Tuesday, January 12, 2016

why poverty luxe?

last week i outlined what the poverty luxe lifestyle is, now today i want to talk about why we live poverty luxe. i mean, why dont we just dave ramsay ourselves to financial freedom? why dont we just work a million side-hustles to make more money? why dont we devote ourselves to being as frugal as humanly possible to save every penny we can? why dont we just accept that were poor and live "like poor people are supposed to"?

well, the short answer to that is because none of that is what we want. in fact, some of that is stuff weve tried, and frankly, it doesnt make us happy. why? (again, short answer here), is because all of those lifestyles require being obsessed with money: how much you have, how much you want to have, and how youre going to get it. 

the long answer is that while weve always struggled financially, ive always had expensive taste, and james has always had expensive hobbies. to make things even more difficult, neither of us were taught good financial management skills growing up. as you can imagine, our first couple of years were bad and the life we had made for our family looked nothing like what either of us wanted. we (and by we i mostly mean i) were pretty dang miserable: no matter what we did, we were always out of money with nothing much to show for it. 

after that i spent a lot of time reading about personal finance: different rules, different plans, different methods, and nothing really worked for us. a lot of the information out there operates under the assumption that you make plenty of money but are irresponsible with how you spend it (which is exactly the opposite of our problem), that youre trying to pay off a ton of debt (we didnt have any debt until this last year and only have a modest balance on one credit card because james had a bad year while i was in school), or that any kind of extravagance is completely off limits until you have a certain amount of money in the bank (im not even going to go in to why i despise this mindset). and dont even get me started on the kinds of stuff i found while looking for frugal living tips...

we wanted to make a better life for ourselves, both in the short term and the long term, but we also wanted to make sure that we werent saving "enjoying life" for some unknown (and not guaranteed) future time when wed have enough money to "deserve" nice things. 

so we learned. we adapted. we applied what we could from the research i had done but disregarded the rest. we figured out what was important to us and what wasnt. we figured out exactly where our money went and why we were running out every month. we cut back where we could to make room for the "luxuries" that made us happy (healthy food, disneyland, nice clothes, dinners out, etc.). weve spent the past five years figuring out the balance between the money we have and the life we want, and I'm glad we did, because even though we dont have a lot, were at least taking steps to making a life that makes us happy instead of making ourselves miserable doing what other people say we should do. 

and now, im going to start sharing some of the tips and tricks so that you can learn to love living the broke life too. its possible, i promise. 

are you out there living the broke life too? what do you want to learn? 
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