Why Being Poor Is Good For You
Today's post is pretty much me proclaiming, just how having less wonga, moolar, dollar dollar bills y'all, is actually not the worst thing in the world.
I come at this from an admittedly middle-class background. I've never really wanted for anything financially, unlike many many people across the country, across the world, do on a daily basis; some have no food or water, whilst some complain when they can't afford a meal out on a Friday night.
In reality, we all have different circumstances and are used to certain ways of living. I have never truly struggled for money, and even when I had periods of little to no income, I knew I had a family to fall back on. My definition of 'having less' is very much aimed at those whom are seeking to change their life, or create a more balanced situation, one where they have less money, work less but live more.
I don't believe that it is in poor taste to complain about not having enough money for 'things', like that dress you saw online that you just 'have to get!', whilst living alongside others who can but dream of such a thing.
However maybe it is bad to place so much importance on having something which is a luxury, when so many others have literally NOTHING.
We could try and look at the ways we derive our happiness, and try to find more sustainable and mindful ways to live, so we can enjoy our lives but still show thought for those who haven't enough money to eat this week.
A bit about my back-story and money: I grew up in a wealthy family, my mum had a horse and my dad drove a BMW, and played a lot of golf.
We lived in a 6-bedroom mansion for a short while. We had holidays to Florida when I was a kid, then Europe every year with just me and mum. My dad worked hard for years to provide us with these things, and when he and my mum divorced when I was 7, still, none of us went without.
I was (very) privileged to receive money aged 18, that my parents had saved all my life, which enabled me to travel to America and buy my first car. But despite all this I've never felt like I was entitled, or taken for granted that it would always be so comfortable; a part of me understood, these things can so easily be gone.
It's hard to explain where things changed, but it probably started when I started my first post-university job as an advisor in a bank. It was bullshit.
There was me, 22, with a job, a nice car, a comfortable home, but for many reasons, I was actually miserable. Spiritually devoid, mentally sick and physically unhealthy.
So I quit.
Despite my supportive mum, I didn't want to rely on my parents to pay my bills or fund my lifestyle and hadn't, from the age of 16 onwards, short of living at home with my mum (paying rent). So I set about finding a new career option.
Just because you have a wealthy upbringing, it doesn't mean you end up replete of a solid work ethic or a respect for money.
A few weeks of doubt and trying to cope with the anxiety of a failed job and unemployment, I set up a new business and began a few months of financial struggle and frustration.
For so long, I had been able to go and drop money shopping for random crap without a care in the world, yet suddenly I was foregoing all pleasures and treats, or struggling to part with my money when it came to it.
The less I had, the less I wanted to spend, on pretty much anything.
Even paying a parking fee stings, as does the price of the weekly food shop, or when you fancy a costa coffee iced smoothie on a hot day and you have to scrape the pennies together.
Hah, hardly the worst situation, going without my iced smoothie, but you get my point.
I went from being an active consumer, trying to buy happiness, to not being able to buy much at all.
If your happiness is tied up in the big car, the house, the regular luxury holidays, the bedroom wardrobe, then what happens if you lose it all?
Will you feel as if your life is over, or will you recognise that money comes and goes, but true happiness can remain?
So here are some thoughts on how to enjoy a lifestyle of having less disposable money.
These things won't solve your worries if you are suffering genuine financial worries or poverty, but anyone can try to seek out a happier life on whatever income.
Maybe you are low on funds right now, and a load of bills just went out; either way, you feel poorer BECAUSE of not having as much money as you'd like. If so, keep reading...
1 > TAKE COMFORT in friends, laughter, movies, books, a sunny Saturday in a park, a camp fire, a beach, music, a home-cooked meal. These things really cost very little, but are the building blocks of a solidly contented life.
2 > FORGO THE LUXURY and go for cheaper options. You might think the more expensive option is better, thanks to years of advertising positioning things in this way, but often you are just throwing money away for something which you could of gotten for less, without the after-spend guilt.
3> VALUE YOUR RELAXATION TIME if you have chosen a life of part-time work or self-employment. You might have opted for the 'work to live, not live to work' mantra, which can be great for keeping your stress levels down. I sometimes got fed up with my off-hours because I had no money to go out and spend, then I realised, I needed to find better ways to use my free time that didn't involve money!!
4> GET YOUR TRAINERS ON and exercise! Running is free, exercise videos are a dime-a-dozen on Youtube, a good pair of long-lasting trainers will cost you 30-quid. There's no reason why you can't focus free time on building a healthy, strong body, instead of spending it in the shops.
5> WRITE DOWN THE THINGS WHICH MAKE YOU SMILE and even if you decide, 'Oi, I quite like my big expensive car', or 'hey Hannah! I enjoy my weekly trip to the shops, don't judge!' you can still appreciate what is right in front of you, all the things of real actual worth, things which most of the time, are free.
All I ever want, when I write these posts, is to get people thinking about things, because it's fun to plan for a happier life, isn't it? It's never a bad thing to do.
I am the happiest I've ever been because I've tried to untie my happiness from my bank balance; I still need money and want money, but I don't feel less happy for not having lots of it any more. I went through a period of adjustment, and came out better at the end.
I do want to make a slight disclaimer. I don't think money is bad, or the want to have it is bad, and I think it is naive to proclaim that poor people are happier/better than other people, or that rich people are miserable or out-of-touch.
If you want to have lots of money, for whatever reason, that's cool! But if you can be comfortable and happy with less, then one day if there is more, or if you suddenly lose it all, at least you will know where the true wealth was made.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at NomaderHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!