What does it mean to rob Peter to pay Paul? In researching the origin of the meaning of this common phrase, we learn:
“The expression refers to times before the Reformation when Church taxes had to be paid to St. Paul’s church in London and to St. Peter’s church in Rome; originally it referred to neglecting the Peter tax in order to have money to pay the Paul tax.
The Peter tax referred to the tax that people had to pay to fund the building of St. Peter’s Church, while the Paul tax referred to the tax that the people had to pay to fund the building of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
When the idiom says “rob”, it takes that if you don’t pay a tax, you are robbing a person (pope, in this case) of what that person rightfully deserves.
Thus, the saying means, not paying the Peter tax in order to pay the Paul tax.”
There is a classic television episode “We’re in the Money” that demonstrates the concept of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” that aired on the sitcom Roseanne back in the 1990s.
Just for fun – check out the snippet of the scene that shows their unique method of bill paying:
It is good for a few laughs but the reality is, we need to, not only be more responsible about the bills we owe but also find a realistic way to meet those obligations so that we don’t end up with bankruptcy as the only option.
Trust us – as bankruptcy attorneys for decades we have seen and heard just about everything – including some variation of the bill paying system shown on Roseanne. So how can you break the cycle of “robbing Peter to pay Paul?”
Following are four tips to consider:
1. Understand what your monthly obligations are. Before you can create a budget and even before you begin paying your bills – make a list of those you owe each month and the amount due. There are several bills that you know happen each month on a specific day and for a specific amount. Rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance, utilities, loan payments, health insurance, credit card minimum amounts. Write it all down along with the date due. This will help you determine the minimum amount you will need to have an income to pay your bills. Keep in mind you will have bills each month that vary in costs such as food, gas, and incidentals. You can determine an average amount by reviewing the past several months’ expenses.
2. If the amount you owe is more than the amount you make – examine options for additional income. Depending on the discrepancy you may need to consider significant changes in your lifestyle. From reducing the number of times you enjoy fast food to renting your home and moving in with family; there are several options you can consider. This is an issue that cannot be neglected. The longer you wait to deal with it, the more difficult it will be for you to resolve this problem. This is where the professionals at Bankruptcy Advocates can really help. Not only do we help you with the bankruptcy process, but we are also available for consultants to help you rectify the situation before you have to consider bankruptcy.
3. Contact your creditors. Some creditors will be willing to allow you to miss a month of payment if you have had an unexpected expense. They will either set up a payment plan for the missed payment or may add it to the end of your agreement. Being open and honest with creditors as soon as you know you will have trouble paying the bill is always a good tactic.
4. Seek counseling from experts. Did you know that your first consultation with us is always free? Don’t be embarrassed – you are not the first person in this position. Give us a call and let’s talk honestly about your financial situation and create the best course of action to help you get on solid financial ground.
Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Attorney law firm Bankruptcy Advocates is located in Carbondale and serves a wide geographic community. The first consultation is always free. Give us a call at 618-549-9800 or email us at [email protected] to speak about your case or legal matter. Convenient appointment times are available.