Your Charmed Life

Your Charmed Life

Prosperity — and living a charmed life

I got a comment recently from a reader who said she felt I
was “out of touch with the common

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 people.” That seemed so strange to me, since
I am one of the common people. True, now
that William and I are in our 50s and our children are grown, we are doing well
financially. That “doing well,” however, means that William puts in long hours
six days a week; and I’m constantly looking for ways to stay afloat as
journalism languishes and making a living as a writer and speaker becomes
increasingly challenging. Even so, I know how lucky we are; but I can only
fantasize what it would be like to be as privileged as I may sometimes appear. 


Here’s part of what I think is going on: Back in the 80s
when I was a single mom and really poor, I learned from wonderful mentors and
teachers how to live well on not much (you can read about this “living richly”
in my “Victoria’s Victorious Bailout Plan” post from February 2, 2009). These
people taught me how to put forth an aura of abundance. I still use those
principles, and evidently I have more of an “aura of abundance” than I thought.

The other aspect is this: I blog about what I do, not what I
don’t do. You guys know that I buy heirloom tomatoes at the farmers’ market and
organic arugula at my favorite local health food store, but there’s a lot that
I don’t buy—meat, cheese, coffee, packaged foods, convenience foods. Leaving
those off the grocery list saves a lot of money that I get to use in the
produce department. 



Like many New Yorkers, William and I get around without an
automobile; we’re blessed with excellent public transportation and a love of
walking. Other than for my bio-identical hormones, we’re not spending anything
on prescription (or non-prescription) drugs. (We do pay for health insurance,
however, since we lost ours when William was laid off in 2004.) We live (and
have our two offices, now that we’re both self-employed) in a two-bedroom
apartment in one of Manhattan’s least expensive neighborhoods. It’s lovely, but
not lavish. Neither one of us shops much (every time I do, it’s


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 enough of an adventure
that I tell you about it), and aside from our mortgage, we don’t owe anybody a
cent: no revolving credit, no debt, no interest.

It is true: a very nice slice of the American Dream is
happening in my life and my family’s. But we have to make choices like
everybody else. So tell me: what do you do to feel prosperous the way things
are right now, and what do you do to make frugality as classy as it can be?


Comments read comments(8)
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posted August 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm

First I want to say that I think you are a dynamic, charming and wonderful person! Your wit and wisdom are always so refreshing and empowering. You are completely in touch with the common person! You just choose to see the glass as half full and make decisions that benefit you (body, mind and spirit), instead of seeing the glass as half empty and complaining about everything. Your books are amazing and inspiring and the one time I heard you speak at a Women’s Convention was a life affirming experience for me. You are at the top of my list of “Interesting and Lovely People I Would Like to Meet.”
Thank you for all you do!
Cheryl Armstrong

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posted August 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm

I have been married for 19 years to the same wonderful man and, despite both of us going to school at the same time, temporary jobs, rented housing, limited food budget, and years without new clothes we never felt like we “did without.” It may sound corny, but just having eachother was enough. Now that our school years are way behind us, we have a house and cars and we make a comfortable living, we still find we are very frugal because we learned from the start to be this way. We do go on great vacations and weekly dates but we find we have the most fun on the dates where we spend very little money.
I love the quote by Victor Frankl, a survivor of the holocaust, “It is your attitude not your situation that determines your happiness.”

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posted August 28, 2009 at 5:23 pm

There are people with a lot of money who do not live richly. Thanks to your books, blogs, newsletters, etc, I have learned that it’s about appreciating what you have and making the most of what you have, not just having a lot of stuff. It’s also about appreciating and enjoying all the people in our lives. And appreciating all the wonders of the world that are constantly right there for us to notice and enjoy. It’s our attitude and living gratefully that gives us a charmed life. You are a living example of that!

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posted August 28, 2009 at 6:01 pm

This is a very interesting topic–i’m glad you brought it up. It must feel awful to think that you have to explain your financial situation and defend it. In our culture, where those who seem to have a lot of money are treated as grown-ups (mature) and those who seem to have very little are treated like children, conversations about money always seem difficult and very personal…I was once asked by a women “What do you do?” i told her that I paint for six hours a day. I am an artist. She seemed very put off by that and in a very accusatory voice replied, “Well! I wish I could paint for six hours a day, but I have to work!” of course i was very hurt by that because i do view my daily activity as work– I couldn’t live without it for internal rather than external reasons. It’s just a choice I’ve made. My husband and I spend most of our money on healthy food and education. We don’t own a home–we have a small mazda that is over 10 years, –I guess we don’t have a lot of things, but i consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because I know what matters to me and I live according to my values–something that was very hard won and of which i am quite proud. i know a lot of people who would not pay for their child’s education thinking that it wouldn’t lead to a job–this is something that makes me incredibly sad…education is the only thing that no-one can ever take away from you. education has changed my life and i would continue to pay any price for it and never count the cost. BTW i read an interesting statistic that people in the U.S. actually spend a much smaller percentage of their income on food than they did 30 years ago…can’t remember the exact figure…what we think costs alot is very slippery and guided a lot by our culture and imagination, I think.

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posted August 28, 2009 at 7:49 pm

It is very awkward to have to defend your finances and how you spend and make money. I’ve always followed the laws of prosperity and it has helped me a lot and a lot of people my age (I’m 24) are constantly perplexed on how I could possibly “make it” on a waitress’ salary, or a barista’s salary or whatever hourly-waged job I am holding at the moment. I can’t explain it other than I’m very lucky and I stay out of debt and I’m very generous with everyone.
I once told my former employer that I was getting a massage and I was paying for it in cash ($70) and she told me I couldn’t possibly afford to get a massage because I don’t make enough money. It was a very awkward situation and I really didn’t know how to respond..
Anyway, I just wanted to give you some love and support! I’ve been a fan of yours for 5 years now and I just wanted to tell you your books have absolutely changed my life. Thanks, Victoria!

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Victoria Moran

posted August 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments and your beautiful sharing about the richness in your own lives. I really appreciate them. And, Ruzielle, I’m so happy you told us about your boss’s comment. It’s so true: when something is important, you find a way to do it. Have a great weekend, everybody!

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thomas vuono

posted August 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm

I had too laugh when you used the term ” aura of abundance ” for I knew exactly what you meant . Sometime back in the 80’s I decided at the ripe old age of 35 that i wanted too learn how too ski and I wanted to ski well. The problem was I came from a middle class section of Brooklyn N.Y. and worked at a blue collar job with a utility co. My job paid well, but after bills, I usually had only enough money on the weekend too catch a movie. My problem was I just didn’t want to ski, but wanted to become an expert at the sport. As with any athletic endeavor there’s the 10,000 hr rule. Which means 10,000 hours of practice to become very good at the sport. Where was I going to get the money for some lessons, equipment,lift tickets car fare and hotel. Yet I had a friend whom made about the same money as I and skied every weekend. I met with my friend one day and we talked. He told me his secret. During the weekdays he would spend six – eight hours a day working in a ski shop as a ski technician this shop had tours every weekend and he would go on these tours to different ski areas in order to maintain the rental equipment. the tour co. would pay his transportation and accommodations, because he worked in the industry his lift tickets were free. Plus he got to meet some wonderful people. That winter I ended up working at the same ski shop, and that season I had put in 40 days on the slopes of N.Y. vermont and new hampshire by the second year I was rated as all terrain expert. The only cost to me was MY time spent at a fun place too work

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posted September 5, 2009 at 9:49 pm

I’ve been thinking about this post. I didn’t see your reader’s comment so I don’t know exactly what she said, but I was wondering if she suggested you were “out of touch” not so much because of money but possibly because you’re doing what you love. So many people are in jobs that they don’t even like, let alone love. It is easy to look at someone who is in the flow (like you) and think you’ve got it so easy. Many of us know that it takes work to stay in the flow (why do you eat healthy, meditate, do yoga, etc??). I think the same could be said of soul mates. It sounds like some magical place that should just happen. I don’t believe that – I think creating a soul mate relationships requires a commitment to communicate, stay open, spend time together, etc. It’s not easy at all! So, I’m just saying that I wonder if your reader sees this persona of you and the work you do thinks you’ve got it easy. Just a thought.

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