There are no Joneses or Kardashians to keep up with in my workplace.

I (Mr Wealth) get all my work clothes paid for by the company. Even my boots! This goes a long way to increasing my natural frugal ways and adds to my daily happiness. 

I never feel the need to look at others and compare what they have. This is what you get with blue collar work (in my case warehousing and transport).

Mr Wealth in his work boots

The simple act of looking at others and comparing yourself to what they have, whether that be material possessions, achievements or status is a recipe for disaster. Miss Health’s point about enjoying daily life rings true here.  How are you supposed to enjoy daily life if you are constantly comparing yourself to others. This isn’t the only thing that makes me happy and frugal though, so read on!

So, how does working in a blue collar industry make me happy?

I get to use my hands as well as my head:

Working in blue collar means I get the best of both worlds. During my career thus far, I’ve always been in office based roles. Stuck in front of a computer screen for all my working hours, only moving from my cushy office chair for the human necessities of water, food and bathroom breaks, amongst the occasional meeting or needing to physically talk to another colleague at their desk. This keeps me in the sitting position for far too long, hunched at my desk, creating back and neck problems. However, with my current role and industry, I get to move off my desk, talk to and lead the warehousing team and do the odd loading/unloading of trucks on heavy duty machines. Quite frankly, this is pretty cool! I love being able to do things with my hands, whether it be tinkering with our bicycles, tending to our vegetable garden or recently building our carport clothesline for the winter.

I love the mix of using my head on problem solving, data analysis and arranging workloads for the day. I get to use these skills that I’ve learned through university studies and excel courses too. I’m not all brawn. I like to use my noggin sometimes too.

The people are down to earth:

People in blue collar industries I’ve found to be more genuine and realise the important things in life. No longer are discussions centered around what upmarket restaurant you did or didn’t go to in the weekend, what holidays you have planned to exotic destinations or what new consumer item you just bought.

The conversations are more along the lines of talking to you because they are interested in your day, well-being or if you relaxed over the weekend ready for Monday. The need to out do one another simply isn’t there.

I don’t have to keep up appearances:

Wearing a uniform means I don’t have to keep up with latest trends. Working in a blue collar industry means I’m judged more for who I am and what quality of work I produce rather than what I look like. Keeping up appearances is exhausting. I don’t care to know what shoes go with what pants or vice versa. I wear functional clothing that suits my daily tasks.

Some days I’m not all to fussed about shaving either. White collar this might look scruffy. Blue collar, you fit in just fine!

And how does working in a blue collar industry make me frugal?

I’m more wealthy than most of the people I work with:

The fact that I’m on a supervisor salary and work with people on the warehouse floor earning far less than me, it benefits us immensely in our quest for frugal living. When I commute to work, I’m not driving or cycling through flash neighborhoods. In fact, they would be considered lower socioeconomic than the suburb Miss Health and I currently live in. When I pull up in the parking lot, I don’t get envious of the cars parked there as many are old and have high mileage.

Working with people who enjoy the simple things in life and remind you of what is really important naturally make you into a frugal person. Why spend exuberant amounts of money on a flash new car, lavish meals out or over the top five star holidays? All you need is a place to sleep, food to keep you full and good relationships with family and friends. I feel rich every day. I don’t need to spend a lot to make me happy. I almost feel like a show off when I bring in my lunches, which due to our healthy eating mindset are obviously a bit more expensive to make than the ramen noodles and tinned fish or left over pizza that my other work colleagues bring in.

I’m doing what I enjoy, so don’t need vacations to “escape” several times a year:

In offices and companies I’ve worked in previously, my fellow employees are so frustrated and unhappy in their careers that they live for the weekend. Friday is named “Happy Fri-Yay!” and Wednesday is “Hump Day” as we are over the hump and on the downhill to the next weekend. This cycle continues, over and over, with unhappiness during the workweek, then freedom in the weekend where frustrations are eased, as well as the wallets. Combine this with the need to escape from Auckland where we live to spend every dollar they have on lavish holidays to relax on a beach on the other side of the world (think Thailand, etc) and you can see why savings and investments never mount up for my ex-colleagues.

I on the other hand, I rather enjoy the day to day of my role. Not that I would want to do it every day for the rest of my life, but I don’t dislike it enough to feel I need to escape all the time or live for the weekend. If I’m ever feeling completely stressed and over it, I’ll take a Friday or Monday off and make it a long weekend at home or chat through the issues with Miss Health over dinner that night.

In summary

Working in blue collar isn’t for everyone. But you can still use these tips above to be happier and more frugal in any career.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Enjoy the work week, don’t live for the weekend. If you aren’t enjoying your work, find something that you do.
  • Take the long way to work or walk around “rough” neighborhoods sometimes. You will realize how rich you feel already (it’s all relative).
  • Work with people who are down to Earth and not out to keep up with the Joneses.