on clearance or a really good sale?
Learn the FACTS….Before Assuming
Understand WHY…Before Judging
There’s a reason why I do the things I do. There are methods to all my madness that I call my life. And if you don’t bother to take the time to find out the details and just jump on the assumption bus, you’re going to crash head first into oncoming REALISM ahead of you.
It’s the age old adage that apparently people have failed to grasp onto. Think before you speak! You have no idea what someone else’s life is like and have no idea what someone else’s struggles are on a day-to-day basis. Have some compassion and stop assuming!