'I wanted to ruin it': This DC mom received $10,800 in taxpayer funds for poor families, but spent most of it on a luxury trip to Miami to 'inspire' her kids.  This is what she learned

‘I wanted to ruin it’: This DC mom received $10,800 in taxpayer funds for poor families, but spent most of it on a luxury trip to Miami to ‘inspire’ her kids. This is what she learned

When Canethia Miller found out she was one of 132 poor women selected to receive nearly $11,000 in taxpayer-funded money through the government’s Strong Families, Strong Future DC program, it felt like the stars had aligned for the stay-at-home mom of three. guys.

“Many communities in my area do not know the financial gain of credit, saving for children; that’s why we’re ruined,” she later said to the Washington Post. “That’s why we have nothing to inherit or a house to give up.”

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Miller, 27, was given a choice: receive the funds in 12-month installments of $900 or as a lump sum of $10,800. She chose the latter.

However, his interview with Mail It generated a lot of chatter online after she revealed how she had spent the money: $6,000 went towards a five-day luxury trip to Miami for herself, her three children and her father.

“I wanted to ruin it,” he said. “I wanted to have fun.”

Although many of the other Strong Families, Strong Future DC beneficiaries profiled by the Mail revealed that they had used the money to pay outstanding bills, buy baby formula or open a savings account, Miller’s decision to make a major purchase statement reflects how some members of her generation are dealing with the financial strains and stress of life in general.

A generational trend

According to a study by personal finance company Credit Karma, 35% of Generation Z and 43% of millennials reported that they cope with stress by spending.

Last year, Miller, who lives in a subsidized two-bedroom apartment in one of Washington, D.C.’s poorest neighborhoods, had put her education on hold, giving up her social work degree to raise her three children, the youngest which was born in the summer of 2022.

With Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) as her only source of income, she relied on food stamps and WIC, a program that offers nutritional support to low-income mothers, to keep her family fed.

“Groceries last us the first three weeks of the month, then we try to calculate the last week of my benefits,” he said. “Tough, but tough.”

With the trip to Miami, Miller said her children experienced something she never would have offered them before, plus a major mental health boost.

During those five days, Miller and his family enjoyed steak dinners, a luxurious boat cruise, and lots of memories for the kids. Much of the rest of the funds went towards bills and a used car.

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Allocate remaining funds

A 2023 survey from financial technology company Intuit found that 3 in 4 members of Generation Z would rather have a better quality of life through experiences than have more money in the bank.

“Gen Z is interested in living for now,” said Brittney Castro, certified financial planner and consumer financing advocate at Intuit. “It’s more about convenience, less stress, less pressure to save for the future and really balance it out.”

Although some of this might ring true for Miller, he told the Washington Post who has a financial plan for his family.

And while some might dismiss her decision to take her family on a trip to Miami as irresponsible, she insisted to the Mail that the vacation served a “greater purpose.”

Miller said the Strong Families, Strong Future program taught her financial literacy through a variety of courses offered. With some of the remaining $4,000 in funds she received, she also opened a savings account and promised herself to maintain an emergency fund at all times.

“I’m trying to get to the level where I’m conveying something to (my kids) that really matters, so that I can be prepared and my kids can be prepared, and they don’t need to work as hard as I do. I’m doing it now.”

Since being selected by the Strong Families, Stronger Future program, Miller has begun coaching football part-time and is enrolled in a free information technology course at a local school. He plans to graduate in the coming weeks with a remote job that offers $30 an hour.

All of this has happened, he said, thanks to the trust that the government-supported program has given him.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

By Sam