I just read this post at Remodeling this life regarding perception of finances by others. The last line of which is "So what if someone thinks your poor? They won’t think so 30 years from now when you’re retired on the beach in Panama ." I have to agree. I wish we would stop thinking that poor = bad and unhappy life. I challenge all of you to find a study that proves having more money leads to less stress and happiness. I wager that you will never find such a study. I don't know who originally said that happiness comes from wanting what you have, not having what you want. That is very true.
I would love for our friends to think that we are poor. We aren't by any stretch of the imagination. Perhaps after we have a baby and I quit my job we will be. But we aren't right now. We do save a lot (what I think is a lot) of money each month. I've started learning about investing and hope to have a few thousand in the stock market by the end of the Summer. You're supposed to buy low, right? Well, it's low right now. This does mean that we have to say "no" to our friends when it comes to certain activities. We can't eat $150 sushi dinners every week. We can't go to the movies every weekend. We can't go to concerts every month. And it's not because we can't afford to. We choose not to spend our money that way. We choose to have a healthy savings account. We choose to not have any debt. One day these won't be choices made from discipline; they will be choices made from necessity. Which means we can sleep at night knowing we are building a secure financial future for our family.
Two friends of mine recently got married and they could not be more opposite in the finance department. He is a thingsy person and likes to have the best of stuff. She is Miss Frugal. He gets mad at her for shopping at second hand stores for clothes. She kept asking him why. He finally yelled at her that she makes him feel poor. He's never been poor his whole life, so I'm not sure how he would know what it feels like. But wouldn't it be better to feel poor rather than to actually be poor? I think so.
I hope we continue to learn ways to be frugal. I hope we improve our self-discipline and learn how to eat out less and cook more. I hope we continue to be proud of how we don't spend money, even if that means others may think we are poor. I hope we can pass these values on to our children so that they will not believe the lie that money can buy happiness.