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Could you still be happy?

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
On this forum of mostly educated, well-to-do, seemingly happy people, I pose this question.

If you woke up tomorrow living paycheck to paycheck could you still be happy? Knowing you'd have to give up a fancy car, excessive jewels, manis/pedis, salon services, big homes, expensive hobbies, could you do it? Basically, how much does stuff really mean to you?



As I always hate it when a OP doesn't answer the question he/she originated, I'll go first.

This is my current life. lol We've always lived paycheck to paycheck, live in a modest home, drive older vehicles, etc. While I would love to have lots of money for various things, it's not something I strive for. Perhaps it's a by-product of this lifestyle, but sometimes I think if I had a lot of stuff it would increase my stress. Living simply agrees with me.
 

dragonfly411

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
7,378
I currently live paycheck to paycheck and I'm generally happy.....I think.
 

HopeDream

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
2,146
Yes. Although paycheck to paycheck is my current lifestyle, and I hope to improve my standard of living in the next 2 years.
As long as I have food, clothing, shelter, and my fiance I consider myself blessed.
(More money for restaurant meals and entertainment would be fantastic thought)
 

Miss Sparkly

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,664
We currently live this way and are just beginning to build back up after job cuts. I am quite happy and have found thongs that I love that I never would have tried before. My perspective on what is important has changed drastically and I am so happy to have found this knowledge at a young age.
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
I grew up poor, and I was often happy, so I'd say that the stuff doesn't matter too much ... but I value the security a little money in the bank can buy me.

P.S. - Excessive jewels? This is PS, woman! Crazytalk! :lol:
 

Miss Sparkly

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,664
Gotta love cell phone autocorrect! THINGS
 

GamerGirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
175
I've lived paycheck to paycheck previously (seriously - where it meant not going somewhere cause I had to wait to have money to put gas in the car!)-- had a break where I was luckily not paying many bills at all and was able to save a ton -- and will shortly be in a situation where I will be living closer to paycheck.to.paycheck again (with some cushion).

I think the switch back and forth has really made me appreciate what items are NEEDS and what items are nice to have's. For me there is always a little bit of a transition as I adjust away from spending any way I feel like it and actually adhering to a budget - but once the transition is over I don't even really think about the things I am "missing".
 

D&T

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
12,505
Absolutely,
I'd give up everything as long as I had my family. My parents did that for us, They gave up their entire lifestyle and everything just the clothes on their backs was all they had in order to bring us to the US. While we lived poorly back then, I am very comfortable knowing what I can do with or without.
 

princesss

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 18, 2007
Messages
8,035
Honestly? Probably not. I went from a (relatively) luxurious life living w/ BF to having to pay all of the bills on my own again, and it stinks. But I still have money in my savings account, and can afford the luxuries I want without worrying as long as I use common sense.

My biggest problem is the things that really make me happy are very expensive. I love to travel, and thinking about my travel budget being significantly decreased makes me panic. I'm only happy when I can leave the country 1-2x per year, and while my parents have been flying me out to visit them, I would be really upset if I couldn't afford to keep traveling after that stops.

It's less about stuff and more about not feeling stuck and being able to have the experiences that I want to be able to have.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
Circe|1303335328|2901204 said:
I grew up poor, and I was often happy, so I'd say that the stuff doesn't matter too much ... but I value the security a little money in the bank can buy me.

P.S. - Excessive jewels? This is PS, woman! Crazytalk! :lol:

I think here we're all guilty of excessive jewels. Most of our families would have a fit if they knew how much we've invested, wouldn't they? My mom thinks a nice diamond ring costs about $1000. My sis thinks that too much. lol
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
Gamer~ Yeah, I understand the gas thing. I'm waiting on Friday! Since DH's new job gets paid 2x a month, it's been a serious adjustment for us. Planning that second week has taken some skills!
 

qtiekiki

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 14, 2004
Messages
3,880
Yes. Growing up, my family lived paycheck to paycheck. Things are nice to have, but they can compared to the happiness of being with my family.
 

jaysonsmom

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2004
Messages
3,139
If living paycheck to paycheck meant that I'd still have food on the table, and a roof over our heads, then YES. That is all I need.
Neither my husband nor I have expensive hobbies, we don't like travelling, even though we do it if we have to (company paid trips )....I don't like any pampering (salons, spas, mani-pedis), I do everything myself.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
It's hard living paycheck to paycheck, and when my husband was laid off from a previous job a few years ago, it was a very stressful time. We got through it but we were very lucky. We were/are fine financially but you just never know what might happen. I don't think we live extravagant lives and we're pretty happy. There are definitely things I'd love to have (a new car, $ to travel more often, a bigger house), but I can't complain.

In terms of stuff, I LOVE getting rid of clutter and things I/we don't use anymore. The majority of the things we have around the house are here because we like how they look, but they don't add much value to our lives. Does that make sense?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,174
I am lucky to have spent long periods of my life at both extremes.
Now I understand that happiness does not come from the stuff you've got.

Today I pursue happiness, not money.
 

Autumnovember

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
4,384
I could give up everything and still be happy as long as my family were healthy. The only thing I would have a tough time giving up is the expensive hobbies (eating out at nice places, lol). I could care less about mani/pedi's....salons visits....sexy cars but eating out at amazing restaurants is my favorite. I don't think SO could be happy without all that stuff. For him, he enjoys his expensive hobbies (fish thanks, watches, cars) because of the amount of work he puts into being able to have it (not saying everyone does not work hard). Both lifestyles have their perks and I can see the pro's in both...I've lived both. I enjoy having a life right in the middle.
 

stci

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Messages
2,514
It's hard living paycheck to paycheck cause when you need money for emergency you are in trouble. This is why I don't like to live this manner but I have no choice.

It's a beautiful subject somethingshiny! Congrats to let us tell about our situation.
 

rosetta

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
3,417
Yes.

As long as I still had my other half.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
kenny|1303336779|2901237 said:
I am lucky to have spent long periods of my life at both extremes.
Now I understand that happiness does not come from the stuff you've got.

Today I pursue happiness, not money.

Kenny~ This could be the smartest thing you've ever posted.
 

chemgirl

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2009
Messages
1,995
First off, somebody can have a high income and still be living paycheck to paycheck. DH is a prime example. DH owns a successful business and he used to live a very affluent lifestyle. He would spend everything he made and his ex ate up the credit cards on seriously expensive items. We're talking trips to Europe every month, expensive cars, and high end clothing. Then one of his clients went bankrupt and he almost had to close his company and declare bankruptcy himself. He didn't have any money in reserve. I'm glad we started dating after it all happened because now he's down to earth and all about building savings.

I know I can be happy living paycheck to paycheck because I did it as a student.

However, I would find it stressful. For me, the biggest luxury item is savings. I would give up (and have I guess) material items in order to have emergency money. Without it I'm a nervous wreck worrying about what will happen if I lose my job or something goes wrong medically. Heck, I even opted not to have a diamond engagement ring because DH was still recovering financially and I was happier with that money in the bank!

We're living a pretty modest lifestyle so I don't think living paycheck to paycheck would change our physical comfort level. It would just be a stress thing.

PS. I have to laugh whenever I find remnants of DH's high living days. I accidentally ruined a Versace sweater in the wash and all I could do was shake my head. Its nice, but not worth a month of living expenses.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
I thought about that when I first started the thread. My paycheck to paycheck is gonna be WAY different than someone else's. Asking if someone could live on $xxx / year would be a whole different thread!
 

junebug17

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
12,188
I lived for many years without the "extras", so I could go back to that kind of life easily. Material things don't really make me happy. Although, that said, I wouldn't want to go back to living paycheck to paycheck - it helps to know there's a little extra socked away for emergencies.

Ok, well, there are two things that would be tough for me to give up: my car and the wedding set I got for my 25th. I really really love my car, it's a dream to drive. And I just really like my set.
 

iugurl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
476
Yes, I could be happy. But I prefer to have money. :cheeky:
My husband lost his job last year. Talk about stress. Wow. He made 3x what I made. So it was impossible to pay the bills based just on salary. Thankfully, we had savings. It was extremely stressful. While we were still happy at times, there was always a worry in the back of our mind. What will happen if he doesn't find a job in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years? What will happen if we can't pay our bills? Just on and on.

I think there is a big difference in not having a lot of money, but can pay the bills each month and have a little backup savings vs. not having a job, having NO income, no savings - having a balance of $5 in the bank, bills stacking up etc. With the latter, I couldn't be happy. The stress would be too overwhelming.

I don't think riches make people happy. I know plenty of upper-middle class and wealthy people who are unhappy. However, I think that extreme poverty can make (some) people unhappy. At least, I would be... So I think $ can help take away a lot of worrying, stress, fights, etc. about money. But it doesn't not solve every problem, by any means.
 

diamondringlover

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Messages
3,796
Ha, this is how I live now, it sucks, I cant say I am happy, dont know if money would make me happier.....
 

sctsbride09

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2008
Messages
555
Yes, I can. We have been living like that for the last 5 years. With the exception of my wedding set and our honeymoon, we have been on a self imposed "moneyfast" to try to save money for our first home. The thing is, doing the frugal living has really opened my eyes to what "true" happiness is to *me*. All I need are my DH, my furbabies, a roof over our heads (good health is nice too) and Im good to go. Extras are nice, but I far prefer the freedom I feel for not having an attachment to stuff, if that makes sense. The only luxury I cant do without is a nice savings account. I grew up poor, and I cant stand the feeling of stress that comes along with not knowing where your next meal is coming from (in case of unemployment, medical emergency, etc.) or if your monthly bills are going to be paid. The good news for us is that we have been so stingy (DH likes to call it frugal) that we will be able to buy our home outright, so that should release a bit of money for extras. Although I know myself well enough to know that it wont go to luxuries, but most likely filling savings accts, retirement accts, etc. I have lived on both sides, and knowing what I know now, I just cant *throw* money away anymore. I hope to instill the same someday in my child(dont have yet), without the poverty part.
 

MichelleCarmen

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 8, 2003
Messages
15,880
somethingshiny|1303334478|2901189 said:
On this forum of mostly educated, well-to-do, seemingly happy people, I pose this question.

If you woke up tomorrow living paycheck to paycheck could you still be happy? Knowing you'd have to give up a fancy car, excessive jewels, manis/pedis, salon services, big homes, expensive hobbies, could you do it? Basically, how much does stuff really mean to you?


.
Would I have to cut my own hair???? :errrr:
 

kama_s

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
3,617
No. Sadly, I'd be lying if I said I would.

I grew up poor, worked 30 hours to put myself through school and am finally comfortable. I like and enjoy the finer things in life and they bring me immense pleasure. It's not to say I don't enjoy simpler things, but I will most definitely be unhappy living paycheque to paycheque.
 

kama_s

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
3,617
Also, what is this happy people you talk about?? :cheeky: I know for me it's a constant battle, so definitely not all happy...seemingly, perhaps. Which is ironic, because that essentially implies materialistic things don't bring me happiness. Hmmmmmm...
 

lbbaber

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2011
Messages
691
I could do it IF I HAD TO....I grew up in a family living paycheck to paycheck. Of course things like my family's health is WAY more important (my baby is having a health crisis right now :(sad )....but to be honest...I really really really dont want to. I know what it is like to struggle and it makes me REALLY enjoy the luxuries I have now. I dont want my children to EVER worry about money like I did growing up (and thanks to alot of careful planning, my husbands family's wealth, and trust funds- they wont).

On the flip side, sometimes I wonder if my children are almost too cushioned. Because they don't know what it is like to NOT have something they want, I wonder if I am doing them a disservice. I struggle to find the right balance of giving them things that I never had and spoiling them. That's a problem I know I have and am doing alot of soul searching to find the right solution.
 

yennyfire

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
6,473
I have no problem giving up "luxuries" because I don't really have them anyway (my choice). I don't get mani/pedi's, I get my hair cut for $28 only 4x a year, we drive cars that are over 5 years old (and paid for, in full) , we eat a meal out about once a week (a family place, with the kids), rarely go on vacation and we are about 10 years away from owning our home (i.e. no more mortgage). I am happy with where we are and what we have (though I do think that I'll want to start traveling again when the kids are older). As long as we have our health and each other, I don't need much more.

That said, could I be happy living paycheck to paycheck? Probably not, as financial security (i.e. a decent savings/investment acct.) is important to my sense of well being. My definition of "paycheck to paycheck" is barely being able to pay all of your bills, not being able to pay your bills and still have $$ to eat in restaurants and buy jewelry for birthdays/anniversaries. I suspect that if you asked 10 people on PS what their definition of "paycheck to paycheck" was, you'd get 12 different answers, so we may all be coming from different perspectives on this question.

As Kenny said, things can't truly make you happy. It's the people in our lives who make us happy (and get rid of the ones who don't, or at least minimize your exposure to them, as I do with my Mom!)....every night, at the dinner table, we go around and tell each other one "rose" from our day and one "thorn". Unanimously, the "roses" are things that have to do with spending time with the people we love and are rarely items that have been purchased (and that includes our 4 and 6 year old).
 
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