Friday, October 22, 2010

I don't know how the poor people do it.

I live pretty thrifty and generally don't have any problem with not being able to afford much. I am saving, I don't eat out, I wear eBay and goodwill finds. I go for a couple months staying away from any temptations (like eBay), not feeling deprived or anything of that kind. Recently, thanks to a forgotten return, I suddenly had a comfortable cushion of a few hundred dollars on my account. Normally I live juggling between savings and checking accounts, visiting my bank site pretty often, scared of an overdraft. Most of the months I am ending just above zero or have to get something from savings to safe myself from overdraft penalty.
Suddenly I could do shopping without trying to remember how much exactly I had left, I knew that buying a $30 of grocery wouldn't be a risk. I couldn't help it and went on eBay, bought a few clothing items, shoes, posters for classroom and home, some tchatchkes for home and considered much more with the wonderful thought that I could afford them if I only wanted them. It was nice to go to Marshall's and buy $13 shower curtain because it was pretty, without constant thinking that maybe I shouldn't, that it's too expensive. It felt so... normal. I actually thought "so that's what wealthier people shop like". I still felt guilt, I still felt I should rather put it all away into savings... but it felt so good... Now I will have to again tie up the belt as usual, watch the account, be careful and think twice over each item... but it was kind of therapeutic.

And I just wonder how poor people do it. I had a "vacation" from the thrifty routine (even if still thrifty, as I don't buy in regular stores), a fresh breath before jumping back under water. And I don't have to choose between better food or new jacket for a kid. I have nice clothes (even if second-handed), I can afford medicine, therapy and visits to specialists. I have a health care, good job, computer and tv set. I have a nice, spacious apartment with all needed furniture and appliances. I don't have a car, but it's fine, I walk a lot and use a bus.

I don't need much, I don't obsess or run around full of envy. I have wishes and dreams (travels!), but am not bitter for not being able to fulfill them now. But I just wish I could relax when buying simple things, everyday necessities, second-hand clothes or old decorative stuff. The chronic stress is very tiring.