Being financially secure is a relative thing.
I’m often reminded of how differently Edwina and I look at money. For her, there’s never enough for the basics–food, gas (assuming whichever car she happens to be using/borrowing is in working order), a much-needed prescription.
It’s been a long time–since grad school, at least–when I had to worry about covering the basics. That said, there are plenty of months when money is tight, sometimes coinciding with an unexpected expense: a trip to the garage, a household repair, or a pricey fieldtrip one of the girls tells us about at the last minute.
From where Edwina sits, though, people like me don’t appear to have any money woes. She figures that I must get paid for every article I write (not true), that someone who teaches at a university must make a big salary (definitely not true), and that I must have plenty of cash piled up just waiting for the next big thing to come along (nope). She and I have talked about money issues before–I’ve attempted to explain that my money, like hers, is used up each month with family expenses, while she tries to educate me on the ebb and flow of funds at her house.
At the end of the day, we trust each other to be upfront. If Edwina has a spare box of laundry detergent in the closet, she’s not really out. And if I write about an experience Edwina has shared with me and I happen to get paid for the story, I make sure she gets a portion of the profits for something she does need, when she needs it.