I just faced all the money in my wallet. It’s something I do occasionally, as part of my regular wallet-receipt-purge-and-sort, which is largely an excuse to get a quick count on the amount of money I’m carrying around. Usually it’s $40, give or take, a twenty and some mixed smaller bills. Enough to buy lunch or hit the grocery store without having to touch my card. But today, there are three hundred and fifteen bucks in there. Now, this isn’t a princely amount, I’m not gonna impress anybody if I make $315 worth of “rain” in the club, but it’s not insignificant, it represents five trips to the grocery store. Ten fill ups in the Jarvicar (more like eight as soon as the weather gets nice). One “holy shit” meal with drinks for my whole family. Three hundred bucks worth of immediate liquid spending power is not remarkable, but here’s what is.
If I lost my wallet today, I would not have to prostitute myself to make ends meet.
Yes, it would suck. Yes, I would probably eat some ramen for dinner, I’d definitely not be buying any Beaker and Flask cocktails at full price, but I wouldn’t be stacking quarters out of my change bowl to buy three bucks worth of gas. As a matter of fact, unless another tragedy struck back to back with this one, I really wouldn’t even have to _think_ about the loss of that money. By this time next month, I would almost certainly have recovered from the financial strain by simply keeping the course.
Thanks to Get Rich Slowly and the debt snowball and the emergency fund and ING direct and The Sun’s Financial Diary and all the other resources I’ve found about taking control of your finances, I have made slow progress to _this_. This is the first time in my life when a small financial setback wouldn’t send me scurrying to sell off a savings bond or max out a credit card (or more likely apply for NEW credit). This is the first time in my life when a failed appliance or unexpected car repair won’t send me into a months long fight back to just-regular-broke. I own my car outright. I have a pretty reasonable mortgage on a place I’m only slightly underwater on in a neighborhood I can deal with. I’ve got a job that satisfies my bills and gives me enough left over to save a little and indulge all but my most ridiculous desires. Most days I don’t even know how far away my next payday is, and when I go to bed I’m almost never thinking about money.
I think this might be what wealth feels like.