“What to Do if You’re Barely Scraping By” by Chera Hammons

Chera Hammons


Have you tried paying down the balances of your debts?
That’s always the first step to financial freedom.
Have you tried having a savings account?
Here’s what you do. Start by saving a penny,
then double what you save every day.
On the second day, set two pennies aside.
On the third day, four. Soon you’ll have
pennies coming out your ears.
Have you tried making more money?
Have you tried filling out online surveys in your spare time?
Have you tried changing your career?
If none of these work for you, there’s always
something you have right now
that you could live without.
Have you tried living in your car?
You’ll save on rent. Have you tried
not having a car? You’ll save on maintenance.
Have you tried not having a cell phone?
Connection is a luxury. Have you tried giving up
your daily latte? Oh, you don’t have
a daily latte? In that case, have you tried
not eating out, or in, or around?
But don’t forget the importance of self-care. Stress
is a killer. Have you tried yoga?
Have you tried not being depressed?
Have you tried growing an insulating undercoat
and becoming an animal?
Have you tried running soundlessly
through the forest unclothed,
drinking from chilly mountain streams
and startling at sudden noises?
Have you tried lying softly on a bed of moss?
Have you tried needing nothing,
except what the world gives to you?

from Poets Respond
April 21, 2024


Chera Hammons: “This week I read that two-thirds of baby boomers, the wealthiest generation, don’t have enough saved for retirement as they reach retirement age (with a quarter having no savings at all). I also saw a story about people who have lost their entire life savings to a wire transfer scam, with no recourse available to them. My internet browser keeps recommending an article to me titled, ‘What to Do if You’re Barely Scraping By Financially.’ These things made me think of all the financial advice I’ve heard before, how it’s so often completely out of touch with reality.” (web)

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