I grew up in a culture where money wasn’t really spoken about: we had neither too little nor a lot. The one thing that was instilled in me from very young is that debt is unacceptable, and I have kept this value all my life… I would never get in debt for anything, except a house/apartment purchase. I paid for my studies by working through, and by getting my father to pay the child support he was supposed to pay – this meant I had to take him to court for it. So I’ve always been quite responsible for my money, even while eating – I’d never get in debt even for the food, no matter how compulsive I was about it. I’d just buy cheaper stuff.
I don’t have a problem with debt or overspending, but I’m certainly an under-earner. I’m aware that I could quite easily make at least 50% more than I do now, by working for profit. But I made my choice to work in non-profit, where the salaries are lower but I know that my work has meaning beyond money. I find it very hard to care about work when it’s just about money, and then I find I don’t do a good job. This is a luxury, of course… my choice. If I chose to work elsewhere, I feel I would trade my happiness & satisfaction for… what? Right now, as it is, I can afford a modest rental (enough to pay for a room in shared accommodation – the fact that I live in a house by myself, paying only what I would pay for a room, is only thanks to God’s provision)… I can afford to run my car… I can afford reasonable food.
I even have some luxuries! The fact that I can afford a flight to go to America for two weeks proves it. Sure, I keep my belt tight, but this means I can afford the big things like that flight, that I want.
This situation is very different to how it was before I moved to Reading, because living in Winchester I was spending a big percentage of my income on commuting… and there came a point where I felt I simply couldn’t go on, that quality of life was missing. It’s much better now.
Writing all this down is actually really interesting. Interesting, because before I wrote it I wasn’t consciously aware that I actually live in economic freedom, in many ways. I just keep a very tight reign on every Pound I spend.
Time… I don’t know what to say about time. I have as much as everyone else… I do manage it, and I do lots of things with it…