Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 21, 2008
It occurs to me that we as a society tend to have a problem. We spend our money because other people want us to. We spend it on a lunch out we didn’t really want or a drink with a friend regardless of if we could afford it. We spend it for social acceptance.
The issue isn’t so much that we are trying to buy acceptance, but rather we are buying things or a service that we wouldn’t buy normally. We spend money without being true to our own priorities so we become a salve to others just a surely as those with high debt and no savings are a slave to their jobs.
So how do we break free of this behaviour? If often starts with being comfortable enough with who you are and what you like to tell others your honest opinion.
For example, I personally have one friend who ends up pressuring people all the time. It isn’t done out of trying to be mean, but rather his acute dislike of indecision. He gives people the chance to have an opinion or decide what to do, but if they can’t decide he does it for them. So after realizing this, I manage not to do any social acceptance spending with him. I just tell him my honest opinion or provide an alternative I might like and we work out what to do from there.
Then what happens as people progress away from social spending we start to realize we really don’t care what other people think at all. I value things significantly different even from my own family. So my spending habits really don’t resemble theirs and I don’t care. For example, they might be interested in getting a Blu Ray player while I find them overpriced for what they do.
I take free stuff from anyone all the time and I really can’t care if anyone thinks I’m poor because of it. Anything I think I can use I’m telling people to send my way. It doesn’t matter if it is food, building supplies or a piece of furniture. It’s it is free and I think I can use it I take it.
This isn’t to say I’m cheap 24 -7, but rather I’m cheap about things I don’t care to spend money on. For example, it rare to get an invite from me to go out to dinner with someone to a restaurant, but it is highly likely I will invite over people to our home instead. I’ve find dinners at home just as good as most meals out for a fraction of the cost while providing a more intimate connection to those who come over. After all being invited to someone’s home provides a certain level of initial trust that is hard to achieve in a public setting.
So the next time you feel pressure to spend, I humbly suggest you resist and be yourself. After all happiness comes from living your life in line with your own priorities rather than someone else’s.