One of my favorite bloggers Ms. Mintly posted a question in the comments of one of my previous posts asking: “how can there simultaneously never be enough money in our household but also so much more than others have?” I have been thinking a lot about this recently. The other day, I actually wondered if I am living paycheck to paycheck. Obviously I know that I am not in the way we typically describe it. First, I am choosing to work part-time which is a blessing! Our only debt is the mortgage which my whole paycheck is going to paying off early (and not living expenses). Clearly we have enough money!
However, our budget is always stretched to the limit and I am always counting down the days to the next paycheck. I wish this was a sign of effective budgeting but it isn’t. There is very little room if an extra expense pops up. We spend right down to our last dollar and sometimes more. I don’t believe we are living super extravagantly at all. While we don’t accumulate stuff, we value taking trips to see our family who live many states away from us. Our splurge items are activities for the kids, food (my husband and I are recovering foodies) and monthly house cleaning service. More often than not, our expenses have a way of working themselves out.
But why do I feel like I am poor and there is never enough money? I need to resolve these feelings and get to a place of gratitude and contentment. If I am to truly live a frugal, minimalism lifestyle, I need to address the lack of congruence between feeling like I don’t have enough money and the reality of our financial situation. I decided to try to explore the topic of the emotions of finances. The first book I chose to read is titled “Lost and Found” by Geneen Roth (mostly because she has a chapter called “Hyperventilating at Target”). In this book, Roth describes the events that let up to her losing her entire savings and how she emotionally recovered. Much of the book I could not relate to as she describes in endless detail the aversion she had towards focusing on money. Yeah, I don’t have that problem; actually I have the opposite problem. Despite how much I wanted to reach through the book and strangle her for her naivety, I made it through. There was one quote that has stuck with me:
Enough isn’t an amount; it’s a relationship to what you already have. Geneen Roth
I don’t have deep insight to share, but this quote seems to get to the core of my issue. There is something about my relationship with what I have that is faulty. Maybe I still have this unrealistic image of what our finances should be. Or maybe I have a lack gratitude for plenty in my life. I am going to continue exploring this topic and hopefully improve my relationship with all that I already have.
If you have any thoughts, suggestions, tips, recommendations on good books to read, I’d love hear about it!