Why Avoiding Fancy Coffee Doesn’t Fix Your Budget

September 29, 2019

It’s easy to
place the blame of tight budgets on the individual and their personal moral
failings. It’s certainly easier than pointing out the systematic problem that
leads to an epidemic of tight budgets.

Even if someone
was to cut out all their personal and self-indulgent expenses, it wouldn’t
solve the problem of high rent, expensive insurance, and low pay. Cutting out
indulgences is a scapegoat for the real problem.

Needing Systematic Solutions

When an issue
stems from high fixed costs and low income, it can feel reasonable and logical
to look at a budget and tinker with it until it’s considered “fixed.”

However, if a
full-time job isn’t enough to pay for basic amenities or basic amenities have
become too expensive, ignoring the small pleasures of life aren’t going to fix
things. Not permanently.

What Happens When There’s
Nothing Left to Trim

Consider this
scenario: you’re unable to pay rent this month because your landlord has
increased your rent in compliance with local and state laws regarding rent
hikes. Your budget starts to get tight and you’re unable to save as much as
before.

Time to find
things to cut back on.

Maybe there’s a
few subscriptions you don’t need anymore, and you can probably stop buying the
kind of dessert you like. You’re not really contributing the same amount to
your savings, but it’s not as bad as it could be.

Then your car
breaks down, and it’s an expense to either fix your car or get a bus pass.

As the cost of
living continues to get higher and wages stay the same, the method of cutting
back won’t save you. Eventually, you’ll consist on rice and beans, be walking
to work, and something else will still come up to take the leftovers of your
paycheck or the dusting remains of your savings.

Indulgences as a Scapegoat

The problem the
majority of retail and service employees face isn’t one about self-control or
self-indulgence, a lack of a “pulled up by their bootstraps” mentality or work
ethic, or even a matter of ambition and drive. The problem is too big to be
solved by individual choices. Though workers can keep cutting back and cutting
back, it doesn’t fix anything.

In fact, it
could prove to hurt the economy when the majority of workers are forced to only
purchase the bare necessities. Many businesses rely on the self-indulgence of
their customers to want to buy their services and products, from fancy coffee
to movie tickets to streaming subscriptions.

Why Coffee Was Never the
Problem

To actually, permanently fix your budget, you
need to address the root of the problem. If cutting out fancy coffee fixes your
budget, you never had a budget problem to begin with.