Monday, December 2, 2013

10 things low-income people want you to know...

Talking about finances, especially my finances, is a tough subject for me.  I am a pretty open person...probably too open, but when it comes to finances, I start to get a little uncomfortable.  But I can't get this blog out of my head!  So as a continuation from last blog, read on...

10 things low-income people want you to know:

1.  We aren't unhappy. Just because we have little money doesn't mean we are miserable.  Actually, many of us are happy in our lives, and enjoy many aspects of our frugal lifestyle.

2.  Sometimes we have to say no, and hate it. When our friends invite us out, we want to always be able to say yes.  But sometimes financially, it just isn't wise to do so, whether it be out for dinner or even the gas money to get there.  but we secretly fear if we say no you will eventually grow tired of it and stop inviting us out.  So sometimes we still say yes, even though we shouldn't.

3.  We agonize over EVERY small purchase.  People with more money i imagine tend to wonder if they should or shouldn't have bought bigger purchases...such as a new outfit, a weekend away, a new electronic.  Low income people tend to feel guilty every time they get a Tim Horton's coffee, going through a drive thru to feed the family while rushing on the go, or a new thrift store t-shirt.  We question ourselves all the time on whether it really was a wise choice.

4.  Something that is celebrated as "cheap" is not necessarily that way for us.  You know those commercials that advertise stores like Winners being super cheap?  Maybe it is for many people, but when I walk in that store I have to walk right out knowing it is out of my price range.  Even higher end thrift stores, such as Value Village, have to be shopped at very carefully because some of the stuff is priced  a little higher than we really feel we should pay because of our budgets.

5.  We worry people will pity us.  We want to share about our struggles...we want to be able to share on days that it is financially hard because we know there is comfort in friends and prayer.  But we worry if we share about finances you'll feel sorry for us, or start hiding 20 dollar bills in our house.  If we share, often it's because we just want a safe place to be able to talk about it, just like anyone with struggles.

6. We like low-key.  Please, if you invite us over for dinner, keep it simple.  If we go to your house and you serve us a three course meal, an appetizer, and 5 desserts, it makes us a bit uncomfortable.  Not because we don't appreciate it (trust me, we LOVE food) but because we know we can rarely reciprocate something so extravagant.  I get that for some people, that is their love language, and that is something I need to come to terms with, but please know that inviting us over for hot dogs,or spaghetti is speaking our language. :)

7. We struggle with pride.   Sometimes when someone sees a need in our life and does something to ease burden, we are so grateful but have a hard time expressing ourselves because we are feeling overwhelmingly blessed, but also struggling with pride because we wish we could meet all those needs ourselves.  Recently I had someone anonymously pay for a program for my kids to take part in at our church.  I cried because I was so grateful.

8. Stuff doesn't equal money.  I have heard stories of people judging financially struggling people because they have a big screen tv, or a cell phone, go on a trip,  or have something else fancy and "expensive" looking.  Just by looking in someone's home or life you don't know if what you are looking at was bought, a gift, or an insanely amazing deal.  We have more furniture and stuff in our home than we need, and only ONE piece of furniture was bought brand new at Ikea years ago.  EVERY other piece of furniture was either passed down to us or bought at a yardsale. Just because we have stuff doesn't mean we must be spending our money irresponsibly.

9.  We know we have SO much.  Just like anyone, we have our days when we wish we had more, but overall, we know the fact that we were born in CANADA alone is an overall blessing.  We know that compared to so many other countries and children and families around the world we are actually very rich.  We get mad at ourselves when we have a "poor me" attitude because the fact that we know where our next meal is coming from means we actually fall in the "rich" bracket.

10.  Every decision we make that involves money isn't always based on the cost.  Christmas is a great example of this one.  Yes, we want to keep our expenses down, but more importantly, we don't want to teach our children that Christmas is about a mountain of presents under the tree.  So we scale back Christmas in an effort to keep our whole family's eyes on the real meaning of the season.

If you have anything to add to this list, please share.  But these are some of the things that come to my mind when I think of what I would want others to know about us in the low-income bracket.

1 comment:

  1. I think you wrote this beautifully! :) It's "funny" how we may seem "low income" to some...but compared to millions of others around the world, we have so much! :)