I’ve come to this realization not so much as an epiphany but rather as a resignation. I always joke that I’m frugal but I’m nothing compared to my husband (who’s own grandma said he was, “Tighter than two coats of paint,”). Most days I don’t mind being frugal, in fact I find it to be a rather fun challenge and if you know me, you know I’m always up for a challenge.
That is until a family member asked if we needed money.
Why on earth would she ask that?
A dear friend shared with me that, because of the way we live, we don’t give the impression that we’re doing well financially. Huh…well there you have it.
There’s a great quote by Shakespeare, “A miser grows rich by seeming poor. An extravagant man grows poor by seeming rich.” And another by an anonymous author, “In the old days a man who saved money was a miser; nowadays he’s a wonder.”
I might add that I don’t think we’re being miserly in the least; we enjoy all parts of life, we just do it in moderation. We’re okay with saying, “We’re not going to (buy this or do that) because we don’t want to spend the money,” and perhaps that’s at the core of it: Because we don’t spend money on everything, perhaps people assume we don’t have it to spend. And perhaps this is the reason why people spend money they don’t have: to give the impression to others that they do.
“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” – Will Smith
In my “I HATE Budgeting (But I Like Having Money) Support Group” we discuss all of these sociological forces at play in regards to how we manage our money. We cannot deny that they’re there, we just have to choose how we wish to deal with them. My hubby and I have chosen to not let it bother us. Perhaps that’s why his this family member’s question (and my friend’s confession) hit us so hard: maybe we were in denial, Cleopatra.
Our parents and teachers and prophets impress on us the virtues of being patient and prudent. Some of us grasp that wisdom better than others (we’re all wired differently, after all) and I like to practice what I preach, but it sure can be a drag sometimes when you live by that wisdom.