As I was cleaning out my filing cabinet today I came across a box of old check registers. Before throwing them out I flipped through them to see our past financial history. What was interesting is that I forgot how hard I hard to juggle things previously. Just six years ago our family of, at that time, 4 lived off $285 a week.
That's $1,140 a month.
While it was hard, we made it. We had very little debt then (just a credit card for a lawn mower and dryer). I've had a checking account since I was 11 years old (that means 18 years now!) and even at our lowest I never once have bounced a check.
Six years later I don't have to juggle our finances as much. We have more leeway and freedom on what we need/want to buy. Even with that leeway, I'm careful not to overspend and not to spend every penny that comes in.
We've all heard the saying that "our spending adjusts to our income." Meaning, the more we make the more we typically spend. Unfortunately, it's too often true. If someone is barely able to scrape by at $2,000 a month, why is it when their income is at $2,500 they are still having the same struggles? At $3,000 they complain they don't have enough?
It reminds me of the Bible verse Ecclesiastes 5:10: "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income."
We Americans are spoiled. We complain about the mortgage in our Mcmansions while others live in a structure composed of cardboard walls and ceilings made of tarps. We complain about our grocery bills when others struggle to put one meal of rice on the table daily. We buy new wardrobes yearly while others wear rags.
I use the term "we" loosely. Even those of us who are on limited budgets in the US are still ricer than the majority of the world. Count yourself lucky if you have a warm shelter to live in, 3 meals a day, and clothing to protect us from the elements. Having those three things indeed makes you rich.
The point of this ramble is that we need to change our thinking when it comes to our finances. When is enough enough? What number would make you happy? If you are struggling, is it because you aren't making enough or is it because you are spending too much? I hope you'll ponder these questions, as they are the start to a financially comfortable future.