Today, I only rent the land, but a few years ago, I used to rent mobile homes. I had one fellow who had a couple of kids and was squeaking by. Like most people, he tended to live paycheck-to-paycheck. I tried everything short of paying him to help him stay in my rental, but eventually had to evict him.

During the last week or so of his stay, we were still trying to work things out and he said he was speaking with someone about something at lunch earlier that week. Now, I need you to picture how I lived at that time. I had gone to work for Wal-mart because my rentals were not pulling in enough money for me to live on and my savings were quickly dwindling.

I live a pretty meager life. I don’t eat out. I don’t commute. I combine trips to save fuel. I only watch matinees at the cinema. I set up a community book exchange to lower my book costs. I drink a diet powdered drink to save money on food. Back when this was happening I didn’t even have cable TV.

So, I’m talking to this guy and he is telling me about how he was eating lunch and speaking with his waitress. I was stunned. The guy was on the verge of losing the place he lived in and he went out for lunch. Well, perhaps it was just this once.

No. He goes out for lunch everyday. I’m eating peanut butter sandwiches and working at Wal-mart to get by so he cannot pay his rent and eat outs every workday. Holy crap. The poor guy just couldn’t make ends meet.

He had a full case of beer in the fridge, plenty of cigarettes and he ate out at least five times a month and he couldn’t pay his rent. We had to move a pizza box out of the way to make room on his coffee table and I clocked my head on the satellite dish on the way into his house.

I think many people who live paycheck-to-paycheck are like my renter. They can’t make ends meet because they make poor financial decisions and they do not realize it. It’s harder to spot your own mistakes than it is to spot the mistakes of others.