There is a large used book/media store in our city that has been a favorite destination for years. They sell used books, cd’s, video tapes, dvd’s, and textbooks. They also carry game systems, ipods, and graphing calculators. It’s a really popular place. Most of my book collection comes from there. My kids have an impressive collection of movies, all purchased at this store for $1-$3 each. Game systems and a few ipods were purchased there too, at a large discount over new retail.
My kids don’t worry about the fact that they don’t have the newest and fastest. They just enjoy being able to have movies, game systems, and ipods.
We also have pre-paid cell phones (and no landline). One can be had for as little as $10/month (or less if you just want to carry one for emergencies).
Thrift stores are the favorite destination for fashion. Why pay $45 for a sweatshirt when you can find one gently used for $6? We’ve found some of our favorite clothes at thrift and consignment stores.
It is possible to live well on a small income. But you have to give a few things up.
Or rather, the illusion of status.
You can’t buy all your clothes at the Gap. You won’t have the latest-most-up-to-date fashions. You won’t be able to keep up with your friends and neighbors. You may have to put up with a few snide comments about pre-paid cell phones. (As if paying 3 to 10 times more for the same basic service makes them superior.)
Soon, you’ll begin to realize that status doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as you thought it did. People aren’t paying as much attention as you think they are. If friends and associates are judging you on how much you spend, you may need to rethink your associations. Pleasing others who have no skin in the game is a losing proposition.
Which brings me to another point:
Pride Has No Nutritional Value
Status is related to pride. It’s something we achieve to stroke our pride. But you can’t put pride in a bowl and serve it for supper. Everyone will go away hungry.
So you have to let it go. I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s a multi-step process. Eventually you’ll begin to understand there is no need to be ashamed of not living up to an essentially false standard. You’ll discover inner resources you didn’t realize you had. You’ll start to really “get” that how you treat others is far more important than what you wear and drive.
Once you let go of the false gods of status, you’ll discover a whole new world. A far better one.