The Polyamorous Misanthrope
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Polyamory for the Practical
Polyamory and Economic Velocity
"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
This is unfair.
It is also true.
But, do you know why? (Well, you will by the end of this article. Aren't you excited?).
My wife went out and bought $45.77 worth of hamburger the other day. We prefer to use very lean hamburger when we can --I don't really like paying for fat I'm just draining off, you know? In my area, 90% lean hamburger runs around $2.79/lb. So, when it goes on sale for $1.99/lb, we stock up. This means we habitually pay eighty cents a pound less for this grade of hamburger than someone who does not do this. Given our meal planner, this translates into a savings of $134.40 per year.
There was a time when I would not even consider tying up forty-five dollars of my food budget in one item. I couldn't. We were living paycheck to paycheck and that $45 or so dollars had to go the groceries for the entire week. (This was when it was just The Prince and I, and before we had kids). I simply could not take full advantage of sales.
Car insurance is another area where the concept is very easily demonstrable. Let's say that a one-year premium is $1000. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, chances are very good that the only way you're going to be paying that whole $1000 the year is if you try to fast for a few months, or neglect to pay some other essential bills. The insurance company knows this, and will offer to let you pay monthly “ for a minor fee. Since in most states, it is illegal not to have car insurance, you're stuck. (By the way, the examples of being stuck in this article are examples of things that have actually happened in my life, for the most part). You go for that EZ (or not so EZ) payment plan. It usually works like this: To break up the insurance premium into 12 payments, you wind up paying an extra $4/month. So, instead of paying $1000/year on car insurance, you're now paying, $1048/year in car insurance. It doesn't sound like much, but remember all of these little things do add up to a lot of money.
How about that? You get a price break for being rich!
It's very hard to get out of this cycle. Believe me, I know. I was in it for years.
So how did I get to the point where I was able to have enough of a backlog of money to spend less on things?
Honestly? Well my husband and I married another couple.
It wasn't so much that we were earning more money while cutting down on the expense per person ratio. We were doing that, but it was hardly all of it.
For one thing, I got my shit together as far as bookkeeping and economic planning. I knew all the "right" things to do, but didn't do them for various reasons. (One of them being that follow-through on plans is not exactly my strong point). When we moved in together, I didn't want my sloppy habits screwing more people up and I had the opportunity for a fresh start. I was also very lucky that I have a wife who agrees with my economic philosophy and is great at bargain searching, as well as sticking to a plan.
OLQ did start out paycheck to paycheck. It was a goal of ours to get the heck out of that way of living as fast as humanly possible because it sucks. As we were digging ourselves out of that, we discovered the concept of economic velocity.
We started looking ahead and trying to plan our expenditures as investments “ ways of saving us money down the road. The two biggest categories in this at first were cutting food costs and getting out of debt. We chose the food one mostly because it's easy. We chose the debt one because cutting down on the money pissed away in interest, late fees and over limit fees was a sizeable chunk of money as well as the fact that better credit would help in the long run towards other financial goals. Not to mention the fact that the less debt and financial commitments you have, the easier it is to create a surplus, as well a weather the normal ebb and flow of your economic condition.
As we got those things under control, we were able to devote more money to other things that helped save money in the long run. For us, the next step was investing more time and money into the maintenance of our cars “ thus saving us money with longer lasting cars. Insurance on an old car is cheaper than the insurance on a new car. If you make your old car last, you're not only saving on payments, but insurance.
This is starting to save us money that we will be able to put to having a house and land of our very own. (I twitch to think of the money we're peeing away by renting!). When we do that, we will look at ways to invest the backlog into future saving “ spending a couple of extra thou, for instance, on really, really good insulation to save thousands over the years in heating costs.
So, why am I talking about this for the poly community?
Well, we poly families are in very much a unique position to create this
economic velocity. First, there's the simple fact of the greater earning
power. Three blue collar jobs or jobs in service positions will support a poly
family of four adults and a couple of children quite well.
Just as other sorts of energy tends to feed on itself (love, hate, joy, anger), so does the energy of money. With more people in the house, it is easier to put it to work for you.
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