Meet your needs, and know when they have been met

I have been poor for most of my life so far.

I'm not gonna go into details about how, and why, and what happened, but let's just say that I know what it means to be a bit hungry, and I know what it means to be cold in the winter, even inside my house.

I never had it extremely bad, of course. There are people out there who are in way worse situations. They literally have nothing to eat and are starving, they barely have a roof over their head, they don't have clothes, etc.

But I was never the cool guy in school with the best clothes or the coolest gadgets. I was quite mediocre in all aspects. All throughout elementary school I never had money on me, because there was no need, and my parents didn't have enough to spare on me. If I wanted something, I could ask them for it, but they wouldn't give me money for no reason. And all throughout high school I only got around $1 - $2 a day from them, which was enough for food and transportation.

After high school I went to college for like 2 or 3 months, and quit, because the experience was too bad. I just didn't feel like I was learning anything and I thought that I was just wasting time. I tried working as a freelancer for around 3 years, but it didn't work out. I eventually quit, and got a job in a city nearby that stressed and depressed me beyond expectation. The work was not physically demanding, but the stress was very high, and the job itself quite unpleasant.

Finally, at the end of 2020 I stopped going there and, forced by many unpleasant and unexpected situations, I had to accept a job in Germany. I left in May, and I'm still in Germany now, in October. I'm going home next month.

Things started to look good since I left, and since I started working here. The working hours are long, but the pay is good, and I spend nothing on rent or bills. I get food twice a day for free, and everything else I want to eat I pay for myself. Therefore, I'm able to save quite a lot of what I make.

I've been sending money home to my parents, the equivalent of what there is a good paycheck, and I also bought a few things for myself to help me work in my free time (a laptop) and to help me develop as a person (books).

Besides all that, I tried my best to spend very little on everything else. I didn't buy expensive and fancy clothing, I didn't buy hundreds of video games for no reason, didn't spend money on fancy food, and I was quite careful with what I got.

I wanted to mention all this because once all my problems have been solved, I noticed two things:

  1. My basic necessities and the solution to most of my problems required some money, but not as much as I thought. I solved most of them in a few months of work, and now things are becoming more stable in my life.
  2. Although I met my needs, I eventually started coming up with more.

This was a bit weird. Even though I solved most of the problems that I had in life, more seemed to appear as I made more money.

The clothes I had weren't good enough any more. I started thinking about buying more interesting shirts and hoodies. Thinking about walking for long distances was not as pleasant as before, so I started thinking about purchasing a car and how much money it would cost me. I started thinking about buying courses and all kind of software online so I can "work better" and "learn more". The list can go on.

Luckily, I didn't spend any money on any of those things. I tried my best to keep my spending habits in check. As soon as I started feeling the need to buy extra things simply because I had more money than before, I realized that those were nothing but desires, not needs.

My needs have been met quickly. Everything else was me trying to subconsciously convince myself that what I desired was something I needed.

This is a mistake I see a lot of people doing, especially those close to me. They get a bit of extra money for whatever reason, and then they immediately begin spending it on something they think they "need". But soon, that money goes away. And then those people are left with nothing, or the little they had before. And the struggle keeps on going.

This is what I tried, and successfully managed to avoid. I don't need very fancy and expensive clothing. Something that looks decent and isn't falling apart is good enough. I don't need a car. I can walk, or use public transportation if I need it. I don't need to buy expensive fancy courses - I barely know what to do with my time, and what I wish to learn. Trying free courses before spending any money on premium ones is the smart thing to do.

Knowing your needs very well, how to take care of them and when they have been taken care of, is very important. We'll always find something to spend money on, at all times, and it's very easy to trick ourselves into thinking that what we desire is actually something we need.

It's not. This is one way that people become poorer and poorer. This is one way that people who work hard to make some money have nothing left at the end of the month. They don't know when their needs have been met, and they create more for their own convenience.

Be smart about it. Make a list about the things you truly need in your life. You need food. You need water. You need decent, not expensive, clothing. You might need medication. Those are things you need to spend money on. You don't need fancy food. An apple is just as good, if not better, than an avocado, and less expensive. You can buy a bag full of apples that will last you a week with the same money that you'll buy 2-3 avocados. The fancy clothing that you'll have won't do anything else for you than the regular things you can get, expect make you think that others will think better of you. I've seen people with expensive clothes shiver in the winter while others with basic inexpensive things were comfortable and warm. The examples can keep on going.

Learn to save the money you don't need to spend. Learn to save at least a percentage of it, and to reinvest it into something that can actually help you. Save $10 on your next paycheck and buy the book "The richest man in Babylon". That will help you get a better idea about why you need to save and reinvest your money. Buy things you actually need, that will make your life actually better in the long run, not in the moment.

In time, you will get to a point where you'll realize that having more money than you need and keeping it feels way better than spending everything you have on random things you won't even like next week. Not having to worry about paying your bills for the next 6 months gives you a lot of freedom. Not having to think about what you'll eat tomorrow, or next week, or next month, gives you a lot of freedom. Not having to worry about being cold in the winter gives you a lot of freedom.

And all this freedom can be gained by meeting your needs, and then knowing when they have been met.

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