Friday, June 10, 2011

Standards Of Living

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.


  1. Amen! I just had this conversation the other day...funny how great minds think a like. I get told all the time that I "wouldn't be so busy if I didn't make more work for myself." Really? Because you wouldn't have debt collectors calling you or feel sick all the time if you quit going out to eat constantly and going to the bar. It's a perspective thing. My opinion or way to see it is this: you don't tell me about my business and I'll make sure I keep my mouth shut about yours. Between me and you though, it's totally not working. I still kept hearing, "Well, what you need to do..." About now I think I could go out and shoot my cell phone with the .22...LOL

  2. I agree mostly with what you say. It's no ones biz how you choose to live. Some people choose to live on the street because they don't want to be part of the "establishment". So ok. Long as they don't ask me for something that's ok. Then I know some people that want to live as simply as possible going without a lot of stuff but paying for cigarettes. Or how about spending their money on organic locally grown produce but smoking? Yikes!They don't have cable tv but choose to have the internet and extra cell phones for the kids. I actually know 3 of those and wish I could do that but the other members of my family scream bloody murder when I suggest it. Just don't see the point in paying for 300 channels and having nothing to watch but the news which is all bad anyway. I think at some point we may be forced to live simpler lives through no direct fault of our own. Those who are closer to living that way will have an easier time adjusting. Hope that's me.

  3. You put that wonderfully! I bundled my land phone, cable and internet but the only reason I have that is because I need it for work. We had two Tracphones but got rid of one just this month. We only had them for emergencies anyway. There are always ways to save. It might hurt to begin with but you always adapt. Maybe if the cellphone satellites all went down people would actually talk to each other rather than call or text them. Although I think the younger people would have a hard time getting used to such a thing. Hope your sale goes well. Did you ever get your turbine up?

  4. Good post, its not only about your standard of living, but how you choose you live it. See for me I went against all that I was raised around and moved to a neighborhood, with houses on both sides and behind me. This decision has somewhat alienated me from my family in that if I want to see them I have to go to them, But I enjoy where I live and the good neighbors that surround me. I just recently bought a new to us used car. I think I heard someone say I sold my soul to the devil, referring to my mortgaged house and my financed car. I guess what Im getting at is that everyones lifestyle is different. like you said if you want to run your A/C at 72, and you can afford it, then by god do it.

  5. Good post. My wife and I sold our house and bought a fixer-upper away from the busy bodys of town. People asked us why would we want to do something like that. We are retired. Most people do it the opposite. Retire and move out of the country. We like the peace and quiet of country living. Sure we are a ways from emergency help, but that is our choice and our choice alone. Once again good post. Really enjoy your blogs. Read them daily.

  6. You know, I live without many of the modern conveniences others take so much for granted. I did choose to live this way tho. Sometimes I really miss the AC, LOL Most months we get by on a wing and a prayer because once you're down and behind, it takes a very long time to catch up. It kills me that the first response from people is that I should run down and sign up for welfare and sell everything THEY think I don't need. Well, everything I have is paid for except my farm so why would I sell it? I'd only have to replace it down the road if I choose to continue on my journey. You know, I havent worked my hind end off for the last 18 years becoming more and more self sustained, feeding myself, etc to run down and sign up for welfare. How is food stamps going to help me grow my own food???? It sure wont fix the broken truck or the leaky roof or the broken machinery I need to make a living with. Now I have to write a blog post, LOL!

  7. Being that this drew some long and great comments I just now had the time to comment back.

    Mandy - I don't understand people and why they think they know best when them themselves could use a good talking too. Maybe one day they will wake up.

    sista - You agreed mostly, so what is it that you did not agree on? I agree with the fact the people who live as close to simple as possible will have an easier time when it all goes away. The people I have talked with do not believe anything will ever happen so they chose to live that lavished lifestyle. I say If "It" doesn't happen then oh well, at least I was ready.

    Denise - You are right, the younger people would not know how to live. Most of the age 30 and below have never had to go without and cannot even begin to think about it. Their going without consists of being grounded from the cell phone.

    Livininthecity - Remember, you said you are the one that moved away from what you and your family has ever known. Maybe they feel uncomfortable in that environment. I am not casting judgment, defending them or taking sides with you either. This is from an outsider looking at just one post.
    I don't know how far you are from the rest of the family but if you were right down the road then they would not have an excuse not to come and visit. Like I said, I don't know yall's situation and am sure you did not want all this but it is your choice to live the way you do and they do not have the right to chastise you for it. I have been there when I bought that big brick house with the big mortgage payment and all the family could say was how dumb I was for doing it. I never asked them for a dime to help make the payment but they all gave me their two "cents".
    Good luck with it and throw a party or two. That will bring them out of the hills.

    John - Thanks for the complement on the blog. You did the same as my parents. They moved from the big farm and retired to a little smaller one further back in the country. They are so far back there you almost need to pump air to them. Congrats on not following the normal and good luck with it all.

    mmpaints - I did not understand when I read that. Why would people tell you to get on government assistance, especially the people who are interested and read our kinds of blogs. Are we all not trying to lessen our dependance from them. I have never taken a free meal from the government and never will. I do understand it is there for the right people and can help if you really need it. I am not against it or people using it. I am against the abuse of it.
    Keep on doing your thing and I hope it gets easier for you.