When you don’t know a lot about health, ‘weight’ seems like a really good metric.

And maybe in lots of cases it is (I don’t know a lot about health)

What I find so interesting is that the same weight can feel so different in the body. The scale can show you the exact same number… but sometimes it can feel like a healthy version of you, and sometimes it does not.

I’m pretty sure, with my terrible understanding of how the body works, that it has something to do with the things that are making up that weight. To put it in the most binary way possible: fat or muscle.

It’s not just the number, it’s what makes up the number that plays a huge role in whether we feel healthy or not.

How $30,000 can feel completely different…

If I travel back in time 7 years, I was working at a young artist program and making a pretty decent salary – $1,000 a week for around 30 weeks in the year.

Okay. So it wasn’t a ton of money, but it felt like quite a bit at the time.


Let’s compare that to the last two years. I’ve been going through some transitioning, building up my financial practice, educating the old brain blah blah blah… it’s been a low income couple of years.

In fact two years ago I made around the same: $30,000

Two different years. Two very different feelings. But that isn’t even the half of it.

On the surface I remember very clearly that my first 30,000 felt like a lot. It was my first time making significant money as a singer. It was also paid out in monthly paycheques, which is unheard of in the arts business (at least it is for opera singers). I was taking people out for dinner, and buying all the fancy sweaters.

The second 30,000 felt completely different. Over half of it came from one and a half month’s of gigs. Which meant there were lots of months I was making no money at all. Even though I had a GOOD SYSTEM FOR MANAGING VARIABLE INCOME, going months without the validation of a paycheque made me feel way less positive about my money.

So there you go…. point proven…. income numbers are not created equal, there’s a lot to be said by how those income numbers break down.

And also, I don’t really care about that right now, there’s another level to this whole thing.

Let’s go deeper.

What can $30,000 a year buy you?

So to sum up – 7 years ago Chris felt rich, 2 years ago Chris felt like he was barely scraping by – but you know that I don’t care about how much money is coming in… it’s how we use it that matters. How we use it is a huge factor in how successful we feel about our money.

7 years ago I was pre financial renaissance. I had no idea how I spent my money. I lived by the old code: when you have money spend it, and when you don’t …. live off hotdogs and Mr Noodle.

I finished that year with nothing to show for it. Well… I’m sure nothing is a bit drastic, but since I hadn’t really made clear what my financial/life priorities were, only a small amount of money was getting through to the things that were important.

2 years ago I was in a different stage of my financial technique.

I was able to not only MANAGE THAT VARIABLE INCOME, but funnel it into the things that mattered I’m a little blown away at all the things I was able to do: put thousands of dollars into fixing my teeth, invest another couple thousand in financial planning courses, launch a blog, and buy a new computer and bike.

That’s the difference that a financial technique can make… not necessarily in the amount of income that you make, but the efficacy of every dollar that you have.

Changing everything about how something feels… while not changing anything about how something is

For someone who doesn’t know a lot about money, ‘income’ seems like a really good metric.

And sometimes it is.

But you guys know that income is a hard thing to depend on. And I’m here to tell you that if you’re expecting more income to make you worry less… it won’t.

What’s going to make you worry less is changing the make up of that number. Diving into your expenses and making sure that your money isn’t getting sucked down a black hole or into stuff you don’t care about.

There are a lot of ways to live a $30,000 life.

I’ve lived two options, and there are thousands more.

But the income alone doesn’t determine the possibilities.

You do.

Emily Nixon

Emily Nixon

Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator

Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.

She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.

Email Emily at emily@ragstoreasonable.com

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