The following is a guest post from the Mayor of Humbleville.
Nice car: check. Nice house: check. Nice suit: check. Sweet sunglasses: Oakley’s, double-check. You’ve got the look, you’ve got the persona, you’ve got the debt, and you’re terrified like no other. You’re afraid of what people think will think of you if they knew the truth.
You thrive on the approval of others, and you want them to envy you. When you see old friends, you want them to think “Wow, they are doing really well!” But under that Italian suit, hidden behind those $300 dollar sunglasses is a mountain of debt, a crushing burden, a sweat about to break, and the hope that no one finds out.
How to Tell if You’re Afraid
- You only buy name brands and designer labels:
Name brand vs. generic, there is no question for you. The thought of anything but name brand makes you feel gross. You’ve grown up on name brands, you like the logos, the quality is unsurpassed (as far as you know), and you are one with the brand. The brand has become an extension of your identity. Without holding a Red Bull, or without carrying a Louis Vuitton, you might as well be a different person. You’ve allowed a marketing department to create who you are.
- You don’t bother with coupons or discounts:
Coupons just aren’t something you care to deal with. It’s embarrassing holding up the line so you can save a few dollars on a couple of items. What would the clerk think? And Heaven forbid one of the coupons doesn’t work! Do you tell the clerk to carry on, or do you wait for a manager? That would be horrible!
- You avoid anything “used”:
You feel like used is just short of picking something out of the garbage can. I mean, someone threw it away for a reason, right? If you really need something, you can buy it new, and not have to deal with someone else’s leftovers. You only deserve the best anyways.
Why You’re Afraid of Looking Cheap
Some people are just terrified of looking cheap, and you’re one of them. You don’t understand how some people wear it as a badge of honor. The thought of being considered cheap makes your skin crawl. Store brand? That is out of the question? A coupon? Seriously? You just had your nails done yesterday and scissors would wreak havoc!
As humans, we have an inherent desire to appear, by societal standards, successful. This is why we’ll buy watches, cars, and even houses that we can’t afford.
You need a new purse, but if it isn’t a Louis, then you might as well just carry around a garbage bag, or worse, a Coach (ick!). Let’s face it, some people just love the good life, even if the “good life” leads to an epic set of lies that will eventually fall apart and reveal your life for the elaborate farce it is. Wow, that was loaded!
Regardless of our financial situation, we want colleagues, friends, and even family, to think we’re rolling in money. Let them see the new BMW sitting in our parking spot at work. Show off the diamond encrusted watch you bought yourself. Make them see you’re anything but cheap!
How to Overcome Your Fear
The key to being successful with your finances, is to stop caring about what others think of you and do what’s right for you. This can also be read as: living below your means!
The cashier doesn’t think badly of you when he rings up generic toilet paper. He’s just doing his job. Your friends won’t be offended when you serve generic cola rather than Coke or Pepsi (If they would be offended, you should consider more humble friends). What I’m trying to get at is that this entire problem is in your head.
There might be a small segment of people out there that might care about what brands you purchase, but who’s the crazy one? Anyone who is so into your life that they watch the brands you buy, must not have much of a life of their own. Put down the paranoia, pick up the scissors, clip some coupons, buy some generics, pay the clerk, and call it a life.
There are far more worthy things to worry about, than what brand of Cola or Toilet paper you need to purchase to avoid controversy!