Tuesday, August 25, 2009

status

I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong with having money or liking expensive things.

I feel it's so interesting how in different social settings and different groups of friends, "keeping up with the Joneses" looks so different. This summer, I've been around people who are making less than $30,000 a year. They are very aware of prices, and I have found myself enjoying shopping with them, which usually means thrifting. However, whenever I want to stop by Urban Outfitters or another retailer store, I've noticed that my friends feel uncomfortable being in such stores, and don't even bother looking around. I also feel incredibly self conscious and rather judged if I do make a purchase at retail price. While I am not against buying used clothing, sometimes I am just not in the mood to sift through so many things to find treasures.

In contrast, my friends from back home (I went to a private school) are used to buying things at different price points. Everything is pretty much Macy's, Nordstrom, or higher end boutiques. It is not unusual for us to spend $50-$100 on an article of clothing.

All that to say, do you find yourself more inclined to spend when you're with wealthy friends than with middle-class friends? If so, do you feel out of your element financially-wise when you do hang out with them? How do you maintain your budget while still enjoying going out with people of a higher wealth level than you?

I guess it comes down to whom we're buying our stuff for. Ourselves? Or others? Because I enjoy designer clothes, but I was recently talking with a friend who pointed out that sometimes I give off the rich-kid-haven't-worked-a-day-in-her-life type of vibe, which is SO far from the truth! But apparently, because of my passion for style and clothing, I somehow give off that impression, which makes me kinda sad. So where's the balance? I enjoy clothing, but I don't buy it to show others I can afford it. Unfortunately, that's what people will inevitably infer. But if I let their opinions affect my purchasing habits, I will ultimately be buying clothes to be more sensitive to others, so I'm still buying FOR others if that makes sense.

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