My Big Issue

So, you all know about the fact that I am living on a tight budget... or more to the point NOT within the budget. I have been trying, really I have, but I am still a long way from living within my income boundary.

One of my weaknesses is giving money away. As I always had plenty, I would always sponsor people that needed sponsoring, pop some money in the charity tin, or buy a raffle ticket. I am also one of those people that buys the Big Issue. All of these things are a hard habit for me to break - I feel mean and awkward saying no. But I have been trying.

Today, BB and I were out in a nearby city doing a few errands. As we walked to the post office there was a Big Issue seller. I have Big Respect for people the who sell this magazine. Way back when I was a student I had a part time job in a place that supported the sellers and I got to know several of them personally. I know that they are genuine people that are working hard and need a break. I always buy.

But today I tried to avoid his gaze. I felt terrible. What would I say if he spoke to me? I have a house, a car... I can hardly say I'm broke to this person when clearly I am better off than he. Luckily I got away (perhaps he sensed my awkwardness and left me alone). We continued on our way, went to the post office and the stationer and forgot about it.

That was until we started to head back to our car, with our shopping, to drive to our house.

Then this happened.

There was a man on a bench. An alcoholic at a guess. He was speaking with a lady, who looked older than she probably is. She was walking slowly, pushing a shopping trolley which served two functions: it carried her things and it helped her to walk. The man asked her if she had any money. She said she did. He asked her if she could buy him some milk. She said she would, and asked if he needed anything else. He replied that milk was all he needed and thanked her... She shuffled off towards the shop.

A few moments later I saw the Big Issue seller again and he was coming towards us.

No, wait, not us, instead he approached the old lady, addressed her by her name and said "Are you getting him milk again? Here you go my darlin'" and then he handed her a pound, which she graciously accepted.

So moved by the generosity of these people with nothing, I did what I always would. I bought a copy of the magazine!  I also did something different, (as these days they mostly sit unread because I never find time to read) I told him to keep the magazine and sell it again.

So, for all my will power I spent £2 on a magazine which I don't have.

But in reality I have a lot!

I am rich.

And the kindness and generosity of these people just made my life a little richer still.

Next time I see a Big Issue seller, I'll invest another £2.

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. My name is Emma and I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, writer, teacher, coach and mentor. I am passionate about eating real food, learning, travel and health. I get to spend my days with my amazing son who has chosen to learn from the world rather than at school. We write to share the life we love and to help others create a life they love too.


  1. Sounds like a well spent 2 pounds to me & witnessing that scene of generosity was priceless.

  2. Beautiful anecdote. I read a wall plaque yesterday that said 'Right now there is someone in the world happier with less than me' or something of the sort. It's true, wealth is a relative concept, though there is also a significant difference between abject and relative poverty. It's no fun feeling the pressure of financial strain, but it is interesting how having more in absolute terms doesn't necessarily correlate with feeling wealthier. Anyway, thanks for sharing. It's a good reminder of what's important.

  3. Beautiful reminder of what it actually 'means' to be wealthy. My guys learned this in morocco this week, all the poverty and seeming lack of 'stuff' but the smiles and friendliness exuded by these people puts most of us to shame. Wealth is not determined by physical riches but by what is in our souls and you, my gorgeous mama, are richer by far xxx Hugs to you and thanks for today xxx

  4. What a beautiful story, it made me a bit teary!