Monday, June 25, 2012

Spending too much, Saving too little

This post will address two things 1.Spending too much on stuff I don't need 2. Money as self esteem

When I first starting dating my boyfriend he was surprised about how many shoes I had. In the Fall of 2011 I had 63 pairs of shoes but in the Fall of 2010 I only had about 10 pairs. Five of those pairs were for work or sports. Many of these shoes were gifts but the rest I bought myself. The most expensive pair I have are a pair of $630 handmade boots from Spain. Luckily these were a gift but I have bought $300 shoes on sale for $120. That's so much money! I don't even know why I like shoes so much, and people gave me lots of shoes because they thought I liked shoes. I don't even try to impress anyone with my feet. It wasn't like I was hoarding or had any emotional attachment to them. I had a steady intake and outtake of shoes. (Yes, I do give away stuff to the Salvation Army if my donations are still in good shape.) It wasn't the fact that I had so much, it was the fact that I spent so much that was terrible. So why did I buy so much? The simple answer was because I could.

Looking back at the mental side of this, someone can wonder when I went shop crazy. I was born far from a silver spoon. Our house had card board to cover holes in the wall. We didn't even have clean running water or waste facilities that worked everyday. We lived in third world conditions in a first world country. Now fast forward to when I was 22 years old to when the problem began. I broke up with my long time boyfriend and had extra money with no one else to speak their opinion about my money. Therefore, without realizing it I would impulse buy here and there instead of thinking about what I bought. I had the money, I didn't get overdraft fees so why not? On the other hand, when I was younger I had to have much more restraint and save my money because good times don't always last. All my spending didn't exactly get me ahead in life other than those small moments of happiness. Luckily I stopped my bad impulse buy habit because my boyfriend pointed out that if I kept spending money instead of saving then I am keeping myself stagnant. The because I can attitude is no good because it digs me into a hole instead of saving for the bigger picture.

This new found understanding of why it is good to save money has also helped me understand why some people feel the need to base their self-esteem and value on their bank accounts. Other than the fact that money helps pay the bills and feed our bellies, money can bring you material pleasure and sycophants. When I go shopping in $300 dollar heels then I do get quite a bit more attention than I would in my dirty running sneakers. If I wear my diamond jewelry then waiters and bartenders tend to be extra nice. People just seem much more polite to you if have something to offer. Not only that, material things are not necessary always needed such as when I had over 50 pairs of shoes but it brought me a nice variety of choices and visual pleasure. However, it is extremely unhealthy to base your self value and self esteem on anything that can be here today and gone tomorrow.

Imagine not being able to buy the things you want such as a fancy car and seeing your neighbor with that fancy car. The neighbor may ask "Hey, why don't you just go out and buy one of these?" You will probably make up excuses on why you can't afford it even though you secretly want one, but the bottom line is that you can't afford it without disregarding priorities such as bills or your children.  Well eventually, say you came into a bit of money such as a promotion and now you can buy those things such as the car now. As you drive around in this fancy new car, heads turn and people are much nicer to you. This instant gratification and reward is just so easy to gain! Every reaction you want that you get is like an addiction. Keep on going and eventually you get into the millionaire's club. You technically don't need that much money but if you go any lower than one million then you will no longer have the status nor esteem of being in this prestigious club. You have a quite large variety of places to go, foods to eat, shoes to wear, size of diamonds and maybe some new plastic surgery at your fingertips. You have so much power to spend more. Now somehow you lose all that money and you just average once again. All those people who were impressed by you are no long giving you much attention, you don't have fancy things and worse of all your neighbor, the one who you were in competition with and felt was judging you, is asking you what happened.

The idea that life is about how others view you is a terrible misconception on the absolute concept of beauty. Life will never have an absolute concept of beauty because the idea of an absolute concept of beauty is a Utopian idea. Utopias do not exist. There are guidelines but no definitely color by numbers picture. It is the pressure of being judged without the ceiling existing in what good enough means while maintaining the idea of good enough that can drive someone over the edge. The edge is the line where you cross over from having self esteem and confidence in yourself to basing it upon your possessions and how others see you. A negative emotional state can lead to several mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Not only that you could become very angry and irritated which can lead to taking your anger out on others such as loved ones who do not deserve it. Hurting others will alienate you further into a metal state of isolation and loneliness. Anxiety or depression does come with physical symptoms of a lack of energy as well as motivation. This can hurt you if you do not seek help. If your mood is based on money and it is not possible to duplicate the life style you once lived then you will have trouble recovering. Therefore, if you base your self esteem and self value on money then it may not promote your well being but rather actually degrade it.

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