Are You Used to a Crummy Financial Life?

They say you can get used to anything. While I don’t believe that’s entirely true, we sure can get used to a lot of things things — even if they’re crummy.

What does that mean for us, money-wise?

It means we do things like staying in a low-paying or dead-end job, selling ourselves short and reducing our long term earnings potential.

It means we get used to just barely scraping by and not having anything in savings. This leaves our future selves in trouble, but the present seems more worrying than the abstract future.

Or we get used to eating out all the time, without thinking about the health and financial implications of doing so.

But the thing is, there are alternatives. You just have to question the current situation in order to see them.

Once you do that, you can get out of your comfort zone and experience the alternatives.

It’s like being nearsighted and getting glasses for the first time. Maybe you dreaded getting glasses (or got them as young kid and were afraid the other kids would make fun of you).

But once you got them, you could suddenly see the leaves on the trees. It was amazing. You wondered how you ever managed before. And all it took was someone pointing out that maybe things could be better than they are right now for you.

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5 comments

  • Complacency can be a terrible thing in our lives, especially when it comes to our finances.

    I was used to a crummy financial life, until I decided to do something about it.

    My life since then has changed drastically. I have more money to do the things that I want to do and there is a great deal less stress in my life now that I am not constantly worried about my finances.

  • Dear Jackie:

    I could not agree more. People become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Sad, but true.

    Questioning your current situation can be harder than it seems as sometimes we get caught up in our lives so much that we forget to leave some time for ourselves. I’ve noticed that the best way to get out of your comfort zone is by getting out there and talking to people who are living a different lifestyle.

    Once you see that a different way of doing things is possible then you will able to look at your situation and see where you need to do some work. The best thing to do is to see what works for you and what doesn’t and adapt.

    Best,
    Tomas

  • I finally made the decision to move back home from LA after 5 years. I was working in a job I hated, never could save any money and the debt was piling up. In 2 years, I am almost debt free, have a savings account and feel so much better.

    I can’t tell you how much stress is eliminated from your life when you don’t have so much stress about money. I am by no means raking in the cash, but I am definitely living a more comfortable lifestyle and I make smarter financial decisions.

  • Most of my husband’s friends from growing up will never get ahead. They live in the state of mind where money is always scarce, so you might as well enjoy it while you can. It never covers everything, anyway. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! It’s painful to watch.

    But I initially took your title a different way. Right now, Tim and I are trying to live relatively cheaply so that we can throw at much at debt as is possible. It sucks, but we also don’t know how long it will be before we make more than $40,000 a year combined. (Tim wants to go into a field helping the developmentally disabled, which pays just slightly over nothing, but it will make him happy and that’s far more important.)

    So yeah, it sucks. But, I tell him, once we’re out of debt, just think how comparatively easy life will be. We can save money and still live relatively large, because we’ll be used to living on so little.

    I guess, to me, sometimes it’s good to live a crummy financial life — in the deprivation sense, rather than the perenially-behind sense — so that you can truly appreciate it when you get to a turning point.

  • David, that’s great that you decided to do something about it and changed your life dramatically. What was the defining moment that caused you to change?

    Tomas, yeah I think that’s it; that we just plain old forget to even think about alternatives. Seeing how others do things can be inspiring.

    Kate, congrats on being nearly debt-free. Isn’t it amazing how much better we feel without all the stress?

    Abigail, I can see where the title could be taken a completely different way, and it’s interesting to look at it from that perspective too. And life will be a whole lot easier comparatively once you’re out of debt. You’ll feel rich in comparison.