Written by Frances Lee, The Smart Show staff writer

Before leaving for his Christmas vacation, President Obama made a point to finish ‘one last piece of business’ which was signing the the two-month tax extension.
Before the signing, he asked fellow American’s to tell him what $40 meant to them, which is what would be essentially taken out of our checks.

(You can watch the speach on YouTube.Com with this link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV8aLQ8mtAg)
As I listened to some of these responses, I began thinking about what exactly $40 per week meant to me.
This meant after all my bills were paid and I had $40 left over.
Let’s remember I recently graduated college and money is already tight all around, I barely make ends meet on a weekly basis. But if I did have a solid $40 left over to spend, this is what I would put it towards.

  • My grandmother lives in Los Angeles, a good hour and a half drive from where I live. $40 would equate to a tank of gas so I could visit her. Having that cash taken from me would mean less visiting time during her old age. I would also be able to spend time at my mom’s restaurant in Los Angeles and even visit with my sister.
  • As I grow older I notice that my friends and I are becoming more and more busy in our individual lives. Between juggling full time jobs, families and personal time we rarely have time or funds to spend time with each other. $40 would equate to dinner once a week giving us time to catch up and build on our relationships with one another. As my mother told me, friendships are one of the most precious things in life.
  • Being a working girl leaves me little time for even the most basic grooming. I can’t remember the last time I had time or funds to get a haircut or even my nails done. I just let my hair grow so I can pull off the hippie-look. $40 a week could allow me to splurge on a well needed manicure and pedicure which also gives me some personal time away from the chaos of life. $40 every two weeks could give me a routine haircut and allow me to feel more professional in my business surroundings. A girl could be allowed that, right?
  • $40 a week allows me to take one LSAT class so I can achieve my dreams of becoming a lawyer so I can stand up for those without a voice.

When asking my friends about what $40 a week meant to them, I got a wide range of answers equally thought provoking and stirring.

  • $40 could feed our best friend and furry companion for 2 1/2 months.
  • One friend is a new mother, she said she would put that cash towards buying diapers and formula which is a neverending expense.
  • In one month, this pay for gas or internet. These are necessities that most people would overlook in life, but having them taken away is a whole different story. For anyone that braved endless nights of cold could understand how much a warm night of sleep could mean to them.

For most, what I listed above could be considered ‘extra’s’ that one could do without during financial crunch-time. I really am curious to know what $40 a week could mean to one of you. A cup of coffee in the morning? A tank of gas for a long drive? The cost of a necessity that can’t be met? A new pair of sneakers?

Let me know.