6 luxuries keeping men poor
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.
A watch has a simple purpose, it gives you the time.
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.
New cars lose value as soon as it is driven off the dealership’s forecourt, meaning when it is time to exchange towards a new car, the same dealership give you a poor return.
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.
My upbringing meant I only ate on special occasions, rare treats or because the oven was broke.
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!
I never thought my family was poor for going on caravan holidays, until my childhood friend, Simon decided to tease me about it because his family went to Majorca every year.
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.
As a rule with purchases, take this approach:
- 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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2 thoughts on “6 luxuries keeping men poor”
James, I 100% agree with this sentiment. I think men, in general, have become so used to a certain type of an image of success that if they’re not outwardly displaying it, it becomes an issue. All of those points are my weakness and I find that I have to make a considerable effort to avoid splurging on it.
I think what men have to do is to have a chat either with themselves or with their SO to taper back the “luxuries” in our lives. It’s really what’s costing us a fortune and delaying our financial independence.
I didn’t come to believe in the power of money but a Chinese proverb always held sway in my head, in my younger years. “A dollar saved is a dollar earned.” Now that I am older and I look to maximize my earning, this proverb has become so powerful for me.
I would recommend though that instead of delaying all gratification, men should look at early retirement – the freedom from oppressive workplace to whatever they want to do on their terms, as a big luxury item that they can achieve.
Also, for those that still feel a certain level of flashiness and luxury is well deserved which also includes me, despite my years or learning and research into financial freedom, should choose one “luxury.” I make it a habit of saving outside of all my expenses for travel, I find travelling to be liberating and it makes me a bigger picture thinker. To me, it’s also a philosophical and a socio-economic mind journey.
If you are into cars or watches, find a reason outside of that luxury, that makes it worth while and choose one. It makes me adhere to my discipline of budgeting much better.
Firstly thank you for taking your time to respond to a number of my posts – I will work through each one to give them the thoughtful response they deserve.
Agree with the weakness element – trying to maintain an image we can’t afford to keep up with. I like to think I am immune to ‘brands’ but still do find I may favour something for a logo, over a cheaper alternative that logically fills the same purpose.
Getting your SO on board is key – do it as early as possible in a relationship, unfortunately I see too many men with quite humble spending habits under constant stress of a partner who is ‘high maintenance’. Not getting that check is only going to lead you to bad things.
Reframing luxury, such as like you say having the option for early retirement would be a more pragmatic approach, unfortunately most men play the short game and live in the here and now and not something decades down the line.
Nothing wrong with enjoying a luxury and if you have the money definitely nothing wrong with spending it on travel. It’s definitely a worthwhile pursuit and out of all the luxuries is one I do want to keep doing.
I was partially inspired to write the post because of the number of men I speak to who are travelling on credit cards! They take the experience then have to worry about paying the debt! My views always been if you haven’t paid for it, how can you enjoy it!
Thank you again for your comment, I really appreciate your interest in my post.