My Story: Poor in Money and Rich in Time

contributed by NYC lady

I live in New York City. I have a college degree in science with an adult education degree in bookkeeping. Yet, I am vowing to be poor. Poor with money, but rich in time.

When I first began my quest with frugality, I found The Dollar Stretcher and I read many, many back issues. I have decided to be poor!

I would rather work only 60 hours a month and pretend to be living below the artificial poverty line in a solid Middle class neighborhood. (I call it Artificial poverty because my Mortgage is extremely high, which takes up 80% of my total income) My mortgage and utilities add up to a couple of grand a month, which leaves only enough left for food. One half of my income is child support and the other half is from freelancing.

I have built up a six months emergency fund in case something goes wrong.

Why work only 60 hours a month freelancing?

  1. Time to spend with my 18-year-old son, 16-year-old daughter (who lives with her dad but visits a lot) and 6-year-old son.

  2. Time to read, study, and learn.

  3. Time to exercise and stay in shape. Health is more important than money.

  4. Time to be at my son's school when they have performances, open house, etc.

  5. Time to be with my children when they are ill.

  6. Time to learn the art of making bread using yeast and all other foods and bakery goodies.

  7. Time to think up how to be totally financially independent as stated in the book Your Money or Your Life .

  8. Time to think about how life can be different.

  9. Time to realize that what I buy has an effect on the environment.

The time to think has made me realize that I can sell my home and buy a multi-family home. I can stop working altogether and work for others doing volunteer work. I want to feel like I can make a difference. When a woman reaches 41, she starts to want to make a difference. I am choosing to be poor in money and rich in time. I am choosing to be frugal and get by on as little money as possible.

It will take approximately two to three years to implement my plans. At that time, I will stop working for any income and do volunteer work. It will take time due to my immediate family obligation, which is keeping me for the time from selling my current home.

But if I have work 40+ hours per week (including travel time), I wouldn't have time to realize I can do other things. I can cook, exercise, read, learn, and make my dreams come true. I don't need fancy clothing, fancy haircuts, or fancy home remodeling. I need time and that is what I choose.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to

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