Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Am I rich, or am I poor?

Hi all, I am copying this comment here, from Claire, so you can see she has prompted me to write this post. Thank you Claire, I wonder how how old you are. I think you may be younger than me and have a differnt perspective on life.

Hi there, I really enjoy your blog, one thing that I am suprised about though is that you have no savings, why doesnt the meanqueen have any savings?

Another thing though that I wonder if you would comment on is that all this frugality is all very noble, but doesnt there come a point where it is "easier" or more effective to earn more or extra money rather than cut back, because eventually you will reach a point where there is nothing to cut back from and one wonders then whether you are effectively living in poverty?

First point, Why don't I have any savings? It has never been my intention to save money and never spend it. It seems daft to me to have money lying around doing nothing, besides, I am not clever enough to work out the best place to invest it, and that would be one more headache. When I left school I wanted to earn my own living and pay my way, which meant I would have to save up for the bigger things I would need, like a car and a deposit for a house, or holidays. It was also very nice to be able to eat out, socialise, and buy nice clothes, though there were times when I had to stop spending for a while in order to save up. So there was a lot of juggling going on. I have not racked up any debt, preferring to only buy what I could afford to pay for.

I have an emergency fund in my one and only bank account, this is for emergencies. I keep £3,000 in there, in case my car blows up, my cats get sick, I need expensive dental treatment, or if something happens to the house which is not covered by my insurance policy. If I need to use it then I will, it's not long term savings. In the past the balance has dropped right down to one mortgage payment, when I needed to pay out for something, then I started to build it back up again.

If I had spent a life time of saving and had a tidy lump sum put away, each year the value would have dropped a bit. Say I had 20 years of savings, maybe £10,000, with the interest rates as they are now, and the cost of things going up, my money would be losing value. I am not brilliant at working the figures out, I am only going on what I read in the press. Look at all the people who have put money away, going short to save up for old age, their nest eggs are diminishing daily. They are not able to enjoy the pensions they thought they would be getting.

I am a 'now' sort of person, what matters to me is what happens in the immediate future. None of us know what is in store for us tomorrow, so saving for the long term is not for me. Others may need the comfort of having a bit of cash put by, they feel vulnerable without that cushion to fall back on. I feel liberated by not having loads of money to worry about.

In answer to the second part of your comment. I think I will start by asking you a question if I may, what is your definition of living in poverty? The way I see it is that people in Africa are living in poverty, we are nowhere near that stage in this country. Being in poverty means you don't have enough to eat, and you don't have shelter. I doubt very much that I will be in that situation.

Would it be easier to earn some money rather than to cut back on spending? I have worked for 45 years. For the last few years I went onto part time working because I was sick of my job, I wanted a better quality of life. I deliberately reduced my income and reduced my spending. Now I am 62 and it would be very unlikely that I would get a job. I wouldn't want to go back to my old profession because the hours are long, and there are no vacancies in my area. So what other work could I do? Anything manual I suppose as I am not qualified to do anything special.

So, just say for instance that I got a job in a bar, or a shop, or a factory, at minimum wage, the first thing that would happen is the tax man would take a big chunk of it. Charming, and what would I get out of it? A few extra pounds to spend maybe, but spend it on what, when I already have enough. Job satisfaction perhaps, I don't think so. If I got a job it would have to be something which would tax my brain, something that I really wanted to do, I am not willing to settle for less. I don't know where I would find that sort of job.

Claire, you make the same assumption that 90% of the country make, that you need more of everything to have a good life. The other 10% have seen the light, and me and quite a few others know that less is best. Will I reach a point where there is nothing to cut back from? No I don't think so. My life from now on is heading towards my death, it makes sense to me to reduce the amount of stuff I have, and to eventually spend all the money I have. From the moment you are born you build your life, there comes a point when you no longer need to do that, and you start dismantling it.

Look at it from another angle. Take a typical family, mum, dad, two kids, and two wages coming in to service the lifestyle they think they need. They want the latest flat screen TV, they want several holidays a year, they want designer clothes, gym memberships, flash cars, and a big house. They do anything to get these things and end up with mounds of debt and all the worry that goes with it. When does it stop, when does it all end?  You buy more, you want more, you need to earn more to pay for more. It's like a mouse running ragged on a spinning wheel. Why not turn it around. You buy less so you don't need to earn as much. You work less hours, you have a better quality of life because money does not own you. You get off that spinning wheel.

Do you know it is such a relief that I can be me, that I can do as I like. I wake up each morning with a good feeling that it's going to be a wonderful day. I don't need to get a job because I don't need any more money. I have reached the point where I have enough.

I am not willing to trade my time for a few extra pounds in my purse. I wouldn't be any happier than I am now. There is a saying, Time rich, Cash poor. I am not even poor, in fact I am very rich, it makes me smile. Every morning I wake up and say, 'Thank you for this lovely day'.

Claire, I hope this has been of some help to you. If you are young and you, 'dont get it', I can honestly say that you will eventually.

66 comments:

  1. I agree with every thing you said. I listened to you on the radio too. Love that accent.

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  2. I think that people's attitudes to savings vary with their life situations. I have a 75 year old husband and two teenage children. That means that on one hand, I hold a savings account which I think of as a funeral fund (I'm realistic, he's in OK health and we have to think about these things) but I also have funds which I consider university funds - I will never be able to support the girls fully through university, but I will want to help them a little. Then I have money which I call the survival fund - the OH is our main source of income from his pensions, as I am only self-employed and earn a little - so the survival fund will sustain us for several months whilst I find full time work in the event that that becomes necessary. I would feel very vulnerable without savings.
    I am totally in agreement with your thoughts about not earning more. Because I do not go out to work for someone else full time, I am able to support three different areas of voluntary work in my life, and I also enjoy our lifestyle. We don't have the latest TV, we manage with freeview, and we only holiday in the UK every other year (we have a couple of days at my sister's caravan in the other years) and none of us have passports now; the girls have never had them and ours have expired. We both drive secondhand older cars, and we are content. There is a lot to be said for being satisfied with what you have got and not always aspiring to have more or better all the time!
    Thank you Ilona for this thought-provoking post!

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  3. I 'get it'.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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  4. I get it too. I'm on my way to where you are, I've just taken a new job (OK still full time) but won't need to drive an hour a day to and from work, so that's 5 hours a week more for me. Uniform is provided, so that's less expenditure. Working shifts, but lots of holiday to compensate. Downside is, bit less money, upside is nearer home, nearer grandchildren and elderly relatives... gives me flexible, reaction time. I'll have more time to grow things, make things and just ...... be!

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  5. Well articulated, I think a lot of people find it hard to accept that life can't be lived fully without copious amounts of money/savings. Maybe it's a generational thing combined with the ability to distinguish between a want and a need !

    Keep these great posts coming

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  6. What a breath of fresh air your post was. We have taken a self imposed drop in income last year (which is why I have become so interested in frugality) so me and my OH can spend more time with the kids (one has severe disabilities). We decided that we were living life the wrong way round. We needed time at home now - whilst the kids are still kids! We have a house in a lovely semi rural area, big garden for kids, great school catchment area. We really don't need much else other than food. When we were on a bigger wage, we used to always be overdrawn and in debt but now we are living absolutely within our means! If we can't afford it we do without. And yes we do feel richer, in the time we can spend together without being stressed out and rushing around, also in that we truly appreciate the small things we do buy, because we have had to wait and save and prioritise.

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  7. Sorry last post from me Debs x

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  8. Be grateful for what you have got not ungrateful for what you havent got. Thats my motto

    After 45 years of work you deserve to enjoy what ever time you have left on this earth. You have it just right with your way of life.

    Less is more

    Midlands Annie

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  9. People think that having more money makes you happier, it doesn't......
    I personally am happier when I don't have a lot of money because I make myself content with what I have and will work out how to get anything I need without much expense..and usually do.

    My Dad saved all his life for his retirement and never got there, dying well before his time.
    I have learnt from this and spend as I go within reason.
    I think you have it perfectly right Ilona.
    Briony
    x

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  10. Well, Ilona, with your safety fund you probably have as much, if not more savings than lots of people who are working in full time jobs earning lots of money, having two or three or more holidays a year. I used to work with someone whose husband worked for a nuclear company, worked part time herself and when they bought a car, they had used up ALL their savings. The joint earnings for those two would have probably been three times more than me and husband have earned, as he was self employed & took little out of the business.

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  11. Great post and like your way of thinking. If it works for you then that all that's matters.

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  12. I agree Ilona, I read years ago, a saying that I think sums it up. It said "you either have to want less or work more" I know which I'd rather do!

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  13. I always have asked people"How much money is 'enough'? Most people spend what they earn (or more) and as their income goes up, they spend that much more. I quit teaching to stay at home and work part time jobs at a lot less money because my quality of life was better. Well said! And thanks- it is needed to be said over and over!!

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  14. What is poverty? As your post indicates Ilona, you are not living in poverty - own house, car, pets, several walking trips a year. Like me you try to spend as little as possible on some things to be able to enjoy others - that's not living in poverty or being noble, it's cutting your cloth to suit your coat and living according to your own standards. I agree with Kath - I want less so I work less and life is so much richer because of it.

    Liz

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  15. Well said. If you have adequate food, heat and shelter, then you aren't living poverty. Defining how rich you by how much you have in the bank or what you own isn't a way to live. It's just consumerism. You might not have much cash, but I'd bet, bar a mortgage, you don't have debt either. Stick with your way of doing things.

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  16. I love your attitude Ilona and I agree with everything. What a wonderful way of thinking. Its a shame some people just don't get it. If they did what a much better quality of life they would have.

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  17. That was a great post Ilona!
    Jane x

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  18. I agree with all that`s been said already! If we can find our own way of living within our means and reduce the 'want', but concentrate on the 'need' we shall all live a far richer life. It`ll be rich in quality rather than quantity of belongings or cash. Ilona, you are the best example for all of us. You have made the right choices for your life and the way you want to be able to live it. Poverty is something that we don`t even truely know in this country. As long as we have a home to come to and can keep ourselves in warm clothing for the winter we do not experience poverty at all.
    Brilliantly put post from you, as ever!!

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  19. Greatat the same time. posting Ilona, I am a bit of a scrimper myself, saving water when I can, and using every scrap of food, if using the oven then its usually a bit of a bake up for the freezer. Since moving into a new house I am trying to sort the garden which is covered in blue shale stones so I cam grow some veggies, at the moment its not possible except the potato bag I have. Got some peas and beans planted in tubs and boxes so I am hoping for some results later. I have not got around to getting a furry friend yet, I have some dates in the diary when I will be away from home and I do not want to have to use catterys for a forever friend. Love all the blogs about the dogs you walk. Just been reading through the MY CAT magazine, some of the prices people are asking for a cat, I couldnt believe it £400 for a Burmese Cat or a Cornish Rex, I will be getting a rescue friend when I do get a cat, there seems to be plenty of kittens and older cats needing a forever home.
    Danneke

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  20. I think your life sounds lovely, not poverty striken!!

    I think that if/when I have kids, I would like to have savings built up to ensure I can take care of them and deal with any problems. I don't think I'll ever be one to "need" the latest posh car or a million TV channels. I watch a couple of things online each week and that's more than enough!

    I think your emergency fund is a lot more than most people have (considering a huge number or people are actually in debt!), and as long as you have enough money to lead a happy life then that's all you need!

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  21. Yes, a good post.

    I spent 30-odd years on the treadmill, married to a wife whose idea of happiness was posessions, whose hobby was shopping. I had a good income, 42 credit cards all active, a 60-80 a day cigarette addiction and a gallon of Guinness then a bottle of port every night habit, fast powerful motor car, expensive restaurant meals, foreign holidays, etc. At the same time as paying a mortgage and trying to build up a pension.

    After she decided she would prefer life without me, I was forced into homelessness, unemployment and frugality, a bit of a shock after a lot of years of stress and high living.
    Looking back (isn't hindsight wonderful) I was pretty miserable.

    Now we (my new wife) live in a rented property on about a sixth of what I used to earn, no credit cards and very little money, I smoke a cigar every other night and have a glass of beer or wine on the alternate nights. I have time to potter in the garden and do things I want to do.

    I've never been happier.

    I hope my ex is as happy with her millionaire boy-friend.

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  22. What a great post Ilona, and a sentiment I totally agree with. My father in law, worked all his life, saved for retirement and died before he reaped the benefits.

    I think when we are younger we want it all. as we get older we realise we don't need or want it all.
    It all comes down to personal choice and being happy with our lot.

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  23. Ilona, you are indeed very rich! Take care,
    Jille xx

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  24. Very good post.

    A friend of mine has worked his way up to a £70K pa job, and over £100K in savings, but he is not happy, has no partner, or many friends.

    His idea of a good time is to get drunk, and try and bed any willing woman he can find.

    I'm quite happy to go for a walk in the country and play with my dogs.

    I'm by no means wealthy, and could do with paying down some bills, but my main goal is to pay the mortgage off early so my wife can work part time and enjoy her life.

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  25. Wonderful post, I will admit when you said you had no savings I was a bit taken back, ack what about emergencies. I should have known better, you have it all under control. Well done!

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  26. will say the comments were as interesting as your post......

    Gill in Canada

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  27. If only more people thought like you Ilona, and got off the "treadmill", the world wouldn't be in such a financial and environmental mess!
    Keep spreading the word.

    Dianne in Australia

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  28. I'm one of your new lurkers. :) I just have to say, this was a great post! You explained exactly how I feel about life & money.

    You are rich indeed when you are spending your time as you want, your dogs, riding bikes and visiting friends!

    Thanks for your blog, looking forward to reading more!

    Lindy

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  29. Wonderful post. Wise words as always.
    Dan

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  30. Hi Gill, you are spot on there, the comments are just as interesting, some even better than my post. I'm pleased that it has brought more stories from like minded people. Yay, we are on this journey together.

    My £3,000 as I said are not savings, I would spend it tomorrow if I had to. It is working capitol. I may even use some of it for a few trips out this year. I can happily drop a grand or two and not panic.

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  31. I'm a bit late catching this one - but fantastic post MQ - there's nothing much anyone can add here - I agree 150% with everything you said and very, very interesting comments too.
    You certainly didn't have to justify your way of life at all, but in doing so and being so 'open' about your situation, I hope a few more folks 'get it' soon.
    Cumbrian - well done !

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  32. Spot on Ilona with the post. I've never understood consumerism and why people are so caught up in it. Friends of mine spend hundreds of dollars on clothes and other fancy things that I don't even notice or care about in the slightest. Material things may provide some with a degree of comfort, but it's not long lasting and then to get more comfort, they've got to up their game and buy something bigger and better. It's not sustainable.

    Surely, the best things in life a free!

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  33. Spot on Ilona, I think you should change your name from Mean Queen to Wise Queen. Love reading about your life xx

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  34. Brilliant post, Ilona. I am SO grateful that I couldn't care less about owning a designer handbag or a pair of shoes for each colour of the rainbow. Give me a supermarket carrier and my walking boots any day! Having less money and more time definitely does make you appreciate things more. Like you, I regard going for a coffee or buying a chocolate bar as a real treat, and probably get far more pleasure from these small things that a lot of people get from expensive purchases that they make on a regular basis. My hobbies are walking, reading, gardening and cooking, and you don't need much money to enjoy these to the full. You have got it SO right and the many people who follow your blog and share your values are testament to this.

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  35. Sounds like you have ample strategies to enjoy your lifestyle so you are rich.
    It isn't as though you have no income at all which would mean cutting back constantly until there was no more lee way.
    I think for many people, they see life as the same for everyone so ,when someone presents them with a different scenario,they see a picture of their own life,remove the bits they don't have in their life and then whatever remains, must be the result.

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  36. I wish my mum would 'get it'... She doesn't realise that it's not all about the designer labels and expensive gym memberships she doesn't use.

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  37. Fantastic post and comments. I know exactly where you are coming from Ilona.
    I am one of the 10% "I have woken up". My partner was a financial advisor for a bank and saw loads of customers who had saved all their lives for their retirement
    but never got to enjoy their money or time together because one of them had died.
    They used to say to him "if you have got plans,don't wait, do it now" because we only have the "now". So we packed in work, bought a motorhome and travelled for a year. We had a great year meeting lots of interesting people with the same attitude.
    I live a simple life which doesn't mean I do without, I do it by choice.
    There is a experiment you can do that will show you just how precious your time is. Make a graph of 900 squares, each square representing one month of your life up to the age of 75. Then comes the scary bit.. cross off each square up to the age you are now. How many squares are left? Since I did that it really put everything into perspective.
    We owe it to ourselves to be happy and no amount of money can buy time.

    http://www.powerfulinformation.org/page.cfm?pageid=pi-poverty


    Evie.

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  38. A wonderful post, from a lady with lots of commonsense and a real zest for life.

    Well said Ilona.

    Sue xx

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  39. Wonderful, wonderful answer. I totally agree with you. So many believe that if they work harder they will have more money. Truth is they are taxed more, and they generally increase their lifestyle thereby NEEDING to work more. Very few people actually are saving the extra money they make. Most have a mindset that they deserve more, bigger house, better car, holidays....etc. I am in Canada. The first thing most people do when they make more, is buy a bigger house. That in turn means higher utility bills, therefore any reduction in pay would be a hardship.

    Money can be gone in a heartbeat. People who thought they were set in the U.S lost hundreds of thousands of dollars from retirement accounts. Or how about the poor old 92 year old man in the U.S who had to find another job after Bernie Madoffs ponzi scheme fell apart taking this mans lifes work with it. There is no security in having mounds of money in the bank. It is far wiser to need less, than to have to make more. There may come a day when making more will not be possible, and people are forced to live on less. Meanqueen is already lightyears ahead of most.

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  40. The sort of poverty we see in the third world is extreme poverty. What we have is a lot of is relative poverty or the perception of it everywhere. Folk who have expensive homes, foreign holidays, pets, cars etc. and cry poor house most of the time and compare themselves to the weathy. You do have wealth built up in your home which you may have to tap into eventually and that is a form of saving and means you will not be a burden on the state. I know the prices are depressed right now but they will increase eventually. You also have quite a healthy emergency fund which is good to have. If you see it in the library read The Millionaire Next Door - a really eye-opener as to who has wealth and who just had a load of debt.

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  41. Dear Ilona, you have explained this far more beautifully than all the TV talking-head so-called experts and far more eloquently than all the experts and book authors have ever managed. I'm going to retire in a couple of months, and lots of my friends so "it's too early, you're too young" and my answer is always But I have enough. Thank you for all that you write and share.

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  42. One more thought: I found a saying that I printed and keep with me: "Let me live simply so that others can simply live."

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  43. Lizzie we also do have extreme poverty such as Ilona relates to third world. I pretty much will end up like this soon - without income I will be unable to buy food and very probably will end up homeless. This is because my poorly paid job will end soon and I have been told I probably wont get benefit..Try not to generalise. That's my rule of thumb in life.

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  44. I have received this message from a member of Martin's Money Saving Expert forum. I'm sure the writer wont mind if I copy it here. I'll leave it anonymous.

    Hi Ilona

    I just wanted to send you a quick message after reading your blog today.

    I have actually been reading the blog for a month or so.

    I just wanted to say I really do admire you. I have no idea how old the young lady was who wrote to you but believe you are totally correct in your answer.

    I remember as a little girl spending time with my grandmother who lived in the country and had very little money. Yet most of my happiest memories are from spending time with her, either picking berries for her to make jam, playing cards on a saturday night with cousins (nanny used to give us some pennies from the jar for the night and those we won, we kept)
    I know in my own life I have wanted to attain a good lifestyle both for me and my family and have learnt the hard way (by racking up debts) that people (friends and family ) should love us for what we are not what we can give in monetary terms.

    My hope is now to clear my debts, pay off my mortgage and still be around long enough to enjoy my darling grandson who was born last year.

    Thank you again and I hope you don't mind me sending this message

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  45. Although I read all of your posts, this is one of my favourites! It makes sense and it's beautifully argued. I 'get it' to a certain extent, but I often wander from the path.
    Dan
    -x-

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  46. I think unless you have actually been to Africa it is difficult to appreciate what extreme poverty is. In Britain no one is going to starve, not be able to go to the doctor or, unless they have other problems, die by the side of the road or in a ditch and no one retrieves their body for any kind of burial and animals end up eating it. In the U.K. there is emergency food help, "free" medical care, homeless shelters etc. heat allowance for the elderly etc.; not much of that is available in the third world and the poor own absolutely nothing except the rags they wear. I think until you have been without a pair shoes to wear or seen someone eat your old chicken carcass that has been in your garbage in the sweltering heat for 10 days............................
    When I point this out to people they get angry and say we cant compare ourselves to those people..............why not ?

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  47. I know, people do get angry when I suggest they are luckier than most of the people in the world. They say "we cant compare ourselves with those people !" I once watched a barefoot man going through my garbage in Kenya and fish out a chicken carcass which had been in there in the sweltering heat for a week and eat it. He was nt mentally ill or on drugs and probably had a shack to live in.........he was just poor. No emergency food aid, no "free" medical care, no homeless shelter no possessions , no winter heating allowance, no pension or benefit and certainly no chance of any kind of job or access to a computer or cell phone or electricity or plumbing come to that. However little we think we have we surely have to be grateful as compared with him most of us are downright spoilt.

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  48. I'm time rich, cash poor too -- largely by design. Every time our income goes up, I try to work less hours until it evens out; when my partner's business can work better without him/he isn't excited by every little thing about it, he'll do the same too.

    We do have an emergency fund and savings but would rather have more time to potter than more things or a bigger balance in the bank, especially as that pottering often makes it easier to live more frugally (eg, growing our own veg/baking/making stuff).

    I'm only 32 so I don't know if I'll continue like this for the rest of my life (or indeed whether it's a wise thing to do now!) but I love it -- hurray for living in the now! :)

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  49. a wonderful Post Ilona,and such great comment's,and i think you are rich,and a great role model,and i'm right there behind you,xx

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  50. Ilona, I think the most important question is are you happy and the answer is obviously yes - good on ya!!
    Twiggyx

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  51. Hi Ilona
    Thanks for the great post. I have just lost my job due to redundancy so it was very timely!
    You are an inspiration :)
    Mabel

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  52. Great post Ilona. I have fond memories of being raised in the Bahamas, we lived off the land. We fished, had sheep and goats and harvested crops. I guess that would be considered as living in poverty too since we did not have much if any savings at the time but we were so happy, healthy and content that I could care less. We had all we needed to survive and even thrive. Truth is, when you have to chase a pay check you are like a hamster on a wheel. You never get anywhere and you are pursuing an illusion instead of really LIVING. I decided to get off the wheel and I couldn't be happier.

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  53. I read you each day and appreciate all that you share. I have learned much from your sharing.I
    was in hospital for a few days so am now reading
    to get up to date. This is an outstanding post.
    I also find all the responses enlightening. I find
    so many things in your blog which help. I wish
    we in the USA could listen to some of the talk programs, but can not get them here.I live on a fixed income of social security. Ilona, your
    advice is a blessing to me.

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  54. Great post Iona. I am going to post snippets from your post in my diary, as a reminder of why I want to cut back and enjoy life more. You tru;y are an inspiration. Thank-you.

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  55. I'm catching up on my blog reading today so I'm a little late with commenting but I wanted to share how I feel about this.

    My DH is 71 and I'm 65. We're retired and we both worked full-time all our lives. Sure, we took a reduction in our income but it's been worth the freedom to do what we want to do. We're both in good health, but that may not last...who knows?...so we're enjoying what we can while we can. We've never had a "portfolio" or huge savings because we had enough to live on and that's all. We're actually better off now than when we were working. We've learned to live within our means and we don't want to take cruises or any of that stuff. It just doesn't interest us. We fly out to California (we live in Pennsylvania) every other year to see our grown kids but that's the extent of our "traveling". I don't need work clothes any more so I very seldom shop. If I need something, I look in the thrift stores first. We eat out once a month as a "treat" but I make all our meals otherwise. I love to cook and bake (I make our own bread) and I have a pantry with basic canned goods and we have a freezer that we keep our meat in. We go to the butcher's every few months and stock up on chicken, hamburg, pork butt, and steaks. My DH also fishes (we live close to several lakes) and brings home lake perch and walleye that go in the freezer. I'm content to be at home, work in the yard in the summer, go for walks, read, sew, crochet, bake, cook, and sit out on our back deck with my DH and watch the turkey and deer out in the field.

    People make life so complicated. I use to do the same thing for many years. I may have to watch our money a little closer now but I'm happy to do it for the freedom of being "uncomplicated". When we moved from TX to PA 4 years ago we could have bought a bigger, more expensive house...but why??? We like our ranch-style house on 3/4 of an acre about 1 1/2 miles from town in the country. It suits us just fine.

    I think Clare must be young and she doesn't understand that life is so short and as you get older your priorities change. Perhaps hers will too.

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  56. Lizzie with respect tho I agree with you and you make many very good points, I have to admit that I am a tad offended by your comments auch as noone is going to starve etc. When my job ends and I wont get benefit and my money runs out I will be faced with no income, leading to no money for food and rent etc with nobody to bail me out. Please do not generalise until you have met and spoken to and know the circumstances of EVERYONE in Britain.No offence but I think everyone in general needs to face up to the fact we will be getting real actual poverty in the UK soon.

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    1. Athyn, why will you not be getting benefits when your job ends? can you not apply for jobseeker's allowance? Also there are measures to pay rent for those unemployed ... I recently had my job end but am getting job seeker's allowance. No rental assistance as I have too much money in the bank. Do check ... I am sure there are services for you.

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  57. This morning I realised i'd run out of deodorant, cotton buds and cucumber cleanser whilst spraying some perfume on when getting ready for work - "oh i'll have to stock up on toiletries this weekend" i said to my husband. Then it hit me like a thunderbolt from nowhere - if i was in Syria at this moment would I be thinking about toiletries, no i flipping wouldn't. What a Western softie I am. I Love reading your blog and you are a natural photographer - your photos are fab xxx Liz from Wales.

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  58. Hello dear, long time no comment...

    Totally in agreement with your sentiments - I have now been 'unemployed' for 6 years and enjoying every minute. I am in free bus pass territory and enjoy my time gardening, reading, decorating, crafting, cooking - anything and everything except working for a living. Money? Well, there is enough coming in to meet the essentials, but who needs more than that? Richness is all about the heart and soul, not possessions.

    More power to our elbows!

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  59. Ilona you are rich. You have no fear of being homeless.I do am so scared not in any debt , only ever pay in cash. Save every penny i can. Have a job i hate but no choice . worked 30 years am 47. would love a way out.regards Kirrie

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  60. Hello Albedo, wondered what happened to you. Sounds like you are enjoying the good life.

    Hi lizzie tish, that made me smaile, Western softie, I reckon there are a lot of those about, ha ha.

    Hi Colleen, sounds like you have got it just right.

    Mary I hope you are feeling better, after your hospital stay.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories.

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  61. Still working my way forward! But wanted to say that this has been one of the best posts (and replies) so far :)

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