Showing it off: money and status.

This weekend I played in a co-ed mushball tournament – for those unfamiliar with the sport of mushball, it’s 3 pitch played with a big, squishy ball. It was a fun time. I even managed to earn myself a free breakfast (and title of game MVP) and the team won some money and t-shirts for being division champs. Sitting in the beer tent with a cold one, I glanced around at some of my fellow ball players and noted quite a few of the gals wearing pretty darn expensive clothes and sunglasses.

Obviously, they have never caught a ball with their face or slid into second. If the expensive clothes wasn’t telling enough, the ten pounds of foundation gave it away: lots of the girls were dressing for show. I can’t help but think they were trying to show off their financial status by wearing really expensive and flashy brand name clothes. I supposed it worked to some degree, as I did notice the clothes.

In most situations, I don’t notice the brand name of people’s clothing, unless it’s written in big ole letters across something. I think I noticed the designer clothes at mushball partly because a lot of them had the names splashed across them and to me, and partly because it seems like a really odd place to wear your really expensive clothes to. I was coated with dust and dirt after our first game, so it’s the last place I’d want to wear anything expensive too. Maybe that’s just me though.

This got me thinking: people use clothing, vehicles, houses, and all sorts of things to turn other peoples’ head and say ‘hey, look what I bought/can afford’. I think everyone would agree that people use material things to show affluence, social position, or portray a certain lifestyle. I could probably write a whole series of posts about the underlying drive behind that sort of behaviour, but hey, it’s hot and I’m not a sociologist. What I find more interesting, is how variable people’s perceptions of money-shows can be. Designer clothing at a mushball tournament made me react with disdain and scorn. Yet, I glanced admiringly at the people who drove in with nice, new trucks. I know perfectly well though, there were other women there who took notice of the designer clothes and didn’t notice the trucks. When people post pictures of their travels on facebook, I tend to be a little (or a lot – depending on where they went) envious that they have money to spend on travelling. New furniture, meh. A fancy new computer will turn my head, but a great big house just makes me wonder who’s going to clean all that house.

I know my reactions to money-shows have changed as I’ve aged and likely will continue to. I used to be so jealous of the girls who parents bought them cellphones when they were 14, because my parents said it was an unnecessary expense. Who knows, maybe one day when I’m sitting in the lounge of retirement home, I’ll be envious of the old girl with the shiny new scooter. What shows of money turn your head? 

 

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Categories: Spending | Tags: , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Showing it off: money and status.

  1. That’s so funny. My husband definitely is caught by vehicles, boats and toys. He grew p with little and is very envious of those things that people have. I know far too man people who finance everything they have so when I see people with all those things, all I think is I could have it too but I choose not to owe the bank my life. For me, I notice electronics. I crave electronics I that I would love to own and know how to operate them all. Clothes and designer anything is lost on me. I don’t even know what labels are worth money and what isn’t anymore. Thats not supposed to be how it is……

  2. It doesn’t bother me when people spend their money, especially if they’ve earned it. What I hate is when people don’t appreciate what they’ve been blessed with or act like they’re too good to know the value of a dollar. I also think it’s ridiculous when people buy luxury cars that cost as much as some people’s home. With that said I do like my handbags and I have quite a few designer ones but I worked very hard for them and treat them like gold. I appreciate everything i have.

    • You have a good point; it’s their money and they can do whatever they want with it. Cars that cost as much as houses are completely unnecessary and ridicuolous.

  3. What turns my head is locally made/hand made/fair trade anything. I would decorate my entire house in that stuff if I could. It’s expensive though so I have to pick my items carefully. Also, electronics, I’m insanely jealous of people who can afford nice electronics. Clothing, meh, nice cars, meh, big houses, meh.

  4. I think I fall into the envy phase when I notice people getting new cars or going on trips or buying new clothes without thinking about the cost. I am typically able to get myself out of this phase by telling myself that either they earned it or are getting in debt. Either way, I’ll get there eventually and do it by hard work. It’s hard sometimes though when I’m having an off day and I see pictures on facebook or hear about it through the grapevine.

    • Facebook can make it really easy to be jealous of someone. You’re right though, we just have to remind ourselves that if we save and be smart, we can get that stuff too.

  5. LOL @ the scooter. I love clothes, but not necessarily brand name clothes; well tailored, well fitting clothes or pretty dresses. I do like brand name bags – like Coach – but that’s not super expensive. I guess if I’m really looking at it, I do tend to turn my head at big, nice houses.

    • Funny enough, I just bought a pair of Coach sunglasses (prescription) because they are one of the few companies that make aviators that are small enough to fit my face. I didn’t even know they were coach frames until I noticed it on the reciept!

  6. More often, when I notice other people’s clothes, it’s not specifically a $ thing but a style thing. I see women whose style I admire or wish to emulate. It wouldn’t necessarily cost more, I just wouldn’t know how to do it.

    I hate seeing the people covered in makeup and fancy clothes. Luckily, most of my friends have pretty level heads, but I do find myself judging the people who are trying to show off their financial status (or pretended financial status)

    • Having good level headed folks around sure does help ‘eh? I’d never be able to keep up with the gals who put on thick layers of eyeliner prior to stepping outside.

    • Oh yes! I’m not stylish at all nor do I care to be (too much effort, time and often, money involved) and I don’t read style blogs but I also admire women I see in real life who are really well put together.

  7. I’m pretty oblivious when it comes to individuals and their money, with the exception of the young people with fancy everything because you know at their age it has to come from their parents. I probably look like the girl people hate, designer handbag and eyewear… but those glasses will last me four years and the handbag was paid for by the sale of other “stuff”. So I guess that’s why ‘stuff’ doesn’t really turn my head, with the exception of being envious of a nice bag I wish I could buy myself of course!

  8. Kay

    Too many people spend money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like…

    I don’t get superexpensive clothes, or brand names flashed on clothes, etc..

    What I’m envious of?? Maybe that’s something that money can’t buy. Style, Elegance! The ability to put colors beautifully and look great with subdued elegance and well put together.. I’ve seen lot of style blogs that do this at a small budget or from thrift stores..

  9. Since I work out a lot and teach fitness classes, when I see anyone wearing Lululemon, I turn my head. I am such a sucker for their clothing. I get a 15% discount because I am an instructor but that’s barely above tax.

    Designer clothes, handbags, shoes, wallets, jewellery, none of those turn my head. Now that the bf and I are house hunting, it’s not necessarily big houses, but nice, well maintained, newly renovated houses are what do it for me.

  10. Lululemon, the overpriced yoga/exercise clothing is what turns my head. I work out a lot and teach classes, so I constantly see it at the gym. I also see it outside the gym, but not as much.

    Now that the bf and I are looking at houses, it’s not necessarily big houses, but it’s the nice, well maintained, newly renovated houses that turn my head. Especially the kitchens!

  11. I’m sometimes jealous of people who can drop $600 on an ipad or $2000 on a mac book pro like it’s nothing. I do think apple makes amazing products but that kind of stuff is way out of my price range. I’ll just have to settle for my HP laptop and my Kindle fire. I think they are wonderful and within my budget.

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  13. TLC

    Hmm… for me it’s a small, cozy home (not big and fancy… I’m envious of well-decorated, affordable houses that feel like HOME – know what I mean?), new cars (because I really want a new-er one, preferably an SUV for all the traveling and photography work I do), trendy vintage clothes (I love thrift store clothes, but I’m too petite to ever find anything that fits properly), and camera equipment… cause I’m a part-time photographer 🙂

    BTW, I’m back to blogging. I’ll check in from time to time to see what you’ve been up to!

  14. belowhermeans

    Professionally done gel nails on other women used to always turn my head, still does sometimes. I had them too for a long time even though it was a wasteful expense, just wanted people to admire me. 😦 This post reminds me of this awesome video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_JgqPl52hA

    Makes me laugh every time.

  15. I would say that I’m a bit jealous of people who own a lot of farmland. It goes for a very good price here and people are easily able to live off the rents that they have coming in. I would like to be set like that. Facebook is very bad for jealousy. I don’t miss that about it. Everybody wants to make everybody else jealous on FB.

  16. Eh, money symbols. I think I react negatively to them almost always. I don’t like it. If you have it, don’t flaunt it to make others feel bad; and if you don’t have it, then carry on with life dudes. I guess sometimes a cool pickup truck will turn my head, but if the driver is a dou*he, well, eh, not cool.

  17. T is impressed by toys – gadgets, technology, vehicles. Those things make my stomach ache (think what I could do with that money! But to each their own)

    I’m impressed by those who travel.

  18. I get jealous when I see my friends traveling, getting married, having babies and buying houses. These are all things I would like to do in the very near future.

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  21. Travel is definitely my thing. Well-fitting clothes on someone who knows how to put stuff together, sure, but I’m not sure that needs cost much money–just have a knack for it. Travel, and electronics, probably. Oh, and kitchens. I lust after nice kitchens.

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