I was reading one of the blogs I subscribe to the other day and the lady was talking about some of the hardships she was going through. One of her readers chastised her for the way she and her husband are choosing to live and told her to just stop living that way and everything will be ok.
I can relate to that instance because I have had people tell me the same thing and that my problems are because I live above my means.
Modern technology has made it where it is virtually impossible to live without it. Don't get me wrong a person can still live, but they would be completely disconnected from everything and everybody. In my work truck right now I have four cell phones (only one is mine), two GPS tracking units and a internet lap top computer. It is sad, but I could not do business without them. I am connected more than I ever wanted to be.
About being connected, I read about people living off the grid but still have the internet. I know that the term "Grid" is not talking about that but to me it is, you are still connected to the world by either a land line or satellite. When I think of "Off the grid" I think of the Ingles on Little House On The Prairie. It is sad that those days are long gone and given the chance, I don't know if we could handle that hard of a living anymore so we all buy into the notion that easy living comes with a hefty price and we gladly pay it. Some less than others but still we use some modern way to live easy all the same. Even if it is AC or just a refrigerator and why not? We work for the money to pay for it. It is there to use at our disposal and if it makes life easier than again, why not? Where is that fine line between "old school" and "new wave" and why is there a line anyway?.I will save that one for another post.
My job requires me to talk to people all day long. I use the time more as an interview process than anything else. By asking questions I find out how people live, what they do on their off times, how they relax and from all that I gather what their standards of living are like.
One instance is, a guy I talked with refuses to pay for a TV service, so he does not have one. It's not that he can't afford it, it's just that he does not want to pay to watch comericals. Another one does not own a televison because he said it is a waste of money and kills the brain cells, but on the weekends he stays at the casinos drinking and gambling. I am not judging him, I just thought is was kinda counter productive.
I draw the line, with AC. I could care less about all the phones, computers, internet, good clothes and fancy trucks, but I have to have air conditioning. AC is by far the best invention mankind ever made.
All and all the people I talk to never really pay it much mind that they are paying other people for services to live a easier life. I usually end our conversations by asking them what could they live without. 90% of the time they respond, they would not choose to live without any of it.
It is obvious that living above ones means is when you have more money going out than coming in, but for some it is living above what others think you are in tilted to.
I am asked all the time why I bought that Nissan truck. They go on to tell me I could have saved money and bought I cheaper one. Here is the way I look at it, if I was asking them for money to make the truck payment then I would expect them to get in my business but I don't. Never-the-less, they still feel that it is their duty to inform me of what they think I should have done. If I had an old truck that was broke down most of the time then the same people would critize me for that as well and then call my white trash.
Why do people feel the need to fix our problems? My buddy said I needed a credit card because there is no way you can live without them in today's world. I am going on 11 years now without any. Yes, I do agree that a credit card would be nice when I need something right now. The problem is, his standard of living is a little higher than mine. Where I would settle on something used, cheap and ugly, he wouldn't.
I tend to do the same thing to other people. When someone is complaining about being broke and down on their luck I tend to give them my advice when I am in no better shape then they are. My nephew was saying that his truck was broke down and he was a foot but in the same breath he showed me his new tattoos. Yup, I gave him my two cents right then and there even when I could not afford the tattoos that were on his arm.
Ask anyone and they have the perfect system or at least they think they do. So how can one persons standard of living be the same as the next? What works for them might not work for me and vice-versa. I know several old farmers that drive around in junky old trucks but have new tractors. It's their business and their choice so why should I think all because it is not what I would do, then it is wrong. I know that tractor is making them money and if they wanted to buy a new truck they would, but the average person sees only what they want too and then jumps to conclusions.
Right now it takes almost $4000 a month to run my household and that's without saving a dime. I do not live a lavish lifestyle or have any extras so to speak. I have gone through the budget and if I got rid of the cell phones, TV and internet I could save $500 a month. By getting rid of all those extras would my standard of living increase or decrease? My living above my means would decrease but without those conveniences of technology then the standard of living would drop you would think.
Not necessarily, If I was dependent on those things for money and they were taking away from me then yes my standardized way of life would decrease. But if I really don't need them and was able to live without all that, then living would increase with the money I am saving now. I think it's all in your perspective.
I admire the person who lives how they want too. If they want to spend it all then let them. If they want to complain about being broke and down on their luck then let them, it is their right to do so. It is their choice to live their dream, not ours. If they ask you for money, then you can get in their business but until then, just let them live the way they want too and stop with all the "you should haves" and "I would do it different". If I want to set my AC at 72 degrees and then complain about the electric bill I will. My standard of living is just that, mine even if it is above my means.