I remember my first ever earned money. It was twelve dollars. I was making various jewellery with beads and selling it to my classmates. I was around ten or eleven years of age. I remember I took an empty box for baby napkins from my cousin, and that box looked like a bear, and it became my first piggy bank. I thought I had an enormous amount of money. Around the same time I used to help out on a market close to where my grandparents lived, and local businessmen would employ kids to unload watermelon trucks. The biggest pay I ever got from that job was two cracked watermelons, so having twelve bucks in my piggy bank felt great.
I remember my first freelancing gig. I was twelve and I just learned basics of HTML and CSS. My mother was on a phone with a friend and somehow they started to talk about their company’s website. A few minutes later my mom asked if I could make a website for her friend, and I, full of excitement, said — of course! Then she asked how much I would charge for it, so I imagined the highest amount of money appropriate for my skill, so I said… hmm… yeah, twenty US dollars. I was sure they would reject me for such a bold rate, but instead they replied they’d happily give me a hundred. A hundred US dollars. Be sure I poured all my knowledge and creativity into that website. That thing was shining and squeaking with glorious DHTML and every imaginable CSS property!
When I was twelve, I thought a hundred dollars is an enormous amount of money. For many families it still is. By then I thought that a thousand dollars is, first and foremost, an unachievable amount, and then also I had no clue how to spend it. But later I learned that both thoughts were not true.
Probably a decade later I landed a job where I was earning around a thousand dollars a month. I thought it was an incredible salary for such a young fellow, and am still very grateful for it, and still think it’s a privilege. At that time I remember talking to a friend about a person we both knew, and that they were earning around ten thousand a month. I remember thinking that this amount of money is unachievable to earn, and I would have no clue how to spend 120k a year. And then my friend said: “Wait for it. Once you earn this amount of money, you’ll have a clear need and understanding how to spend it.”
I won’t say how much I earn now, but I will say that these days I have a very long list of ideas how to spend not only 120k, but many millions. I don’t think I have clear enough ideas, so that’s why nobody has given me such money just yet.
I do know that there is, and there should be, enough of an amount that a person can spend on themself and their family to have an incredible level of comfort and leisure. And oh boy, I believe it’s way low 120k. I’m very grateful for all the folks in the FIRE community that showed all of us that lots of middle-class-western-society people swim in a thick fatty layer of the financial soup, and more good can be achieved with less money.
There is such thing as enough. And you don’t need that fancy 3500 USD touring bicycle with a steel folding frame, Pinion gearbox and a carbon drive belt you’ve been wishing for so many christmases already. Learn how to maintain a gear casette and a good-old metal chain instead.