C. and I have had a long-standing debate about whether or not we are rich. Spoiler alert: we are definitely not even close to being rich. The debate comes from my continuously saying that we are rich. Because I feel freaking rich, people. And this is not some sappy post about how our love makes us rich or blah blah. What I mean is that our (lower) middle class life feels like being rich to me.
I didn’t grow up poor, though we were technically. The real version of poor came when I moved out at 17. I had a grocery budget of $11-15 per week and I rarely ate out (if I did it was fast food dollar menu). I could, and needed to, make a dollar packet of noodles last for a couple of meals and when the need arose to buy toilet paper, that stressed my budget. Basically, every single purchase that I made affected every other needed or un-needed purchase. I never had my own apartment, always found some room in a shared house or apartment on craigslist, I bought used cars with cash that I saved by being extremely frugal. I struggled to pay rent and utilities, and worried when I had to drive out of my way because I hadn’t budgeted for the extra gas money. This is still how I lived when I met C., though I was making more ($1200/mo) and had sold my car and walked to school and work in an effort to put $300/mo into savings. Speaking of school, I paid for school up until that time by taking a minimum amount of loans and then putting the rest on a payment plan which would take another 300 from my monthly income. It was a lifestyle that I was used to, but was absolutely stressful. Any minor thing, illness that required a doctor, maintenance needed on the car, shit, an oil change, could set me back despite my trying so hard to save.
This is why I am convinced that we are rich. Since we’ve combined our finances in certain ways (cars, groceries, apartment) I never have to worry about running out of food or buying toilet paper one roll at a time. I told him yesterday how happy it made me when I ran out of tp to realize that there were 16 more rolls in the closet. I remain very aware and grateful of how fortunate I am. I drive a new car that doesn’t need much, but gas or an oil change never means I have to sacrifice something else and we have paper towels and I can afford the $6 package of 50 face wipes I like, the nice razor blades and body wash, pants for work when I need them. I can buy all of these things AT THE SAME TIME AND STILL EAT. It’s all just so much to me, I really do feel rich. My version of rich, I guess, is having everything you need. And I have even more than what I need, so yup, I will continue to feel rich.
We don’t own a house, but we have somewhere nice and safe to live. Rich. I’m not shopping at whole foods, but I can make myself nutritious meals. Rich. I don’t drive a lexus, but I drive very dependable and cute little car that has a great warranty, Rich. There is a lot that we don’t have and can’t afford, but the reason that I feel rich is because that list of things we don’t have and can’t afford is full of things that we don’t NEED. In that way, and in a lot ways, I want for nothing. This life is very comfortable and that means we’re plenty rich enough for me. Having enough to take care of whatever we really need and whatever may come up is something I’m so thankful for and it doesn’t hurt to remember how many people, my former self included, would love to be in our position, “rich” or not.