What is Living Comfortably?
You probably have more then you did a decade or two ago. I hope! So the answer should be yes.
I tell my kids every week that hard work will always pay off. Do you work hard? Are you seeing the fruit of your labor?
Working hard will look different with each of us, as we all have different wants and dreams.
As a Christian I oftentimes tell my kids that if you are doing what God wants you to be doing, you WILL succeed. You won’t have an easy life, who really does, but career/job-wise, you will succeed if it is within Gods will for you.
It is always important to remember that you are better off then someone that you know personally right now. And you are worst off, then a lot of others that you know.
This post was prompted by a recent conversation with one of my teens.
Then Later, the topic came up with a friend.
A friend who I consider to be well off.
Yet, even she talks about how poor she feels around so and so….
I don’t remember the last time I complained about money. In the sense of, “Oh I wish I could afford this or that.”
I do complain about doctor bills though.
And college costs.
Both are pure evil to me.
But that’s a whole other topic in itself.
This leads me to the forbidden question;
What do you consider to be wealth?
No car or mortgage payments?
No credit cards?
Someone with a three story home and a white picket fence?
Someone with the 500k RV that you have always wanted yourself?
Someone with an in ground pool? Above ground? Jacuzzi and hot tub?
Someone who can speak four languages?
Four cars in the driveway?
Someone walking around with a Hermès or Chanel Bag?
A house in the Hamptons? Palm Beach or Destin?
A man in an Armani or Versace Suit?
A couple with a vacation home right on the beach? Or ANY vacation home for that matter?
Buying anything you want at Walmart or Target. Seriously!?
Owning lots of land and acreage?
Owning your own business?
Rich GrandParents/Parents who give you weekly handouts?
Not having to work at all?
This list can go on and on.
What is your definition of Wealth?
Years ago I was still under the impression that I grew up poor.
Then later, hearing how my husband grew up, I quickly realized that I did not grow up poor. He grew up poor. But we both related on a lot of things.
I think most people in America think of people on welfare as being poor. I think this is my current definition of poor. But what about wealth?
I did not grow up on welfare and we lived on only one income.
I don’t ever recall my mother saying no, when I asked for the latest Nikes, etc. And we went out to eat all the time.
I always had new school clothes.
I always went on class field trips.
Yet, I though we were poor. I felt poor.
What was my teen self comparing wealth with?
Apartment verses a house mortgage?
At school I would compare the girls who took horse back riding lessons to be rich.
There were also a group of kids who would travel to Canada over the summer. I use to think they were probably rich.
Girls who lived in houses not apartments were also rich to me.
Girls who took ballet and dance class were rich to me.
I took gymnastics and swim, but I guess that didn’t count to me. 🤷♀️
All of my best friends in school also lived in apartments with only one parent. All except one that I can recall. She was an only child and was very spoiled. Her parents were both factory workers and she always had the latest and greatest. Back then, I thought they must be rich. I use to tell my mom that I wish I was my friend. I’m not sure why though.
Nowadays it’s cheaper to actually have a mortgage and live in a house then an apartment.
Funny how that has switched.
You can be very poor, but live in a house.
You can be very rich, but live in an apartment by choice.
I also use to think that the girls who traveled over the Summer on vacations were rich.
Kids who had a mother and a father at home also seemed rich to me.
My first real Summer vacation that I can recall was when I was twelve. We all went to Disney World.
I remembered how disappointing it actually was. I’ve never been a huge Disney fan.
I know! I’m the only person I know who is not a Disney fan. Oh! And my husband. He doesn’t care about Disney either. 🤷♀️
All of my kids are Disney fans.
All of my friends also claim to love Disney.
I just don’t get the appeal. Not even when I was twelve. I have always loved Cinderella though and do own a couple of Cinderella tees.
Getting back to it…..
As a young adult I thought kids that lived at home after age eighteen must have rich parents who could afford for them to stay at home.
It is strange what our younger selves use to think about things.
After I married I felt poor too.
Mainly, because we lived pay check to pay check for years.
We had at least six credit cards that were all maxed out too.
We lived in a nice house that was in a nice suburban neighborhood. All of my close friends lived within walking distance. Same neighborhood in fact.
We also had a new car every couple of years. Great credit, due to all those credit cards.
Yet, looking at my friends lives as a young adult… I felt terribly poor.
Before purchasing our suburban home I remember feeling so excited walking to the mall with my toddler and letting her choose a new toy each week with the money I would budget aside. We lived in an apartment complex that was right next door to the mall. (I read recently that the mall has been torn down for years. 😭) It was in Chicopee, Mass.
I also ended up getting a job at the mall when my daughter was little.
I felt proud taking my daughter out for lunch each week. Those memories are worth more then all the money in the world to me. I wish more people were taught that great wealth is quality time together. Whether with your family, or even close friends that you’d talk hours on end with. But I have only learned this myself, in the past decade.
Once we moved to to Suburbanville, I remember not wanting to feel left out when all of my friends went to the mall shopping on Friday night.
I would go with only a twenty dollar bill in my wallet. That’s all I had.
That might have felt rich to some other girls who didn’t have eighty dollars to spend how they please each month.
After my family size increased, I remember feeling poor when we would all go out to eat and had to order water, because with seven meals, seven soft drinks would make us short elsewhere and we were happy to be able to take all the kids out to dine as a treat.
Eating out nowadays doesn’t feel like a treat. And we all order the soft drinks too! I think when you can finally afford something, its specialness dissolves a bit. Why is that?
Funny how that goes.
We probably should have not ate out once a week, but it felt like a treat for the kids at the time, so be it.
Even with no soft drinks but water to drink, No one ever complained that they couldn’t order a soda or juice. Kids don’t see and feel the same way that we, as adults do. Thank goodness!
At my current age I see how each one of us has different things that we consider to be a treat.
Regardless of how foolish they may seem to someone else, that is.
My husband likes to get his lattes and breve’s out.
With a little treat to go with it.
I use to think that it was silly to not make coffee at home, and just bring a treat, if need be.
Why drive somewhere to get a fancy coffee when you can make one at home, I’d think to myself. Nowadays he does both!
The $7-$12 that he spends on a fancy coffee and treat may seem silly to me, but he works hard and if that is what makes him happy, so be it.
To him, spending the same amount of money on a nail polish or lipstick, when I have thirty others at home that are basically the same color, seems silly and foolish to him I bet.😁
To me it is not! 🤨
These are little things.
The same thing applies for larger priced items.
It is no secret that millions of people are house poor and live off of their credit cards full time.
Their neighbors and friends will probably continue to think they are better off, due to this. And so the cycle goes.
It’s a choice that each one of us has to make for ourselves though.
Hence the phrase, Keeping up with the Jones.
One of my daughters says that she wishes we lived in a big house like her best friend does. Her friend even has her own bathroom, and her room is decorated to the max.
That friend lives in a large house with beautiful furnishings. I’ve seen it. Yes, It’s gorgeous!
But, that friend never has money to eat out with my daughter or buy new clothes. She also never goes on vacations. Some people choose to be house poor. And that is also okay.
I do remind my daughter that she oftentimes eats out 3x a week and buys new clothes almost on the weekly. Not to mention, she has her own bank account to buy what she pleases.
A lot sixteen year olds do not. Even my fourteen year old has a bank account with funds to do with what she pleases. She chooses to save and not spend. Her siblings don’t understand why.
What we all think seems like foolish spending may not seem like foolish spending to someone else. This is the point.
And the grass is never greener on the other side. It’s all a facade.
I do think there is a middle line to this though.
I once knew a woman who claimed she was in desperate need of money for her bills, so I helped her set up a rather large yard sale.
In life I have found that most people want a hand out. They don’t want to work for it.
I offered to help her set up a yard sale though. Even doing most of the work for her.
Imagine my surprise when she left to run an errand, only to arrive back with thirty dollars worth of signs, balloons, etc.
Instead of making signs the cheap/old fashion way.. she went out and spent thirty dollars on balloons and pre-made signs.
Then she went out and bought coffee and donuts to give out for free. Free!!
I thought she didn’t have money for bills?
At the end of the day she ended up breaking even she said. Telling me how confused she was by this.
I still look back and shake my head.
Another time I had a woman tell me that she didn’t have money for bed pillows. She said she was using the same ones for the past ten years.
But she was always eating out.
Honestly, she’d complain how much she wanted nice bed pillows while we were eating out.
Finally I went ahead myself and bought her some myself because I was tired of her complaining.
I am sure many other people can relate to these types of people in your past/ current life.
What about the friend who leases a new car each year, then complains she’s always broke?
The friend who goes to the hair and nail salon every two weeks, but is always complaining she is broke?
The man who goes out with his buddy to the bar, shooting range, golf club, or fill in the blank…..
But has no money to pay his electric bill or buy groceries for his family.
These are things where the line should be drawn.
These things are not taught to the younger generations.
We all struggle in some way.
The more we make, the more we tend to spend. (For us it’s been home improvements, which are still going on strong here)
The more we make, the more our lifestyle amps up. Even if we don’t consider ourselves to have a “lifestyle” per say.
I don’t believe that anything should be free in life. Well, except for LOVE. 🥰
We each need to work hard to have things that we want in life. To not be dependent on others. This is important.
I first started making my own money back in the forth grade.
I was selling my school lunches to this boy named Charlie.
He gave me $2 for Friday’s pizza slices.
The days that I bought PB& J’s, I’d sell other kids my sandwich for $1. Looking back I have no idea what I was thinking… why was I doing this? Lol
Mainly to the kids who had “healthier” lunches that their parents prepared. I had junk food, Doritos and soda. Although, I did sell a few apples and Oranges.
Sometimes I’d sell my chocolate milk for $1.
I am not sure why kids didn’t just go back up to buy a second serving.
Maybe that was not allowed back in the days.
In the 5th and 6th grade I would bring two whole lunches to school and sell them $5 each.
I also sold Bazooka bubble gum (the kind with the comics on the wrapper) and Luden cherry cough drops for .25 each.
I sold hundreds throughout the school year. This would take place on the play ground. I guess no one ever noticed, or cared.
Later I started buying candy bars when they were on sale for 6/$1 and stickers.
I sold the bars for $1ea. Stickers for .25ea.
Then the real money came in Jr High.
I’d charge the boys $10-$20 to pierce their one ear. (I never questioned where they got the money from) I do wonder about this now though.
No YouTube videos to teach me how.
I would just bring one of my stepfathers cigarette lighters and a sewing needle to school with me.
My best day was $220. I remember how happy I was that day. Oddly, my mother never received any phone calls from other parents. Things were so much more laid back in those days.
Soon the word was out and I had boys and girls coming to my house after school.
I started charging them to color/bleach their hair with peroxide and Sun In.
I’d use the money for new clothes, the movies, and to eat out with my friends on the weekends when my mom was at work.
I started working from home, reselling things back in 1999.
It started at one of those mall trips and with the twenty dollar bill.
I was at the mall with my friends and walked into The Gap. One of my friends spent several hundreds of dollars on clothing for her daughter that evening. I remember how envious I was.
My kids always had nice, name brand clothing. But it was not brand news it was new to them. Like new. Stuff is buy from eBay for them. Also from Amazon. When Amazon was an auction site only, back in the days..
That evening, while at The Gap, they had a sale on rainbow skinny scarfs.
I bought one for myself.
While wearing it out and about the following week I had people ask me where I bought it.
We lived in a pretty trendy town at the time.
Later, while standing in a grocery store line, flipping through a magazine I saw the very same scarf that I was wearing being called the IT scarf of the season.
I then went back to the mall and I bought two more.
I came home and listed them online and ended up making $55 dollars profit on each scarf. It felt good making such a profit! I had paid $9 for each scarf.
Later that year I did the same thing with a popular fashion headband, and so on.
It was mainly a matter of supply and demand.
No Instagram or celebrities to tell us what was fashion worthy at the time. Just old fashion magazines. 🤪
From then on our I started paying attention to fashion trends more, and using my twenty dollars for sewing fabric.
I ended up turning the $20 into a $100 very easily. And while I took little breaks to raise my children, I have continued to buy things that I know would sell for a lot if I ever needed extra Holiday or Birthday money for the kids.
And throughout the years I did much of this. Always giving my kids the best birthdays and Holidays.
My husband use to also do this with silver. Buy low, sell high. The profit was used for beach trips each year for our family. I didn’t go around telling everyone this, but I did have a lady come out and ask me how we were able to go on beach vacations every year.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
I had someone yesterday message me, asking if I work a 9-5 job because it looks like I’m doing well for myself as a reseller she said.
She wanted advice.
She said she started reselling last October and have only made 9k since then.
She asked me if I thought that was average.
But what is average to me will not be average to the next person, I told her. We chatted for a bit. And I gave her a few pointers and left it at that.
I also had to laugh, because a 9-5 job seems as if it would be easy to me.
I work from the time I’m awake until the very last second before bed. On and off of course. Yes, I am a slave to my phone and I’m Okay with that though.
I take pictures, list, share listings, style people, chat with potential buyers and so on.
I’m still on bed rest due to an injury, otherwise I’d be out sourcing too.
I work hard to play hard. Or so the saying goes. I love my job!
And if I need to be on bed rest and not up working I am still making money while laying in bed because people are always shopping..
It is all in the privacy of my own modest home, with three older paid off cars in our driveway.
I do not have a boss telling me what to do.
I am never worried about getting laid off.
No one is ever competing for my job.
Most don’t want it, or so I’m told.
But I love it!
I have never been a team player. I have had jobs outside the home and I’ve not enjoyed any of them. Mainly, because they all involved team work. Despite being a people person. An extrovert.
I don’t work well with others. I realize this is not a good thing.
I am pretty sure that I have one daughter who is also like this. She just doesn’t realize it yet. 😏
My husband is the same way. He likes to work alone. He doesn’t work well with others either.
I have never felt upset at my parents or grandparents for not putting money away for college instead of all the little things that I did receive.
I’m happy working for what we have.
I am happy going into regular stores, and yes, even to the mall on occasion, and basically buying whatever I want. Within reason of course.
I don’t only have twenty dollars to spend anymore. I’m very thankful for those hard times though. I appreciate what I do have now. It’s not nearly as much as several friends of mine, but it may be more then someone else.
I still try to be frugal with my money. Most times.
A few months ago I went to Marshalls Department Store, and when the cashier told me that my bill was $458 dollars I nearly fainted. Really! I thought she was joking.
Four-hundred and fifty-eight dollars may seem like pennies to some, but I do still think $400 is a lot of money to spend at one given time.
The cashier must have seen the look of horror on my face because she asked me if I wanted to open a credit card with them to receive a 10% discount that very day.
Let’s think about this. 10% discount off of $458.
I would save roughly $50.
Interest on the credit card is 23%
So what would I have been saving exactly?
I said no. Why anyone would willingly pay a 23% interest on money they don’t have is beyond me, I instantly thought to myself.
Then I remembered how I once use to do that….ALL.THE.TIME. 🙁
Back then it was probably only 16%. But still. You are never actually saving any money by opening a store credit card. Don’t be fooled!
I told her no thank you, and I took out my debit card to pay for my bill. I use my debit card for all of my purchases. If I don’t have it on my debit card, I don’t get it. Simple as that.
The last time that I used a credit card was back in 2009. I cut it in 2010.
That said, I can’t imagine anyone feeling good about spending so much at one time. 😕
I came home and noticed that my new King Size faux fur bedspread that I bought was nearly $200. I use to look at the prices of things a lot more then I do now.
Throw in a matching sheet set, bed pillows, towels, and few nail polishes and there you have it.
New Things are expensive.
But we are not out buying new towels and bedspreads all the time.
Unless they are to resell, that is.😉
I thrifted two quilts in the past couple of months and they both sold for just under $300 each. Paying $10 each, amazing profit!
Later in the week I had a friend ask me if I’ve been to Marshalls recently. As she knows I do shop there every couple of months.
She’s a good friend, and we do talk about money.
I hear people of wealth never do. It’s actually considered obnoxious and rude to discuss money. So you need to know which friends you can talk about whatever with. I have both. Certain friends that I have it would be rude to speak of money with. Others, it is fine.
Same goes with Politics and Religion.
I complained to my friend how much my bill was at Marshall’s. She asked me what I bought.
When I mentioned my new bedspread, she told me I got a bargain! 😳
Then she went on to tell me how the one that she bought last year was nearly double.
So to her, I got a bargain. See how that works?
We all have our own definitions of the above.
I’m far from being what the standard of real wealth is to society. But I feel very content at my ripe middle-age self. I really do. 🤓