Even when my mum offered to buy me a laptop for school, I declined it, whereas my sis gladly took up the offer. To me, I didn't need the laptop so it was an unnecessary purchase, even though it was not my money. Read about my low material desire.
In my old workplace, the folks were also pretty frugal, we called ourselves farmers. Most of the guys who were frugal didn't go to far places for their holidays, ate economic rice, didn't have any/much luxury products, or if they wore any, they were gifts. So being frugal was exceptionally easy in my old work place.
Same as for my wife's current work place. It's in an industrial area and the folks over there are quite homely and they aren't showy, my wife even says she is usually the one over dressed at work cos she's used to dressing up a bit better.
But I know of industries where it's fashionable to spend. Where if you're frugal, people look at you with the "what kind of life are you living" look, "you poor thing, how disgraceful", somehow, it's not cool to be frugal.
For instance, in audit, the auditors are well versed in their branded products. Bonuses are spent on bags and down payments for cars, watches and all that. If you don't have anything to show after bonus, you're not "in".
Same for investment banking and private banking. Everyone is earning a lot of money, they're also spending it well. Even the assistants, who aren't earning so much, cos they look at their bosses and see them carry nice bags, dresses, shoes, and they think, "hey, you know, this is the image here. Everyone is doing it so if I don't have something nice to wear I'll be sloppy."
Ok I agree that some environments, you need to be well dressed. So by all means, I would think it is reasonable to get a couple of more presentable pieces, if this means branded pieces to be more accepted, then so be it. But that doesn't mean you should be trying to fit in all the time. When your colleagues buy something on a whim, it doesn't mean you have to buy it to fit in as well.
But not only in the work place, there's instances where at school gatherings, like when you have a gathering of old Uni friends or Sec school friends, or at a wedding dinner, it's like a show and tell. Girls compare their wedding rings, they carry their best bags, do up their hair, etc. All to show they are successful.
Is this all necessary? Do you feel happy doing that? Seriously... I don't know. Maybe some people might feel unhappy NOT doing that. But they might not feel happy doing that.
For me, I always have the frugal uncle image. And I've taken effort to build up this image. Firstly, to do this, I can't start with a flashy image, cos if I did, then it would look unnatural and it would look like I downgraded after leaving my job. I always bought fairly priced stuff, G2000 fits me well, simple cheapo leather shoes, typically lasts for 6 mths. When I go out I prefer wearing simple cool T-shirts with berms and sandals or slippers. Recently, I carry a waist pouch to keep my wallet and vouchers. When I walked around at a coffee shop once, someone waved to me trying to order coffee. (-.-)"
So when I hang around friends and colleagues and what not, people don't see me as in the "game", so I somehow don't need to put things up for show, the conversation is about them, and I'm fine with that. But yet I know there are so many other folks who are NOT ok with that.
Somehow, being frugal ISN'T COOL... WHY?
My analysis comes down to...
Being frugal means thinking about the future. That's why people save money right.
And when you think about the future, means you're responsible. Means you're probably getting old.
Now if you're young, then YOLO right? No need to plan for the future. It's all about living in the now.
And of course old folks aren't cool. And everyone wants to be cool right.
Else you'd be those geeky nerds who are looked down on by society like in all those Hollywood movies.
Nerds are losers right...
Well, they can be cool and spend all they want. It's not me.
And even if I were to get $10 million dollars right now via some lottery or whatever, I wouldn't change my life, if you saw me, you'd still wave to me at the coffee shop trying to order coffee from me.
It's just not me. Somehow, my mind can't get into spending mode.
I'm sure that my friends would be baffled if they knew I had problems hitting my minimum spend on my credit card.
So NO. I'm not ashamed of being frugal and you shouldn't be too.
If you feel comfortable and like being frugal, and somehow your friends are making you feel bad about it, then I would suggest changing your friends. Cos if you're able to get a bunch of frugal friends, it's actually fun being frugal together and looking for good deals together, instead of trying to out-do each other and putting on a show for each other. What a tiring life that might be...
Oh but if you enjoy it then by all means don't be frugal. It's not cool being frugal you know.
It's so uncle...
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