I live very simply. I have no debt and my expenses are minimal. It’s pretty much rent, my iphone, food and fun. I know a lot of people aren’t in that position and have kids, mortgages, car payments, hospital bills, college loans, and credit card debt. I feel for you if that is your situation. I’ve been there, minus the kids.
Now, while I don’t have debt and a lot of bills, it’s worth noting I also have zero savings or investments of any kind. I always have some cash in a drawer or shoe, and that’s it. My 1987 BMW has over 250,000 miles. Someone might give me a thousand bucks for it. But it gets me around, and I only have to keep minimal liability insurance which costs me just a few hundred a year. I have a cool fixed gear bike that I might get $500 for if I needed to part with it. And that is IT!
And finally, I should note that I do not have health insurance, or life insurance, or anything resembling it.
A lot of people would be extremely uncomfortable with this scenario. I guess there are many ways of looking at it. I am not in this situation because I am extra thrifty, or because I never had credit. I am in this situation because I had all that, and now it’s gone. Like a lot of people, I’ve lost money, and stuff , and credit the past three or four years. I gotta say, it feels great. I feel like instead of losing anything I’ve gained a feeling of freedom and increased mobility.
That said, I am ready to figure out how to really use my situation to my advantage and free myself from working at a job in order to pay my most basic sustenance level expenses.
There are things about my job (tending bar in a little Italian restaurant) that I enjoy. On a busy night there is a rush involved in handling an overcapacity bar and restaurant. I enjoy a degree of interaction with the public, although spending five nights a week catering to people’s needs is too much. But whether you make drinks, wait tables, mow lawns, or sit behind a desk that belongs to someone else–this kind of work is all ultimately the same. I call it digging ditches. Someone needs a ditch dug. They pay you to dig it. And every day, no matter how many ditches you’ve dug before, you dig another.
There is nothing wrong with digging ditches. I want to go out for a nice meal occasionally. For that to happen there need to be competent people in the kitchen and taking my order. But I am not funding school, buying a Camaro, or feeding children. I feel like in my case, I should be able to find a way, or a combination of things, that I can do to pay such basic expenses and free myself to spend more time writing, traveling, or whatever else I’m into. Without digging ditches, or mixing drinks.
I’m not sure how to do this. I know people buy and sell stuff on eBay and craigslist. I make a little money doing freelance editing for a financial writer. I could do more of that type of thing. But that is really just more ditch-digging. My brain is searching for totally new ways to look at this, it is 2011 and it seems like all the technology around us can be harnessed in ways maybe we don’t even realize yet. I will keep you all posted.