Three hundred and sixteen

I know yesterday was a bit of a left wing rant on social services (mind you, an important rant).  It’s interesting to take the challenge to live on a small amount of money a day and then see how you feel.  You’ll understand the feeling of frustration, anxiety and stress that comes along with it.  I dare you all to spend a couple of days doing the things you normally do, but with only $20 in your pocket.  Try to spend $8 at Starbucks on that latte and cookie and see how much is left that is supposed to cover your gas or transit, your other meals, and that beer you were supposed to join your co-worker for after work.  Give up all those luxuries that make you smile and live off only the basic necessities.  You will definitely find other ways to amuse yourself, but it will be a transition period with sacrifices.

I was speaking to a coworker of mine the other day and he isn’t rich by any means, and he said that anything he spends money on under $50 doesn’t even register as spending.  The more I’m doing this, the more I realize how much crap I used to spend my money on. A juice from the convenience store on my way to work, scratch lottery tickets, writing journals (I have ten of them, but I just keep buying more).  We all needs treats once and awhile, but I don’t need that junk.  Every dollar spent adds up.

I’ve been really good the last couple of days about spending little to no money to save up for my friend’s birthday on Friday.  I also really want to see a play on Thursday night, so I’m saving for that too.  That means being creative in the kitchen, making interesting concoctions with the ingredients I have.  And packing lunches and dinners to take with me to work.  It’s a fun challenge – that sometimes turns out better than other times.

I’m also looking for free activities to do in the city.  If anyone has any suggestions, please pass them along!

5 thoughts on “Three hundred and sixteen

  1. Miss Schwietz when you are living at the poverty line there is no money to save for fun things! If there was money to save you would not be poor. As for free activities try volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter perhaps then you would get a better grasp of what living life at the poverty line is really like. When we experienced bad times a walk in the park was an outing, just spending time with loved ones made the best memories, we have learnt as a family that it does not take money to be rich in life!!!!!!!!
    ps Starbucks is not in the vocabulary of the below poverty line

    • Thanks Suzanne. I was building up to a post on how just spending time with loved ones is all you need, but then you beat me to it!

      I volunteered at a church last month, helping to feed those in need. I spent a lot of time talking to the people there and trying to understand where they are coming from. Some were crazy, some were lonely, and some just in need of a little extra food to supplement what they have.

      I know your family has gone through really tough times, but you prove that you are rich in life by the strength of your bonds together.

      I will try not to mention Starbucks again!

      • I have to agree with Suzanne. When you have to “live” with nothing but coins you appreciate the little things in life like food, hot water, heat, a bicycle (no matter how broken down it is), clean clothes, feeling safe at night, sleep. There are so many things that can’t be understood unless you really are without money.

        Our society bases success on the amount of money you make and people naturally take pride in being successful. It is good to be proud of the hard work that brings success – and to understand the values it takes to be successful. But imagine, through circumstances beyond your control, not being successful even with all the hard work. There is no pride but only the feeling of failure. And it is not only the feeling of failure but that “you” are a failure. This is when depression sets in. When there is no light at the end of the tunnel there is only darkness. Imagine, in todays world, how many people are facing this very real and scary state of being. However, there is no shame in failure, only shame in giving up.
        Here is a fun, free thing to do in the city: Climb to the top of the tallest building you have, look down and think about jumping because you are worthless and the world would be better without you.

        I commend your efforts Lindsay on living below the poverty level for the purpose of the blog but mention having to pack a lunch let alone walking around with $20 A DAY (!!!!!) or “saving up” for a birthday party again and, and… You touched a hot button for those of us who have been there and have experienced real poverty. Good for you. That is what writing is all about.

  2. Pingback: Three hundred and thirty-seven | threehundredsixtysixdays

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