What’s Worse?

I recently found out that two acquaintances of mine both recently lost their jobs.

One was making OK money and lives close to paycheck-to-paycheck, while the other was making BANK and enjoys all the luxuries that come with that.

Now they’re both pretty stressed out about it, but one recently made an off-hand comment that the other will be having a much harder time dealing with it and feels his situation is much better. (They both know each other)

Wanna take a stab at which person said it? :) Friend A with less money but smaller expenses, or Friend B with a bigger income and inflated expenses?

You can probably guess having read this blog for a while, but it was Friend A – the one with less money! Which of course at first glance wouldn’t make sense – why would someone living paycheck-to-paycheck have an easier time with a job loss than someone making much more? – but as we all know, your *expected lifestyle* tends to play a much larger role emotionally than your state of finances.

Friend A is used to skimping by and has thus learned to craft a decent life around it (his actual words to me were “I’m used to living poor”), while Friend B, aka Mr. MoneyBags, is now used to a more high-flying life and will  have to figure out how to reign it all in now to sustain this lifestyle of his.

Of course, Friend B in theory should have much more stashed away and plenty of areas he could downsize in a pinch (the house, the cars, the “toys”), but again the emotional toll on it might be harder to swallow than the financial side – even if just temporarily. I’d also have to imagine it’s much harder to replace a high-paying job of that caliber than an entry-level one too?  So the strain could last quite longer for him than Friend A as well. So long, at least, as Friend A can still keep the lights on and food in the fridge!

Now, it’s entirely possible that we’re ALL wrong here, and Friend A just made the comment to make himself feel better because in either situation it blows! 😂 And now here we’ve got this blog post being published to thousands of people around the world dissecting a dilemma that none of us knows anything about, lol… (Which doesn’t stop it from still being fun, of course ;))

In either case, it’s interesting to ponder, and regardless of what side you find yourself on it’s good to KNOW YOURSELF first before one day maybe finding yourself in a similar position scrambling… As we all know, there is more to wealth than income, and the expenses side is a VERY large part of that. The lower expenses you have, the less you need to make and the quicker you get to FIRE! It’s not just about the income, gotta keep ALL the bases in check!

elmo on fire


In other news…. *awkward transition*

Happy summer!! I hope y’all are living your Best Lives and enjoying some good time w/ your kiddos if you have any! (Sanity, that is, hah!).

That’s what I’ve been doing here lately, and thus my absence over the past few months…

I think last we connected I was starting my journey taking over grocery shopping, and while I’m still far from being a pro yet, I am proud to say it’s still going strong and everyone has food to eat every night 😁  Though I’ll admit I still pick up more things than I’d like based on *convenience* rather than *price*. But maybe that’s OK now that I don’t have to watch every penny anymore? The perks of being good with your money for so many years?

Speaking of which, this blog turned 15 this year and I totally missed it! 15 years – crazy!!! Is anyone still here from the start of it? Or even the bulk of it, like when I used to call myself J. Savings???! Hahaha…. It’s wild looking back at all the changes in both the blog and my life the past decade and a half, but it’s cool we’re still here and hopefully at least a tinee bit wiser :) I love that y’all still pop in and say hi so we stay connected over the years – I hope you continue to do that! Friends for life, please!!

internet high five

I’ve also been very much enjoying my volunteer work and starting to see it as a 2nd calling. After months of experimenting and figuring out “my place” with it all, I’ve finally carved out a nice position for myself at a local homeless shelter focusing on keeping everyone nice and clothed. Which in itself is pretty valuable, of course – clothes are important! – but I’m realizing more and more that it’s not just the *stuff* we help the unhoused with, but moreso it’s about letting them know they are respected and *SEEN*.

The other day I merely asked someone how they were doing, and their exact response back to me was, “It’s nice to hear voices.” That really hit me :( So many people are hidden away from society just trying to survive (and not get arrested!) so when they make the trek into our place they get to be “normal” again and surrounded by a community who values them. I think I genuinely now have about 7 new people I call a friend, and while some days are harder than others, it’s been an incredible journey so far.

And in that same vein of “being seen,” people also want to look and FEEL good too! Sure they’ll take anything that’s dry and fits them well, but man do they love CHOICE when given the option. Just as we do. They each have their own fashion style and will clamour for items that fit that as soon as they come into the door :) Last week I brought in a pair of Vans and some skinny jeans and they were taken out of my hands before I even PUT THEM DOWN on the shelves! It actually makes me want to set up some sort of fashion show or something where they can all dress up and strut down the runway rocking their styles as some sort of charity event. But I still don’t know enough about what’s “appropriate” and what’s not there yet so for now I just save my ideas to myself…

I’ve also learned how GENEROUS people are with their time and donations (some of the stuff people donate is nicer than anything I own!!) and also how everyone needs *belts* but they’re some of the hardest things to come by! So much so that the homeless end up just stripping the laces off the donated shoes and crafting their own makeshift belts right there on the spot… I see it at least twice a week, and that’s only on MY shifts! Such a simple – and cheap thing – a belt, but man can they be valuable…

(Speaking of shifts – my thesis on being able to come and go as you please once an organization knows you more def. stands true! I play nice and go through their system more or less each week, but I also just pop in and out when I feel like it too which as you know is my ultimate preference. Especially when you have kids in and out of camps all summer long!)

So needless to say, I’ve been getting more joy volunteering now than just sitting at the coffee shops or doing puzzles all day long, lol… so Phase I of being WifeFI’d is officially over, and now we enter a new one of more productiveness and purpose ;)

Now tell me what you guys have been up to! Anyone else getting into life changing things over there? Or perhaps some fun projects or vacations this summer?

My kids joined the swim team for the first time ever so we’ve basically been living at the pool when we’re all together ;) A whole other experience that I’ll save for another day, though I will say it’s finally nice to show off my tattoos as the only time they see the light of day is when my shirt is off, haha… So that’s something.

Okay bye for now.

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  1. Adam June 23, 2023 at 11:26 AM

    Get it, J! It’s wonderful to hear you’re doing well and making good things happen. And thanks for the valuable intel — I’m sure I’ve got a couple belts lying around that could stand to make someone’s life easier.

    1. J. Money June 23, 2023 at 11:57 AM


  2. HappiiKiiddo June 23, 2023 at 11:45 AM

    Hey I’m in a similar situation as you. I have also taken over the grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking… It’s saving us money since we no longer buy processed food, junk food, UberEats, alcohol,…and no longer have any spoiled or expired food. It’s also improving our health, I have lost 60lbs in 1 year, no longer have migraines, eczema,…

    My spouse has taken over the cleaning, dishwashing, laundry,… We are both happy about the new arrangement

    1. J. Money June 23, 2023 at 11:59 AM

      WOW!!! Y’all need to write a book or start a blog or something to share all these secrets! You guys are killing it!

  3. Donna Freedman June 23, 2023 at 1:55 PM

    Still here, from WAY back in the day…And my own site is in its 14th year, so I know what you mean. How the heck do these things happen?!?

    Glad you’re volunteering, but I’m not surprised: You have a generous soul.

    Hope to see you at FinCon in October.

    1. J. Money June 23, 2023 at 2:53 PM

      You sure will!

      Maybe we’ll need to take a shot of whiskey for each year surviving this blog world, lol…. Though since I was away for two of them you’ll be drinking more than me! 😂

  4. Walnut June 23, 2023 at 2:50 PM

    Still here from WAY back. Pretty sure I started reading around the time you started maxing out your 401k in the first couple months of the year.

    I didn’t have the cash flow for that, but it did inspire me to front load my HSA contributions and not touch them for actual expenses. $5k or so a year has built up to a nice chunk of change over the years.

    I’ve also bought/sold four houses over the years, am in position to pay off my mortgage in about six weeks.

    Daily habits mixed with dumb luck and catching a bit of lightning in a bottle has worked out well over the years.

    1. J. Money June 23, 2023 at 2:56 PM

      Hell yeah man, work it!! That mortgage gonna feel real good getting rid of! At least for a day! Haha…

      If you ever feel inspired to jot down a list of everything you’ve done to get to this point I would love to check it out and consider it for the blog :)

      So cool you’ve been reading for so long – that 401k matching was at least 14 years ago!! I miss those days, but def. don’t miss the 9-5 :)

  5. Financial Fives June 23, 2023 at 3:51 PM

    15 years??? Can’t believe it’s been around since the Great Recession, but what perfect timing. I didn’t even know about blogs until about 2013 :).

    I was thinking about you and waiting to hear another update, thank you for blessing us with one this summer weekend.

    Friend B would probably be better off, even though he might have to make more drastic changes to his spending. I say this because he can choose where to reduce spending first, and given the fact they make so much money, they’ll probably find another high-paying job soon, and use this experience to bolster their savings!

    1. J. Money June 23, 2023 at 6:22 PM

      Let’s hope!! Maybe he’ll stumble upon $$ blogs like I did when looking for a budget all those years ago and then pleasantly have his entire life (and finances) changed :) We sure are lucky to have found this community!

  6. Jane Kimble June 23, 2023 at 4:03 PM

    I’ll bet I’m still your oldest reader (94)! Really don’t know when I started reading your blog. I was thoroughly astonished when I first found your blog as my father had admonished me ‘politics, religion and money are divisive and must not be talked about.’ But there was your blog talking about money – and quite a lot of folks were interested in reading; including me! There were/are a lot of folks out there with no financial education, especially if their fathers refuse to talk about $.
    So it’s been interesting to read about the evolvement of your life. You’ve done well and thank you for sharing!

    1. J. Money June 23, 2023 at 6:25 PM

      Hi Janie!! Always a pleasure to see you here :) I want to celebrate 100 with you please and will make sure I’m still blogging at least until then, deal? And anytime you wish to share all that wisdom you’ve earned over the years – financial or otherwise – I’d love to devour it, please :)

  7. Tammy June 23, 2023 at 4:22 PM

    Glad to see your back, been missing reading your blog

    1. J. Money June 23, 2023 at 6:26 PM

      Appreciate you 🙏 🙏

  8. Rita June 23, 2023 at 11:52 PM

    “Though I’ll admit I still pick up more things than I’d like based on *convenience* rather than *price*. ”

    It doesn’t sound like you took the advice in my top 35 ways to cut your food bill article — make menus. When you make menus, you base your grocery list on the menus, which of course include items from the weekly food specials.

    I’ve been missing your articles and charm. Glad to see you back. I’m also glad you found such a much needed volunteer opportunity. It’s so important give back and make a contribution.

    1. J. Money June 26, 2023 at 6:35 AM

      Thanks Rita!

      Hope things are going well with your online ventures (and books!) too! Gotta get those tips out to more people like me out there ;)

  9. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life June 24, 2023 at 12:25 AM

    Still here! *Fist bump* you remember Single Ma from back when, yeah? She had a YT Live today and she and her special guest both mentioned you as their early/first blogs

    Really glad to hear about your volunteering, I think a lot more of us could use that perspective about people just needing to be seen and treated as fellow humans. It’s gross how people act like being unhoused makes someone “less than”.

    I hope you’ll keep sharing your volunteering experiences here ❤️

    Oh and a fun bit of news: for our first June Lakota family, our money went to refilling a family’s propane tank so granny can heat water for cooking and bathing! Yay us!

    1. J. Money June 26, 2023 at 6:56 AM

      Ahhhh LOVE IT!!!

      That’s so cool Single Ma is still around!!! That brings back so many good memories, gosh… It all feels like just a day ago, but also like an eternity ago! 😆

      Will you please tell her I say hi and glad she’s doing well? Thanks for all you do for the Lakotas!! I know that takes a butt ton of energy and time!

  10. Mr Fate June 24, 2023 at 5:01 PM

    15 years? I had zero idea. Massive congrats and nice to know you’re doing so well!

    Fates purposefully does not do “How To” articles but I’d put myself in the “universe class” of grocery shoppers, so maybe I’ll to thst one. Thanks for the inspiration.

    I started volunteering at a local cat sanctuary a few years back and cannot say enough how good it feels to help others in need (be they human or feline). So glad you found that and are enjoying. Aside from the direct help to individuals, it also provides for me a feeling of being a party of the local community.

    Anyway, stay good & stay true, my dude.

    1. J. Money June 26, 2023 at 6:59 AM

      You too, sir! Glad those feline friends have a good guy watching over them! :)

  11. Allyson June 25, 2023 at 11:21 AM

    I’ve been here a while, though not from the very beginning. It’s wonderful hearing your updates and inspiration. I love how you always impart new ideas. (Belts! It makes perfect sense but I had not thought about it before. Now it will be on my donation list!)
    Currently suffering under the Texas heat dome and staying inside a bit near more than usual, but it does have me clearing out the closets!

    1. J. Money June 26, 2023 at 7:00 AM

      Haha, that’s good!! Decluttering is always good for the soul :) Much less to think about (and maintain) once you get back outside and enjoying life! Hope you get some reprieve soon 🙌

  12. Nona June 27, 2023 at 4:15 AM

    I have been here from early on, but only after the first year or two.
    I have been on my own road to FI for a while And finally arrived there together with my huisbrand 5 years ago.
    we have been stay at home parents for our 3 kids (15,13 and 8) ever since and we al love it to bits.
    Especially since our 3 kids have (a light form)of autism…Both of us being able to be there for them fulltime keeps us all sane!
    Apart from caring for each other we also try to travel as much as we can. Making memories together is priceless and also for them its important to make their world as big as possible, since they have their own boundaries in their heads.
    No time for volunteer work, but heads up for you! You are doing an amazing job there!

    1. J. Money June 27, 2023 at 6:41 AM

      Hi Nona – thank you!! And what a FANTASTIC way to be using your freedom you’ve both earned!! Can’t even imagine how much those kids love and appreciate you guys doing that for them.. The best thing you can honestly ever give them – your time! And esp good while they’re young before they leave us all to our lonesomes!!! *tear*… lol…

  13. Ginger July 8, 2023 at 8:01 AM

    I’ve been reading for almost all of those 15 years. I went back to look and I read your blog since prior to April 2008 because I remember reading the “How To Become A Millionaire!” when it came out. I’m number 57 on the add on list of bloggers who made that pledge. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for all these years. My blog does not really exist anymore but I keep it online just in case it helps someone like I was 15 years ago. I’m very impressed that you keep posting and you still are fun to read. Enjoy your venture into gaming.

    1. J. Money July 10, 2023 at 7:40 AM

      AHHH SO COOL!!! I think you win the award for reading the longest :) I remember exactly where I was when I was posting that particular article too – at my desk job!! Before I even knew you could do blogging stuff for a living, lol…. Such fun times… You’ll have to let me know when you hit that million if you haven’t already so I can update it that you’ve crossed over! :)

  14. Jon Sterling July 9, 2023 at 12:47 PM

    I totally appreciate this. One of my best friends is constantly stressed about his high-paying job and the possibility of losing it if they company makes some blunder, or the recession hits them somehow. He has invested well and comes from a well-off family so he’s not in any REAL danger of ending up on the streets, but it still bothers him because of the massive expenses he has created for himself. Maybe someday he’ll come around to the idea that he has built his own prison if I keep sending him links to articles like yours. :-)

    1. J. Money July 10, 2023 at 7:42 AM

      Haha I hope so!! What a perfect opportunity to pair down and live on less before you ever *need* to! You can get to that point much faster when you have a surplus than when you don’t :) Then of course you don’t need as much to retire on and can be even more stress-free – woo!

  15. Cindy July 10, 2023 at 2:19 PM

    15 years! Congrats! Longgg time reader, 12-13 yrs now. So happy to see you back and hearing that time has not aged you a bit. Also a swim parent here, so if I can return the favor and share any wisdom… wear flip flops when you time. Lol. Keep up the sunny disposition.

    1. J. Money July 11, 2023 at 7:54 AM

      Haha awesome – thank you! We’re *both* aging well I’d like to think! 😁


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