From The Confessional: More Stressed Than Ever About Money

by Karen Johnson
Originally Published: 
Photo credit: Ziga Plahutar / Getty

Homeschooling/at-home learning/e-learning… whatever you want to call it, it’s no joke and it’s making our heads spin. So is being stuck inside with antsy kids who miss their friends and miss the park and are mourning the loss of their soccer season, senior prom, and graduation parties. But for millions around the world, this fight is bigger than disgruntled kids and feeling claustrophobic.

For many of us, it’s about money. We’re watching our bank accounts dwindle down as we are quarantined. There is no money coming in. No bills are getting paid. And we are terrified of what will happen next week, month, or year, when this is all over. And if we will even make it to the other side.

We like to say we are the greatest country in the world, so we better start acting like it. Maybe now we’ll realize how vital health care is and how important it is to take care of Americans who barely make it between paychecks, or who aren’t even receiving one at all. Confessional #25772918 “The news terrifies me, but I am really enjoying hearing politicians admit that giving working people (and not corporations) extra money is the best way to stimulate the economy. Feels like truth, justice, freedom, and sunshine rolled up in a warm blanket.” Confessional #25772781 “I don’t fear the virus at all. I fear economic hardship for all, even the upper class. Very few people have enough money to escape a depression.” Confessional #25774842 “I’m praying for everyone to return to their jobs when this is over, even though I know that won’t be the case. Too many small businesses have already been dealt a fatal blow. Big companies also being hurt, so will look to trim costs wherever they can.”

This is the terrifying reality more and more people are waking up to every day. Confessional #25772956 “I’m not afraid the virus will kill me. I’m afraid it will make me sick enough to have to be admitted and ruin us financially. I gave up my health insurance this year so we could afford the kids’.” Confessional #22364383 “We had to borrow $ from MIL. She gave me a check & said ‘Now, don’t lose this. Put it in a safe place til you get to the bank.’ When she drove away, I put the check in an envelope & mailed it back to her. I’m 47. I’ll work out something else. Sorry, DH.” Confessional #25771149 “We get paid every 2 weeks and run out of money every pay period by day 9.”

No more “I don’t like this dinner.” No more wasting food or leaving lights on or wasting anything. Feeling this adulting thing harder than ever. Confessional #25773308 “When I was a kid, I remember my dad would sometimes get checks returned from utility companies because he forgot to sign them. He didn’t forget, he was trying to make it look like an attempt until he really had the money in his account. I love you, dad.” Confessional #25773540 “When the pandemic ends, I truly will have changed my relationship with money and material things. We are on the cusp of will they/won’t they cut our jobs. I need to plan better.” Confessional #25194701 “I’m vowing to never ask a young person about their plans for the future. I’m grateful for my life but this adulting shit is hard AF. I spent so much of my carefree-minimal-responsibility years wishing I was grown up. Wish I would have enjoyed it.”

The second we come out of this hell, the number one priority will be financial independence. Confessional #25772381 “We aren’t wealthy but H & I both work jobs that *should be* safe in the near future & I’ve always been diligent about saving money. I’m hoping that the fallout of covid is that there will be cheap houses & low interest rates so I can finally leave H.” Confessional #25774651 “In desperation, I must tolerate — and be nice to (ugh) — two awful narcissists in my life because they both provide me with much-needed financial support.” Confessional #25771582 “I earned no money today. Fabulous.”

Feeling grateful for my job and and for any penny of income we have as I realize so many are going without. Confessional #25773111 “If I don’t figure out something to be able to get some work done and get alone time, I’m gonna end up on Snapped as a wife who had enough of her husband’s bullshit. Sure, he makes more money, but I actually need my job to stay mentally well.” Confessional #25771716 “Feeling pretty lucky right now to have enough money to buy a few weeks worth of extra food/household stuff. I am thinking about those who can’t and hoping they will be OK.” Confessional #25772522 “Went grocery shopping. Spent more $$ than I usually do trying to get food to last until next payday. We’re not rich by any means but I’m truly thankful that we can afford enough food.”

This is a whole new level of fear.

Confessional #25773270

“SIL tried shaming me today because I didn’t order out. Apparently it was support local restaurant day or some crap like that. Sorry but I can’t afford to order out on a random Tuesday.” Confessional #25772446 “I work in a grocery store. I’m not worried for myself. I do worry about my older coworkers, my pregnant coworkers, and my family. I can’t afford to quarantine. My employers will NOT close. Both scenarios are a double-edged sword.” Confessional #23246645 “H’s check didn’t go through today. Nobody’s in the company did – some issue w/ the bank. Bills are now late, had to use credit for groceries. Terrified the company is going under and money isn’t coming. Living paycheck to paycheck is hell.”

Financial stress is hitting America—and the world—in ways many of us have never seen in our lifetime. We’re realizing now why our grandparents hoarded canned goods and never let anyone leave the table until their plates were cleared. We’re learning how to stretch a dollar more and more. And we’re finding ourselves grateful for jobs that a few months ago, we complained about.

It’s time we all do our part to save the world. Stay home. Be frugal. Check on your neighbors and make sure they have what they need. If we all take care of one another, we’ll come out of this stronger, more resilient, and with a true perspective of what matters in life.

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