Economists often talk about how we are a consumer driven economy. Our retail addiction is what keeps corporations rich and what keeps us struggling. If there is any doubt, all one has to do is look at the credit card debt that plagues our country and we can see the spending problem this country has. Ultimately, I think it comes down to one thing: we are so obsessed about the appearance of having money, that we actually stop caring about ACTUALLY having money.
I am making this post after recalling an interaction I had with an acquaintance. We were sitting in a group of 4 or 5 people and we were talking about shopping and savings tips. I am not sure what exactly led to that part of the conversation, but at one point, I made a comment about me being frugal. He chimed in, jokingly, I think… with: “Cheap. I think the word you’re looking for is cheap.” Of course everyone laughed. For a brief moment, I thought ‘that was kind of rude’ but then I looked around the room and laughed too. The feeling of feeling slighted was short lived when I reminded myself that everyone in the room but me was crippled by debt, both consumer and student loans. Some of them have borrowed to repay older debts, some are paying for frivolous expenses they had years ago, including still paying for a wedding that happened 4 years before. These were not the people I was going to allow to make me feel bad about my spending habits. Of course, they could have guilt-tripped me into racking up enough debt to portray a “baller” lifestyle, but at what cost?
While they might have felt as though I took the joke lightheartedly, in reality I wasn’t laughing with them, I was laughing at them. This was not to be mean spirited. It’s more of an incredulous laugh at people who, while they’ve done everything wrong, they still have not figured it out, and their attitude seems to indicate that they refuse to make any effort in the right direction. They are going broke, trying to not look broke. Am I the only one who thinks it’s better to have $1,000 in a $100 purse than to have a $100 in a $1,000 purse?