Money: Living Without Enough

We used our credit cards to get home to Taos, New Mexico. When our business was thriving, we’d bought undeveloped land in a mountain forest. Andy had built a house on the back of a flatbed 1960 Ford truck and we’d parked it on the land.

There are treasures to be found when living without enough money, but it sure doesn’t seem like it at first.

At first, we alternated feeling stupid with feeling ashamed.

We equated being industrious and willing to work with having enough money and being lazy and unwilling with not having enough.

 This is a harmful myth.

 It encourages those with enough to feel proud of themselves and those without to feel ashamed.

It’s true, there ARE rich people who are industrious and have worked willingly and there ARE poor people who are lazy and unwilling to work, but what if there are not as many in both extremes as we have been led to believe?

What if most people are one bad luck experience away from financial ruin?

When Andy and I were struggling without enough money, we used credit cards to bail ourselves out. We thought credit would be a temporary bridge that would quickly get paid back but when our business never picked up and we’d spent our savings trying to keep afloat, we understood we were in big trouble.

We were advised to see a “credit counselor” to help us get our debt under control. The counselor gave us each a piece of paper prelisting every possible living expense. His strategy was to help us organize our money in a more streamlined way. He said, “You need to take your monthly income and put aside money each month for things you don’t need now, like car repairs and medical bills, and then you will have money when those things come up.”

Andy told him, “Our problem isn’t an inability to organize money. Our problem is we have no money.”

We were looking for some credit relief to give us time to get other jobs and back on our feet. He couldn’t help us.

We used our credit cards to get home to Taos, New Mexico. When our business was thriving, we’d bought undeveloped land in a mountain forest. Andy had built a house on the back of a flatbed 1960 Ford truck and we’d parked it on the land. We moved in.

 Andy applied for a job as a salesperson at a retail mountain sports shop. I began offering massages to anyone willing to pay. We became too busy surviving to dwell on feeling ashamed but we learned we were not alone feeling that way. We decided then and there that we’d honestly share our experiences with not having enough with anyone interested.

Our kids spent a lot of time at home and we began creating Taos Mountain Homeschool.

This was when the treasures of our situation started to be discovered.

Can you guess what they might be?

Read more columns at Taos News Online.

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