When Johnny and I were out and about this weekend, a couple with their two young children caught our (okay, my) attention. It was mid-afternoon, but both parents were walking around in their pajamas. Flannel pants, baggy T-shirts — both of them. In a public place, with lots of other people around. The two kiddos were dressed in typical toddler day wear, so obviously some effort had been put into getting the family ready for the day. I kind of thought to myself, Welp, they literally couldn’t care less about how they look. Caring less would be impossible.
How judgmental of me, right? Maybe those two unkempt parents did care how they looked. But the kids were being little demons that morning, and they looked at each other and said, “We’ve got to get out of this house. NOW.” And they were like, “Screw getting ready. Let’s just go in what we’re wearing right now.” And on an ideal day, they’d both be dressed in jeans, but that day other priorities took precedent. Sounds like a reasonable possibility, right? Not right? You were those parents on Saturday and you happen to just love flannel? I don’t believe you.
But how does this relate to finances? Well, I’m getting there. I think sometimes we budgeters get a bad rap. I think we oftentimes fall victim to the assumptions of others. Our car is practical and a few years old so we must not like nice cars. We wear the same jeans twice in one week, so we must not care about buying clothes. Our home is inexpensively furnished, so we must not like nice things. Our purse is from H&M, so we must be clueless about designer handbags. Actually, that last one would be spot on.
But you get the idea. Just because we’re not oozing of the best of the best of every item, we must not care about such things. But this is a lie.
Here’s the truth:
- We enjoy spending money.
- We like nice things.
- We don’t think spending is bad.
- We save because it’s the right thing to do (not, contrary to popular belief, because it’s the funnest thing we’ve ever done, like ever).
I had a conversation with a friend about this not too long ago. “Sure, I’d like to dress more fashionably,” she said. “But I don’t want to spend the kind of money it takes to do so.”
I think sometimes non-budgeting folks assume it’s just the opposite.
Oh, the Wilsons don’t spend much, but it’s because they’re oblivious to [designer clothes/luxury cars/$3,000 couches]. I’m assuming, of course, that we all know the Wilsons — if not, they’re very money-conscious.
And maybe that’s how big spenders justify their continual spending and lack of saving. “What can I do? I’m a fashionista!” “I might as well be an interior decorator — I live and breathe Crate&Barrel.” “I’m a latte diva.” “We’re foodies.” “It’s just who I am!”
It’s great to be all of those things. But it shouldn’t be the reason we don’t budget. And it shouldn’t be assumed that those of us who budget don’t care about nice stuff. We do care, but we just care about saving our pennies a little bit more. Or maybe some of us just love flannel pajama pants.
What assumptions do you think people make about you because of your budget? I’m fairly certain people are making assumptions about my hair or “that wild creature on her head” because I haven’t wanted to fork over the cash to get it did.