I am not rich. My income is in one of the lower brackets. However, I'm making more money now that I have in the last few years. Truth? I kind of miss being poor.
Sure, I know that I'm in a good place. I have stability and am saving for a house of my own. I own my truck, and am not without anything I need. I suppose I should be glad, but I still long for some of the aspects of my lower-income life.
When the stock market crashed in 2008, my business failed and Trucker's hours were cut back. Once I got a job after 3 months of looking, I still only got 15 hours a week. Trucker was working 25. Since we were living in Chicago, rent was high. We had very little money left after paying rent and our utility bills. I only had $10 a week for groceries and had only a few bucks (literally) left for fun money. We were really happy.
We had lots of time to explore our city and spend time together. We played board games, went swimming in Lake Michigan, and used the library extensively. -
We had dollar date night twice a week. It wasn't anything particularly grand, but we had some of our best dates during that time. For example, McDonald's rolled out their McCafe and gave away free 6 oz lattes on Mondays. We would walk a mile to the nearest location, each would get a latte and we'd purchase two pies for $1. We would sit and laugh together or walk around the neighborhood. Other times, Baskin Robbins had 59c ice cream cones on Wednesdays, or Dunkin Donuts would offer 25c iced coffee. During the worst month, we would walk to the grocery store and get a 25c soda from the vending machine to split as we'd take a two hour long walk.
We would spend one of our many days off by walking to the Chicago Public Library and check out a museum pass. We would walk or bike several miles away to enjoy the displays. We went to nearly every free festival in the city, from Blues Fest to Celtic Fest. We went to the free movies in Millennium Park.
We didn't have money, and sometimes did without the things we needed (such as new socks; ours were darned over and over). We weren't saving for future goals, and we weren't very secure. But we had something that is too easily lost: time. What we lacked in funds, we more than made up in creativity and innovation. We weren't bored and it was the time that we first really got to know each other and became incredible friends.
I may never be in such dire circumstances again, and I should hope to never be so close to the edge. However, I try to find a balance, somewhere between enough time and enough money.