Does Your Spending Deprive You of Reality?

by Bill on March 12, 2012

Finance Charges Taking Money This post is partly due to another blogger. I read a couple blogs, and one is Aloysa’s My Broken Coin. She wrote a post back at the end of February asking if people knew why they spent their money. I should tell you Aloysa is a recovering shopaholic and no, she doesn’t spend money for the reasons you would think shopaholics would. Just read that blog and you figure it out.

Anyhow, after reading that post, I asked myself if people who spend money on purpose are doing so to hide from being broke or lower income. Notice I used the words “on purpose”. Yes, there’s a difference. You can spend money because you need to buy things, and as Aloysa pointed out on her blog, you can spend money to fill a void – hence the addiction of shopaholics. But, this isn’t about being a shopaholic. This is about hiding from reality.

Concealing Your Income by Spending

I am referring to people who know they don’t have much money, or want greater amounts of it, and are embarrased by it. Yes there are people who are actually ashamed of what they would have to buy if they stuck to living within their means.

To get around living within their means, these people will go out and live as if they have the money they “should” have. The question I have is why are you entitled to the money? What is causing the feeling of entitlement?

Examples of Concealing Poverty Through Spending

As I often do, I have examples of what I am talking about. These are things that people might do to conceal their income level. For some reason, the theory of spending your way out of it seems plausable but yet always proves itself wrong.

  • Buying the kids toys or promising them something every time you go out
  • Getting things from “rent-to-own” stores like Aaron’s or Rent-a-Center instead of using layaway or saving up because you know you can’t hang onto money.
  • Buying name brand items instead of generic or off-brands which cost less
  • Insisting on “new” when “used” may just be as good (furniture, cars, clothes, some appliances)
  • Having the latest greatest thing for show (iPhones and electronics come to mind)

Those are just a few examples of what I’ve seen in the last year from people around me. If you are doing any of these things, you may be trying to conceal the appearance of poverty through spending. The problem is it will catch up with you at some point; the people around me seem to get caught near the end of the month every time.

So what can be done about it? Other than the obvious cut in spending and changing habits, you must be willing to look at the cause. Why are you ashamed of your life? What’s the actual problem causing the pain? What is wrong with it? What can you do to change it?

Think about that and get back to me. Let me, and others, know how you succeeded.

William Swan, writer

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Jana @ Daily Money Shot March 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This post reminds me of that episode of Roseanne where Dan was selling hot tubs and the guy who was trying to buy one had a ton of debt and little income. Dan tried to convince him to not buy it but the guy essentially said he was going to do it anyway; he wanted to have a “nice” life.

I’ve never necessarily been ashamed of my life but I can see why people would be, especially if everyone else around them is perceived as wealthy (right or wrong). It could be an entitlement thing, a pride thing, KUWJ thing…there are so many reasons for people to spend to hide their poverty.
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Bill March 13, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I remember the show, but not the episode. But regardless, this is exactly what I am talking about. People think they should have a certain life regardless of the income. I honestly believe it can be taught to the children as well. If the parents are ashamed of what they earn, the children will learn that and follow it.

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