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Only $250?

I was teaching a storytelling workshop last month when one of the participants lamented that his parents had “only given $250 in pocket money” per month while he was attending college.

And this was in 2005 when $250 could be stretched considerably further than today.

My instant reaction was to recoil. I have not received a single penny of support from my parents since I was 17 years old.

For my entire adult life, I have taken care of myself and my loved ones without a financial safety net or parental handout of any kind.

No college tuition. No gift of a car upon graduation. No family business to take over.

Not even a toaster or vacuum cleaner.

I thought a $250 monthly allowance sounded ridiculous, and it sounded even more ridiculous to complain about such good fortune.

But I also know that my situation may be unusual. Perhaps I was being judgmental and unrealistic. Even though I was taking care of myself at a young age, perhaps college allowances and other forms of financial support are more common and expected than I thought, so I told my wife, Elysha, about the $250 per month allowance and asked what she thought.

Her response:

“I had to work for my spending money in college. I had jobs. Multiple jobs. He complained about only being given $250 per month?”

She was equally outraged.

Admittedly, Elysha and I could both be wrong. Maybe it’s perfectly normal for someone to be upset about only receiving $250 per month in spending money from their parents while attending college.

$329.44 adjusted for inflation.

I don’t think so, but maybe Elysha and I are a couple of judgmental jerks who are failing to recognize the limitations of certain weak-minded people in especially privileged circumstances. I’ll allow for the possibility that this whiny little jerk had every right to complain about the size of Mommy and Daddy’s allowance, alongside the tuition they were also paying.

But here is something I know for certain:

It’s always better when someone is outraged alongside you.

And when it’s your spouse, it’s amazing.