Why did we get ourselves into such a mess?
Why don’t we make more money?
Whine, whine, whine.
We are working to increase our income through side hustles, and my freelancing biz is growing wonderfully each year. But not fast enough for my impatient mind. Sometimes, when I find myself wallowing in whiny-ness, I work to get some perspective by thinking about how people in most other countries live and about my own childhood and our struggles with poverty.
My most recent wake-up call came courtesy of our whining kids. Honestly, our kids are super well-behaved. They’re thoughtful, hard-working, obedient, kind and smart. But like all kids, they sometimes complain about our tight budget and the lack of ability to spend with reckless abandon. When the whining comes, my “drill sergeant” mode kicks in and I start giving the kids the “what for”. My rants, based on my own childhood experiences and observation of the less fortunate around me, usually sound something like this:
“What exactly is it that you’re complaining about? Is it tough having three meals a day? Think about what it’d be like to look in your cupboard and your fridge and find NOTHING. NADA.”
“Is it tough living in a warm heated house in the dead of winter? Try going without electricity and heat because there was no money to pay the bill!”
“Does it suck having a family that loves you and parents that devote their life to you? Think about all of the kids in foster care right now, begging for a family to love!”
On and on I go until I’m sure the kids have a crystal-clear understanding that, in spite of our unbearably tight budget, they are blessed beyond measure. And in that rant, I remember that Rick and I are also blessed beyond measure.
Our budget may be tight as we work to dump our consumer debt for good, but we’ve always had the money for basic necessities. We have a decent home, we’re healthy, strong and live in a safe area. My husband is committed to our family and works hard to be sure we’re provided for. We live in a country where we’re free to own and read our Bibles as we please, without fear of prosecution by law or death sentences.
As I worked hard to improve my perspective this week, I went on to Global Rich List to check out just how blessed we are. I punched in a random net income that was a bit lower than ours in order to give myself added perspective. I used $50,000 as the base pay, and here’s what GRL showed me:
- A person with a $50,000 annual net income is in the top .31 percent of the world’s richest people
- The hourly wage for a person with that income is $26.04, while a worker in Ghana makes just 8 cents an hour
- A worker in Zimbabwe would have to work for 49 years in order to make the salary equal to $50k
- While a worker at that rate in the U.S. would have to work 1 minute in order to earn enough money for a Coke, it would take a worker in Indonesia 2 hours to earn enough to buy a Coke in the U.S.
- An income of $50k, or $4167 a month, would pay the monthly salaries of 224 doctors in Pakistan
We can argue all day long about how horrible the U.S. is, but all it takes is a quick look around the world to see how very blessed we are. Most of us don’t live in mud huts or tents, and there is a plethora of social programs and ministries available in the U.S. that exist to provide free food, shelter and other items to the needy. Having volunteered at dozens of these organizations over the decades, I’ve seen first hand that while there are those in the U.S. who struggle, there are also many hands out to help them.
I bring this up to make the point that most of us in the U.S. have it good. Real good. Simply having shelter, clean water and food is a blessing that many both in the U.S. and out of the U.S. only dream of.
That’s why, instead of continuing to whine about our tight budget, we’re making a choice to stick it out until the debt is paid off, so that we can ramp up our giving and help more intensely those who truly need it. And in the meantime, we’ll work to keep a good perspective on all of the blessings we really do have.