The NY Times this morning ran a story about the least sympathetic Joneses of the current recession:
Meet the Joneses, two Silicon Valley engineers who, in many ways, seem to have it all — a home they bought for $850,000, two children and a combined income of about $250,000 a year. But despite their apparent wealth, Kirsten and Mike Jones financed much of their lifestyle with borrowed money.
Now, like many overspent Americans, the Joneses are deeply in debt. They owe $100,000 on their credit cards, and the tax assessor says their home is worth $100,000 less than they paid for it. To turn their finances around, they’re embracing an idea so quaint it might be cool again: living within their means.
Apparently things really are tough in the Jones household (emphasis added):
MS. JONES said that to get back to living on their actual incomes, she and her husband had to stop thinking in terms of credit. They set up one bank account to cover the household bills and pay back debt. To rein in unnecessary expenditures, she and her husband each get a cash allowance of $600 a month.
If your austerity budget includes $1200/month for “dinners out, clothes, gadgets,” here’s an idea: Don’t be in the %@^* paper. Nobody’s twisting your arm. When the reporter asks, just politely decline. It’s not indecent to be successful, obviously, but it is to whine about how hard it is to live on a mere $250K/year. And it’s outright obscene to be self-congratulatory about one’s ability to endure a $1200/month austerity budget.