Monday, March 04, 2013

What is "poor"?

Yesterday Cliff and I heard someone make this statement:  "I've been poor, and I don't EVER want to be poor again!"  
Later on I asked Cliff, "Do you ever have thoughts like that?  Because I have never had a fear of being poor."
"Well," he answered, "we are poor." 
"You mean by other people's standards, right?"
"Right."   
Poor, my friends, is a state of mind.  As long as I have food and a place to live, I have everything I need.  
We were living in in the switchboard house in north Missouri when I was nine or ten years old.  I asked Mother, "Are we rich?"  
She started laughing so hard she couldn't answer for awhile, but you know what?  I don't think she used the word "poor" when she finally responded.  Believe me, when my parents were living and working at the switchboard, anyone would have classified us as poor.  I know that now, but I didn't then.
I didn't feel poor.    
When our children were growing up, we didn't have health insurance half the time.  We've haven't had nice furniture.  We've never even done proper upkeep on our homes, because that stuff isn't a priority. 
It's all about the choices we've made.  
Since Cliff retired, our clothing budget is $40 a month, and the money in the clothing envelope piles up because we seldom buy clothes.  The only reason I haven't reduced the allotted monthly amount is that sometimes one of us needs a pair of shoes.  
Now we are living on Social Security.  When inflation takes a big enough bite out of that income, we will give up this place and rent a place somewhere.  We're running a race with inflation:  Maybe we'll die before we have to move!  We've always lived on the edge, just making it from one payday to the next.  I'm not saying it's a smart way to live, but it has worked for us.    
Afraid of being poor?  Not me.  Bring it on!

9 comments:

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm with you on this one. I'm so rich in things money can't buy that I consider myself better off than most rich people.

Celeste Sanders said...

Moneywise I am poorer than a church mouse. I did not know I was "poor" growing up. Don't know what I would do if I was ever became middle class or rich

MissKris said...

One cannot put a price on spiritual wealth. In THAT I am rich beyond measure, and that's the only kind of 'wealth' I want. As to 'wealth' on this earth...whatever! Haha! ;-) I was raised by two Great Depression era children. "Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without". People are just WAY too consumed about keeping up with the Joneses. Who cares?

Paula said...

Good entry Mosie. As I said in my entry today I like to look at fancy big ranch homes but I'm not jealous.

Melissa Wiggins said...

Interesting outlook on life -- and so different from the one I was raised with. Amazingly, my grandparents were "rich" by anyone standards -- it's just that never knew it. What I heard, every day of my life was that we were "barely" making it. It wasn't that I felt we were poor -- but I always felt that if it rained too hard or was too cloudy or my father didn't go to his job -- we would be poor. My parents saved and scrimped and pinched every dollar. Money was "god" in our household and it was used as a battering ram on everybody. Unlike you I never felt safe or secure, and money is still an issue though not nearly as much as in my youth. You have a much better attitude about it -- thank your family for that. MGW

Angela said...

My wise daughter has said on more than one occasion that she is okay with us not having alot of money as long as we have each other (as her mom and dad together). Because I have to say no to her so often when it comes to something regarding money, THAT statement means more than the world. I can only pray that we have raised our kids to know that FAMILY is more valuable than anything on a store shelf. Thanks, Donna. I may refer to this in my own entry. I am suddenly in a writing mood. :)

Lori said...

Great entry! I've never had a desire to be "rich". I just want to have what I need. And I'm glad that I know how to make do when I have to.

Margaret said...

I love this entry and your attitude! I'm such a wimp. I was reared like you; my dad was a teacher, they had one car and he often walked to work. I didn't know we were "poor" or understand why we ran out of money at the end of the month. (ate lots of interesting things though) My husband grew up on a farm and when his dad deserted the family, it's what kept his mom and two siblings from starving and what made him into such a hard worker. He was driven though. When his dad first left, they had to go on Welfare and go to a place to get blocks of cheese and powdered milk. His mom soon got them off, but he never forgot those experiences and NEVER wanted to go back to them.

Joyful Days said...

Love this post! We've been up & we've been down, but we are blessed beyond measure with each other & our children. The last couple years have offered health issues for each of us and we realize more than ever how much our family means to us.