Dear Complete and Total Loser,
Both of my parents have been unemployed for more than a year so we don't have a lot of money. I don't think the things they spend the money they do have on are fair. For example, they have wine sometimes with dinner but they won't spend extra money to upgrade our internet service or get me a smart phone. How can I persuade them to be fair?
You have a point. When finances get stressed, gadgets and alcohol should be cut equitably. But your letter doesn't tell me enough to know how unfair your parents are being. For example, do you have cable TV? If so, that's an extra, as would be a smart phone. People existed fine without either for decades and you can still get high def shows with a conventional aerial, though you may need a converter box if your television is old, and you can get surprisingly recent movies at any library. Are there ever any snacks in your house? Cookies, pastries, chips? Those too are unnecessary. Moderate drinking, which I assume is all your parents are doing, can relieve stress, albeit only temporarily. Their situation is a stressful one these days, perhaps more stressful than they're letting you know. Try to see it as their little escape from a difficult situation that allows them to regroup and approach the next day with renewed hope. Find ways for you to do this for yourself. Read a book you like, practice drawing, learn a magic trick.