Monday, May 19, 2008

Guest Post : Owner’s Pride does not always equal Neighbor’s Envy

This is my first guest post for very long time. I hope that you enjoy it :

I’m neither a millionaire nor a pauper, just your average American middle class citizen living on a monthly salary and getting by with a mixture of common sense and luck. I neither believe in frugality for frugality’s sake nor in splurging for splurging’s sake. Let me elaborate…

I drive an old 1999 Honda Accord – not by design but by destiny. While not a total lemon or rust-bucket, it doesn’t have much going for it, other than the expensive music system fitted in. But I hang on to it, in spite of questions from all and sundry as to when I plan to upgrade my conveyance to reflect my lifestyle simply because I do not believe in spending money on something that’s not an immediate necessity. The Honda runs perfectly well, gives me a decent mileage, and gets me from Point A to Point B without a hitch. Sure, I’m tempted by the newer and better models that I can afford, but the point is – why spend good, hard-earned money just for the sake of it?

But the fact that I refuse to upgrade my car does not mean that I’m a miserly Scrooge – in fact, I spend an obscene amount every month towards my membership at the gym and racquet ball court. Every cent is justified by the satisfaction and wellness I feel after every game and work out. And then there’s the fact that I stay healthy, stress-free and fit all through the year, which means that I hardly ever visit the doctor’s office and never stay home from work because of illness. So all in all, an expense that is totally necessary by my book.

There are other things that do not feature high on my must-have list – the flat screen TV that all my friends insist I need, the newest cell phone model with features to kill for, shoes and handbags to match every outfit in my closet, and cosmetics that claim to suppress aging or make you look like Angelina Jolie. And then there are the equally expensive things that I do allow myself to indulge myself – Nike’s range of products, expensive dinners at favorite restaurants when friends or family visit, gifts and toys to spoil my darling nieces with, vacations that refresh both my body and mind and books that provide food for my soul.

While the above lists are not exhaustive, the point I’m trying to make is that just spending money is a relative thing – what you term a necessity, I call frivolous. The only thing that matters at the end of the day is that you’ve not spent more than you can afford and that you have enough put away to tide you over a rainy day. If you can steer clear of debt, then spending money does not matter, as long as the expense is justifiable in your eyes, not in the eyes of the Joneses.

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Best business practices. She invites your questions and writing job opportunities at her personal email address:

1 comment:

Emirhan said...

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