Thursday, January 19, 2006

[Random Talk] Spending and Splurging

A few days ago, an office joke reminded me of how I once was - spending left and right without a thought for tomorrow - and realized I regret those days but not entirely because I wouldn't learn to spend wisely if I didn't go through that stage in my young work life.

I thought it reasonable to be just like that during the first two years of your FIRST job but I firmly believe that people would mellow after that. The opposite just happened to someone close. You can say that it's her second job and at her age (mid twenties), she's supposed to be much more financially wise compared to when you were in your teens and early twenties. So it stands to reason that at such an age, you should be more inclined to save than to incur debt.

I worry for this friend of mine because despite the good intentions of unsolicited advices from everyone in the form of jokes, it seems she doesn't care one whit about her future financial security. Others would say it's not my problem, which is certainly true, but I just can't help but worry for she is a friend after all and I hope she learns something from this one.

Although spending and splurging are synonymous, they have different connotations. While it is true that everything involving the dispensing of money is called spending, I would like to emphasize that spending is more on the purchase of basic human survival necessities. Splurging is spending on the same kind of items but on an excessive level - a very, very excessive level.

While I have nothing against designer labels that carry such staggering price tags, I firmly believe it is quite all right to purchase from such trendy boutiques or shops for the supremely high quality of their products - if you can afford it. If not, I don't suggest you buy a fake but rather look for items that are within your reach (meaning your meager cash on hand not credit card, mind you), has good quality, looks good on you, and most importantly, you equally feel good wearing it! I myself have collected quite a dozen clothes over the years but only a few clothes are above P500 and branded. Indulging in luxury items, as we sometimes call them, is okay once in a while but purchasing such high-priced items every other day is the outside of excess especially when you don't need it at all and worse - on credit! What if you had a financial setback and you have no savings? Won't you have trouble sleeping, knowing your debts are piling and you can't pay them? I experienced that a few months ago last year, which is why all of a sudden, I realized that I must not depend so much on my credit limit but on my cash on hand. I simply overspent, which is, thank God, still within my month's salary. But it's quite disheartening to see your ATM balance and know that you can't spend a single peso because every penny goes to paying your card. It is better to see your ATM balance or passbook balance and know that every penny, every cent, is truly yours and not someone else's money to enjoy. Truly, I tell you, I wasn't able to sleep a few weeks until I received my pay slip and was assured of a zero balance on my card. And so I told myself to spend with care and only on the items that I truly need. And if I want to say purchase something I can't afford right now but my credit limit can, I will just simply have to separately save for it.

I can say that buying and wearing branded or expensive items is a surefire way of boosting your ego and somehow making the pretense or illusion of being rich a bit more real, is quite true among a few of my acquaintances.

Based on observation on a personal level, I realized that the people who have an obsession for designers whether they look good in it or not, belong to two social classes: the filthy rich, who are naturally born to money and who're used to wearing designers; and of course, there will always be the great pretenders, those who are or WERE financially deprived.

Of the two types, I noticed that the pretenders have a greater tendency to splurge than their rich counterparts. Common sense dictates that, pretenders feel a need to prove not only to themselves, but to everyone as well, that they can afford such luxuries and be noticed through it, as I later found to be true. Add to that what my mother always says, "If you are born rich, even if you dress yourself in brand-less, simple clothes and fancy jewelry, it will still show you belong to the upper crust because your inherent nature and inclination to elegance, poise and manners, refined movement and speech instantly gives your social status away. Whereas if you were born poor, no matter how many designer outfits you wear, accessorize in gold and drown in designer scents, you will still look poor and become poorer still because of the mounting debts caused by splurging on designers when you really can't afford it."

So spend wisely! Save a bit more each day! Who knows? Maybe sooner than you think, you'll look at your passbook balance and faint dead away because you're now a true millionaire!

I found the following to be personally true and I would like for you to think it over: It is so much more fulfilling to see the shocked and speechless expression on your nemesis' face upon learning from someone else that the person she so badly treated in the past is far more richer than she could ever hope for than announcing your wealth yourself where everyone will just look at you with disgust, a raised brow, or disbelief and saying, "Yabang lang yan!" (Bah! He/she's boasting again!) and turn their backs on you.

I believe that HUMILITY does take one far.