I was brought up with the philosophy “if you can’t afford it, you don’t get it.”
My assumption, this was the same rule everyone played by. As I experienced adulthood seeing sensible people getting crippled by debt on luxuries, I realised this was not the case.
Today – I focus on six luxury items keeping men poor – some which are necessities with more economically friendly options, but through marketing have been built into desirable brands resulting in people desiring a particular “name” to represent who they are.
Because we are obsessed with appearance, we shun affordable alternatives, and doing without is an alien concept. In the age of social media our “personal brand” is everything.
This isn’t a modern phenomenon, its called keeping up with the Jones’s (or fronting). Unfortunately, this makes us vulnerable to realise financial freedom.
With technology features have been added, which the marketer uses to show who you are.
If you want to lose weight, you might be drawn to paying out extra for a fitbit with all its nifty features that people used to manage without to get results.
If you want to appear rich, you can invest in a name brand like Rolex. Jewelers know your vanity and offer monthly repayment schemes, keeping you enslaved to debt for an item that has many fractional of the cost alternatives available.
There are other various elaborate schemes offered by dealerships to get you the brand new luxury car such as renting, meaning you will never own your car and will not have one if you can’t keep up the payments.
The better preference is to focus on buying cars outright, with a couple of years on them.
Growth of menswear clothes sales has actually moved ahead of women!
Clothes brands stretch to meet all personality types – what you wear expresses who you are and many are prepared to blow the money to show it.
As a gym goer, I thought I would get an Under Armour shirt. I changed my mind when I saw one shirt was £50!
The better option is to shop around, look for cheaper alternatives and think how much wear the clothing will get.
If you wear a pair of jeans that cost a £100 a thousand times that’s pretty good value for money. If you don’t do the same wardrobe twice, be prepared to stay poor.
Perhaps it is because I was born in a world where the only people with mobile phones were yuppies, but my desire to have the latest big brand mobile phone has never been a priority.
My first mobile phone was an old Nokia “brick” phone, given to me by my dad. It wasn’t pretty and I got a lot of ribbing about it, but it had a battery that could last a week!
In 2004 I bought an “upgrade” – a cheap cell phone model, in the age of the flip phone. This wasn’t really any better for street cred as one of my young karate students told me it was a “rubbish mobile”. Least I wasn’t poor!
In the smartphone age, I know people who always need the latest iPhones who don’t have the salary to justify it.
The best approach to take with the phone is does it meet the basics? Phone? Text? Internet? Then that’s enough.
Buy an affordable phone outright and get a sim only deal as the extra cost on your bill for a “free phone” works out more than the phone is actually worth.
With blog culture, taking pictures of food and applying pretentious words like “foodie” to oneself eating out changed and as the ability to cook has declined, it is normal to eat out several times a week.
It’s nice having a meal out, but when it becomes routine, that specialness is lost and it just becomes a place you extra for someone to cook and bring your food, with overpriced drinks.
It might seem harmless, but making eating out a constant even is killing your earnings.
Use the Internet to look up new recipes and cook with your partner – turn cooking into the experience you enjoy and create memories – I messed up a cake recipe so bad my wife said it was like a frisbee, so I threw it out the garden and watched it fly across the garden.
You don’t get that in a restaurant!
It turns out I was right, my family wasn’t poor as my dad retired years earlier than the national retirement age and his dad is still working past retirement.
Times have changed and holidays or “travel” as many call it now have become more extravagant and involve traveling further distances.
In the age of Instagram some feel the pressure to front going to the best places that credit card debt can buy.
A simple solution when balancing the cost of your holiday is going local, go less or don’t go at all.
Rules to keep your wealth
I am not anti-luxury, I am not anti-consumerism.
However, I am pro-living within means, pro-avoiding debt and pro-not trying to keep up appearances.
- Monthly repayments
- Does money earned justify an excessive purchase?
- Is there a more economical approach?
- How much use will I get out of it?
I hope that this post challenges the way you think about how you spend, having luxuries isn’t a bad thing if you can afford them and it balances well with your monthly earnings.
If you have any further tips, then please comment below.
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