Poverty consciousness

I’ve noticed—or, rather, my husband has—that my mind still hasn’t adjusted to the fact that he’s making 30 percent more now than he did at his last job. And his last job already paid the most of any job he’s ever had.

In my head, we’re still barely scraping by. Which is not to say that I’m afraid to spend money; I’m not. But as he rightly pointed out, I shouldn’t be worrying about things like upcoming dental surgeries for my kids because we have more than enough money to pay for it without going into debt.

It also should be noted (and thankfully he barely touched on this truth) that part of the reason that we don’t have a ton of money saved is because of my spending. While I’ve cut back considerably from the amount I was doing a few months ago, now I’m still chipping away at our potential financial cushion by saying too many times, by saying “well, it’s only $40 dollars.”

I know that I’m very fortunate to be able to say “only $40 dollars,” like it’s nothing consequential. I know a lot of people aren’t in that position. I myself wasn’t in this position until recently.

But all those times of giving myself permission here and there adds up, and it adds up fairly quickly. My husband’s right: on his salary, there’s no reason I should still feel poor. What stands in the way of me feeling not-poor is that I don’t have enough money in savings. And, duh, my spending is a big part of why we don’t have more in savings.

I just haven’t really known how to deal with having more money than we’ve ever had before. This is not a situation I ever anticipated. But it’s time to learn how to manage it well, instead of feeling like it’s all more than I deserve or that it’s going to disappear tomorrow. There’s a lot to unpack there.

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