by GEORGIE DENT
I love reading. Newspapers. Books. Websites. Magazines. Blogs.
Where there are words my eyes are happy to follow. I particularly like it when my eyes happen upon a bunch of words that change the way I’m thinking or feeling.
This happened last week when I read this article that writer Rachel Hills penned, about the privileged poor. It made me realise that I have been carrying on like entitled royalty.
Not out aloud or anything. There have been no tears over tiaras and no tantrums because no one will buy me a pony. My entitled princess tendencies are (mostly) invisible to bystanders.
Actually, until now, they’ve been mostly invisible to me too. They’ve been quietly embedded in my psyche and I’d like to thank Hills for forcing me to burrow them out.
Rachel wrote about the growing number of Australians who consider themselves to be struggling despite being quite well off. She makes the point that it’s become quite commonplace to cry ‘poor’ when something even quite discretionary – a night out, a trip away, a new outfit – is out of reach. In her words:
“The result is … either you are “poor” and poised on the edge of bankruptcy, or you are ‘comfortable’ and you never have to think about money at all”
“But being middle-class doesn’t mean never needing to make a choice about what you spend your money on. It means having the wiggle room to choose in the first place.”
Reading that I realised that I’d fallen into that very trap. Of believing that I’m poor because I constantly juggle what we can and can’t afford.
I have two children and being on maternity leave has certainly had an impact on my life in strict budgetary terms. Regardless of the specific trigger for a while now, I’ve been begrudging the fact I have to watch where every dollar goes.
I dislike feeling stressed about money.
I don’t like constantly doing sums in my head and having to say no to things because our bank balance won’t stretch that far. I hate receiving unexpected bills and I dream of doing the groceries without a strict budget looming large.