I guess it depends upon one’s life experiences and perspective, and of course cash flow. Now what may seem extravagant to someone making $30,000 a year may be peanut butter and jelly to someone making $150,000 annually. You do the math.
I was reading an American male’s profile on a would-be dating site if I were dating, and he said he was looking for a woman who lives within her means and doesn’t get into debt unnecessarily. I kind of adjusted what he said to how I “saw” it, then I deleted his profile from my inbox. LOL!! Who in the world gets into debt unnecessarily these days? Because our country is in debt, as are most countries on this planet, as soon as you are born and given an ssn and an address, you are in debt. If the IRS can find a way to make you start paying taxes by age seven, then that’s what will happen. Last wills and testaments are so necessary in order to guard loved ones from being saddled with debt after a death, for the government hates death. Why? Someone has to pay those outstanding bills, and now that you’re gone to that other home on the range, they cannot harass you anymore. You do the math. J
Anyhoooo, back to my original thought. I was thinking about the high cost of living: To live healthily versus to live trying to restore one’s health. Or another scenario: To live healthily versus living frugally to the bone and then trying to restore one’s health. Hmmm, which is more cost effective or efficient? Which is considered to be “living within one’s means” rather than above one’s means? Which is considered, or when is one considered to be living within one's NEEDS?
Okay, I’ll get more specific with a common, true story scenario (hmm, I’ve used that word already.) that hits close to home. I am a meat eater. Always have been and always will be. It’s my blood type – type M-E-A-T positive. J I tried to go vegetarian a few years ago and became twice the person I was. That was more than I could handle – seeing double everywhere I went, and the other me always getting there 10 steps before me. The doctor asked “where’s the beef?” Well, often on my mind was the concern “but what about my cholesterol?” How will I be able to keep it from spiking later in life if I’m pasturing with cows and pigs everyday? So much to learn, and I hope a lifetime to spend doing what I’ve learned. But fast-forward back to the future.
“Your cholesterol is at the limit” the African French Doctress said. “Your HDL is very good, but your total cholesterol is at the maximum and we need to make some diet changes.” Uh huh. “Demi-lait”. (half-fat milk). I don’t like or drink milk. She said “no problem then.” (in English this time. LOL!) Cheese and butter also half fat (50 % graisse). Oh, I can eat a cheese’s cow! J “Only olive oil.” But I just bought a new fat bar of butter. I chimed in “I eat yaourt (yogurt) instead of milk.” She responded, “fine, but only 50% fat.” So she made a list of the best options for me. Then we began talking meat. More fish per week. I’d already been trying to do that but dropped my pole in the lake. Gotta go buy a new fishing pole.
Chicken and turkey. Yes! No skin. Homer Simpson’s “Doh”!!! There goes KFC and Micky D’s fried chickens on the bone (or bones with chicken). Fried-and-with-the-skin-on. Somehow I always knew this D-Day would come. I put my head in my hands and wept. LOL! I cried ‘no skin’! That’s just not possible. That’s not real chicken. I told the doctress J I would remove the skin after I cooked every last bit of the fat and juice from it. We laughed and again she said, “remove the skin”. Anyhooo, we decided beef was necessary only once or twice a week and that I must remove ALL of the fat BEFORE cooking it. Somehow I did not feel deprived. Can you say “George Foreman’s hamburger machine”?
All these years I’ve been reading about lowering one's cholesterol, and making small adjustments here and there, but rarely could bring myself to remove the chicken’s skin. After all they have rights too. Another change I never quite got around to was the buying of salmon. I’ve known it’s the best fish for you, and it is also one of the most expensive, so I would not buy it. I could get twice as many hamburgers, fish, pork chops, and ham slices for the price of a four-pack of anorexic looking salmon steaks. I had to live within my means.
Well, that trying-to-be-frugal-to-the-bone life style has landed me in a place I was trying to avoid and it’s called “The Jefferson's highrise cholesterol”. Now, I can either continue buying more for less NOW and end up paying a higher price just around the corner, or I can make the adjustments and buy the more expensive-good-for-me items, and lower my overall cost of living. Okay simply put, I can change the mantra I live by from the one my culture has raised me to live by, and then I can live the life I’m meant to live. I can live within my NEEDS, no matter how much they cost and no matter what others may think about it, for my needs are MY needs, and I can live happily ever after NOW. Or I can continue living within my means (whatever that means) and end up paying more to try to restore what I already had (and have) in the first place.
I’ve heard people say “oh it’s easy. I go shopping here for this and that because I can get it in bulk for less, but then I drive to this store for thus and so, and I get all my dry goods at this place. . . And then I prepare my meat like this before I prepare it to be cooked, and I do this . . .” (Either way, it looks like we all are paying somewhere. Yep.) Okay, that’s fine and good, but we’re all not the same. We don’t all live the same life-styles on the same budgets. Heck, many of us are using different currencies on different continents. Some of us live in cities surrounded by public transportation so we don’t spend money on vehicles, insurance, tires and repairs, etc. And don’t forget, gasoline. J But we do spend a lot of time waiting for those buses and trains etc. While others of us live in towns that are at least 30 minutes from the nearest convenience store with a gas pump, a modern gas pump maybe. Can you say “shopping mall”? Hmmmm.
For one person to live within his or her means will be different from another person’s, and usually we’re living in what we believe are our NEEDS. But for me, I’m just beginning to see, and learn and believe that my means and my needs are not the same, and I need to reassess my life based on my NEEDS and adjust my means to fit the task.
I’m using a simple story to make a point for me, and sharing this with you just because . . . hmmm, I want to. J Not because it’s gospel or TRUTH – for Jesus is truth. But because it is a lesson I’m learning and maybe it will inspire others to do their own life-change searches. I’m not writing a new Bible or Allnthejeans World Book of Facts and Stuff, but just doing what I love to do and was created to do – share stories. The Bible says for those of us who are children of God, “My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:19, KJV] Hmmm, I like that. So when did we start living by MEANS? When did that verse get changed? See, the Kingdom of God culture is different from our independent I-can-do-it-myself-and-my-way-politico-libero-supercalafragilisticespialadotious-north-south-AfricAmerEuroAustralAsian earthly culture. God did not promise to meet all my means. Maybe that’s why we’re not living the “abundant life” according to the Garden of Eden blue print. Our minds are too small (but greedy. Yes, greed is the sign of a small mind.) concentrating on what WE can do rather than believing, and living in what God said He would do (and has already done) through Calvary first, and then the empty tomb.
I NEED to live in good health. I NEED to decrease the high cost of my cholesterol. I NEED to eat more good-for-me foods such as expensive salmon and veggies that God created to meet that natural NEED in my life. Man overpriced them, but God gave them to us for free. Hmmm. Alors, God knows where I am. He knows where you are too. He knows where and why He has placed us where we are and what we are to do, and who we are created to be, and thus He knows how much it costs for us to be HERE. J So, with that said, I can afford to live within my NEEDS because He has already provided. He has already done the math.