I had to put the tissues back. I was checking out at the grocery store and slowly watching the numbers go up and up. Unfortunately, the tissues were above my budget. I reluctantly took them off and paid for the rest of the stuff. Bread, cucumbers, milk. That was it.
Fast forward to a few months later, I had a job. An income. I was watching the numbers on the checkout with a little smile. There was no need to take anything off. Walking home with tissues AND yogurt, I felt like the richest person in the world. Buying tissues felt luxurious and decadent.
Before I had lost my job I had never considered myself lucky to be able to buy tissues. After all, tissues are a “basic need”. It was something you bought and that was that. I never felt grateful or lucky to have those types of things. After that experience, I started having a new appreciation for all the things I had to do without.
I am always terrified about losing my job and being without again. That is probably why I am so into personal finance and what drives my naturally frugal streak. It’s also why I am very motivated to build a decent-sized emergency fund.
One thing that calms me down is knowing that I have managed to live on a lot less than I do now and I can live on less in the future. I know that a lot of the things I now consider “needs” are not really “needs”. Of course, one cannot live on air and there comes a point where you can’t cut down any further that you cut.