by Colleen Hennessey
Money that you don’t spend is money that you make.
A person with low income can have the same spending money as a person with high income, depending on what one’s expenses are.
You must have a source of income. You have to have some kind of money coming in, in order to make the wheel spin. You don’t necessarily have to have much, but you have to have something.
Try not to spend more than you make. This may seem like harsh punishment to those with low incomes, but high interest on a credit card is a harsher punishment.
One who doesn’t make a lot of money should pick a low-stress or part-time job so that personal pursuits and goals can be pursued outside of the job.
Have a list of wants and needs. This will eliminate careless spending. If you go out and buy something spontaneously, you will be less likely to use it, and therefore will have wasted money. Having a list of wanted objects gives each object greater value after you purchase it. You will have an ongoing list. The need for more things never stops, no matter how much money one has. Even someone with little money can afford to buy objects on the want list if they are not engaging in impulsive consumption.
Clean the objects you own, rather than buying more. Wanting something new is often an illusory desire. Sometimes all that is wanted is the sheen of newness, which can be achieved by cleaning the object you already have.
Put objects away and reintroduce them to your environment. Many times we don’t have room for more stuff around the house, but we want something new. Go to your closet and put on something that you haven’t worn for a while. It’s like getting something new.
If you find that you have a lot of stuff that you don’t want or wear, give it away. It’s important for everything to be circulating and used.
Avoid fines and parking tickets, or any trouble with the law. We might not agree with everything the government is and does, but the joke’s on us if it comes out of our wallet. Fight it smart, not expensive.
Avoid late fees on credit cards and at video rental stores. Banks and other corporations plan on making money off your carelessness. Don’t let them.
Fake shop. Go to a department store, try on articles that you would like
to have, but right before purchasing, put them down and leave the store.
You will be relieved when you actually return home without the objects.
Try on expensive clothes (like a $600 suit). Sometimes we want things that we can’t afford just because they are unreachable. This is not a healthy need. Sometimes all it takes is to imagine having such an object in order to realize that it will not fulfill our needs.
To realize that the outdoors is yours can be a financial achievement. The outdoors is a free sanctuary. You can walk the street, enter an urban park, or walk in the woods without expense.
Sex is perhaps the most enjoyable act for the human race. Many people spend money for the pleasure. Find a partner and enjoy sex whenever, wherever and however for free. Knowing your sex partner’s history reduces the risk of disease.
Masturbation is free. You don’t have to have a partner, and you don’t have to depend on another to make it work.
Try to use your body in a functional way. Walking is functional and may only require greater consumption of food because of the energy you will be burning up. Walking or riding a bike to work could save on transportation costs and eliminate the need for a gym membership.
The public library is a great place to keep all your books. It’s free knowledge. Only buy books that you can’t find in a library, or if you find that you check one book out more than three times, maybe then you really want it in your home.
Keep track of discount days at movies and museums. If you frequent a place often, it may be cheaper to become a member.
Communicate with friends and loved ones. This is priceless. We are all in this together. Sharing ups and downs is important for human health. Never horde experience; always share advice. It’s friendly to save someone else trial and error, if possible.
Share with same-skilled comrades. It’s important to have a community in which knowledge and equipment can be loaned and borrowed. There is no reason why each person needs their own tools. It’s better to have a variety and share within a community of the same-skilled.
Grow food. The food that one grows is often better than what you can buy. Eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season. They are fresher, cheaper, and most likely taste better. Compost for the soil and conserve with water. Planting benefits the planet. It’s also good for your health.
Learn skills instead of paying others to execute tasks for you. Time is what we have in our lives, and skill is only time invested in doing an act repeatedly. Getting better at something is a great pleasure for humans. You may want a nice garden, but you might find that it’s the time spent making it that satisfies you, rather than the final product.
Conserve with everything. Go as long as you can without putting on the heat; it will build up your immune system. Being uncomfortable can often keep you a little more present, and less likely to take things for granted.
You must have a budget. You have to keep track of what is coming in and going out. Otherwise it will be impossible to keep these equal.
If you haven’t spent money today, you’ve done something.
The Financial Manifesto is written from the perspective of an artist
with a low income who nonetheless has privileges that many in the world
do not: adequate shelter, food, a job, and a credit card. I hope that it
encourages others inhabiting this capitalist society to question what’s
important in their life and how they spend their time.
Copyright Colleen L. Hennessey 2003, firstname.lastname@example.org