Andrew Ducker (andrewducker) wrote,
Andrew Ducker

Happiness through not having no money

I remember having no money. Living on Jobseeker's Allowance, and basically never having any spare money.

I remember the first time that I could afford to buy a can of Coke without thinking "But can I afford this?" And it felt like such a relief.

I remember being able to pay off the overdraft and loans I'd built up, and hit zero. I didn't have any spare cash, but I didn't have debts either. And that felt like a massive victory.

And now I have enough spare cash that I can actually buy things cheaper than most other people I know. And it's ridiculous, because I got a bonus at the end of the year that meant I paid £5000 in tax. And that seems ridiculous to me. Not because I'm paying lots of tax (I earn enough that I _should_ pay lots of tax), but because I didn't expect to reach this position.

And I particularly didn't expect that because I work at a big company I would suddenly be offered cheap deals all the time. That I can buy cinema tickets for 1/3 off. Or that I can get Sainsbury's gift cards for 10% off, which feels obscene to me. I've got spare cash, therefore I get to buy my groceries for cheaper than people that don't.

And it's just such a relief that I can buy a bus pass each month and just not have to think about how much travel costs. I can get a phone contract that means I don't have to think about how much data costs. I can spend a little more to cut out the stress of worrying about money.

And getting rid of that stress is one of the major reasons I'd want a Basic Income - because living in the horrible stress that poverty places on people is so harmful. Not that I have any answers here. I just saw one of my friends talking about how not being poor makes things cheaper, and I wish that there was something I could do about it.

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.

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