Posts Tagged With: Money

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? 


Categories: Spending | Tags: , | 30 Comments

Money through the ages.

When I was five, loonies and two dollar bills made my eyes go wide with wonder. A lone loonie was enough to buy a bag full of candy. The world was a magical, sugar-fuelled place of wonder. When I got a five dollar bill in a birthday card, I thought I was rich and should get a hat like the monopoly man (because rich people wear top hats obviously).

When I was ten, I earned a dollar a day doing what chores I could out in the barn – usually feeding the calves, cats, putting straw down, carrying the soap and rinse buckets, and sweeping the manger. My Dad would pay me on Fridays, usually pulling out the right change from his pocket. I hoarded my loonies and used my money to buy a teal, 10-gear bike. A week later, I won a better bike.

When I was fourteen, I got my first summer job – tour guide at a local lighthouse. I worked 35 hours a week and earned $6.45/hr. My first pay cheque was huge. Where was I going to spend $200? I bought myself a pair of running shoes and a whole bunch of nail polish (lime green, anyone?) with my first pay cheque. I saved most of the money I made that summer because I didn’t know what to spend it on.

When I was eighteen, I got my first loan. Over $11,000 as part of a student loan. I moved to Ottawa for school, and managed to pay for my stay in residence and tuition out of my savings, without having to touch the student loan. I fretted about the loan, but shopped and spent like never before because it was just so easy to do so in the big city. Money was second to having fun.

When I was twenty-four, I had just over $36,000 to pay back to the government in student loans. Money equalled stress. I was just starting my first post-school job and I just bought a new car. I had managed to save a fair bit of money during my Masters, but didn’t have a plan for paying back my loan. On top of all that, I had to start thinking about adult things, like retirement savings and insurance.

When I was twenty-six, I was debt free. Money was no longer my master. I started saving my money in earnest, making budgets, and planning for the future. I loved the feeling of being debt free and having essentially no money worries.

I am twenty-seven and back to worrying about money. I worry about my mortgage and housing costs, I worry about saving enough for my retirement and finding the balance between saving and spending. Despite my worries, I feel better prepared to be responsible and pragmatic with my money.

It’s interesting, or at least I think it is, to think about how your view on money has changed. My perspective on money has undergone some significant changes, primarily based on life changes like going away to school, having debt, getting out of debt and becoming an independent adult. What factors have changed how you view money and finances?

Categories: Personal, Review | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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