“Every paycheck a fortune.” I love that phrase. It brings to mind a wide variety of ideas, but usually the first thing that I think is that we are forever increasing our lifestyle to make the statement untrue.
Do you remember your first paycheck, or your first paycheck after a big pay jump? It doesn’t have to be the exact first paycheck, just that general period in time. Hopefully you have some memory of this, even if it was a long time ago. How did you feel about your money?
I remember my first job. I worked Saturday and Sunday mornings at our local liquor store and bait shop, making sandwiches. I probably worked 8 hours a week, and minimum wage was around $3 per hour. I think my paychecks were just over $40 every two weeks. It was a fortune to a teenager who had never before earned any significant amount of money. More importantly, I had no expenses – this was all discretionary income. I could do whatever I wanted with that $40. It was amazing! I was rich!
Flash ahead a few decades. I returned to work when our youngest daughter was in school. At that time, we were managing daily life pretty well on my husband’s income alone. I was determined not to inflate our lifestyle just because I was making money. Jobs are rarely secure, and that is extra true when you are a military spouse. My income was used solely to concentrate on things that weren’t living expenses: paying debt, building savings, and extra spending on splurges such as trips. This has worked out really well for us. Since it isn’t automatically going towards our regular living expenses, my pay feels like quite a lot even thought it is a small portion of our family’s overall income. It doesn’t even go into our regular checking account, but rather goes into its own account and then gets moved over to our larger savings accounts.
What can you do to regain that “rich” feeling? There are a couple of things.
First, just recognize what a fortune you are currently making. It can be hard to feel like you’ve got a fortune when it all goes to bills, but that doesn’t make it any less money.
Second, try to slowly restructure your life so that you have more discretionary income and fewer fixed bills. This isn’t a speedy process, but it can be done. Y’all are smart, you know exactly the kind of stuff I mean and it would be silly for me to make a list here.
Paying off debt, cutting your fixed expenses, and decreasing spending in less-important-to-you categories all help to give you that fortune feeling when your paycheck comes around.
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