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Money Saving Tips Learned From The Third World

Updated on April 26, 2011

Like the exhaust that spews from our Ford Explorers, the American dream has gone up in smoke. Our quality of life is going to be less then that of our parents. Jobs are scarce, the rich get richer and the middle class grow more poor. Ok, maybe I am being a little pessimistic, but you have to admit, times are tough and it’s a long walk through the dank darkness to the pin prick of light coming from the far side of the recession tunnel. It may be that we, as Americans, have to settle for less then we are used to.

On that note, I have some relevant advice I would like to share. I have been lucky enough to have the privilege of traveling a bit in my life and in those travels learned some important life lessons. Being a cheapskate, I have always opted to travel to third-world countries for extended stays rather then fast, expensive trips to Europe, where my dollar would be like the ninety-seven pound weakling hanging out on muscle beach. In these third world countries, although the slandered of living is much lower then here in the States, the level of happiness seems equal to, or greater then State side. I am not trivializing extreme poverty, when one cannot obtain food they are not happy. I am talking about the majority of people in the third-world that can afford to eat but can’t afford an I-pod.

These “poor” people still have wonderful lives filled with the things that really matter; family, love, friendship, fruit, passion, heartbreak, poetry and the list goes on. Ice cream tastes better if you can only eat it once a year.

Here I have compiled some money-saving tips that I learned from my friends while living in the third world.

1. Family Matters! In many third world countries the wide-eyed American tourist will often be heard saying, “Wow, what a family oriented people.” Those tight-knit families are not weaved so tightly just because of love (although, that has something to do with it!). They are tight because of necessity. The family works together as a unit. Kids don’t move out of the house right away or sometimes, ever. Money is earned and compiled by all family members. Eating together and preparing food together is cheaper. Living under one roof is cheaper. This may be hard for us Americans, who, when we turn eighteen, want to run as far away as we can. But if we want to raise the quality of life, we need to get over it and stay together. This may be an actual opportunity to change our individualistic culture for something even better, a family oriented culture.

2. Transportation! Public transportation and carpooling is cheap. It makes economic sense to stuff our cars like sardine cans. It is crazy to be a four car family in these days of high gas prices. Besides the environmental impact it makes good economic sense to have cities oriented around public transportation that covers a large areas of our towns and cities and a public that takes advantages of those systems. The bus systems in the third world are often much better then those in the United States.

Better yet, buy a bike and burn carbohydrates instead of gasoline!

3. Power and Energy! We can really use a lot less power if we are conscious of the fact that turning off lights saves money. A house in the third world will only have one light bulb, and they will always turn off that light if they leave. The same goes for all household appliances. Turn them off and unplug them when you are not using them.

I like this subject and plan to add and refine this particular hub as I consider more money saving ideas from the third world. Please leave a comment or an idea and check back soon as I will do the same. Thanks for reading and remember to move back in with mom to save money!

Here is another hub from my traveling experience: Language Mixed With Love: How To Really Learn A Foreign Language


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    • PaulStaley1 profile image

      PaulStaley1 6 years ago from With the wind---(or against it)

      Sounds like tough times ahead, I am sorry to hear. Sounds like you are working in a strong family unit. Good luck and better times are coming!

    • Ddraigcoch profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from UK

      My hubby is on short time and is wondering if his work is going to close shop. He has worked there 23 years. Hence I am being as savvy as I can. And any earnings off the net are to reduce any debt to put us in better standing.

    • PaulStaley1 profile image

      PaulStaley1 6 years ago from With the wind---(or against it)

      Thanks Heidi and George! Sure do miss seeing you guys and providing a Dr. Pepper! Hope you are still enjoying Oaxaca and thanks for the nice compliment!

      Hey Clare! Nice to see you here. It is interesting that we have such different vocabulary on "this side of the pond," I wouldn't know what redundancy was if it weren't for the British(the original) Office!

      Great tip as well. In the third world eating meat is a rare luxury, I will fit that in! Thanks for coming by.

    • Clare-Louise profile image

      Clare-Louise 6 years ago from Birmingham UK

      Hi Paul, very good advice all round! The recession is hitting hard this side of the pond as well. I've just managed to side-step redundancy number four in the five years I've been in this job, making me one of the lucky ones for the moment.

      maybe you could add some eating tips to the list - cooking for yourself rather than fast food/eating out... and avoiding all the food waste that goes on. just a thought. Another great hub!

    • profile image

      Heidi and George 6 years ago

      Great article. You have wonderful insight for someone of such a young age. You evidently have enough years to have learned and absorbed great life lessons. My mother always called that having a "old soul".

      Hoping all is well in CA. Take care and keep sharing your thoughts. Heidi