After a life time of happily shopping at thrift stores, I decided I wanted to be someone who “takes care of herself,” and a lot of that is in well-managed presentation. I realized that I was going through a lot of cheap junk in my life, and I’d probably be better off if I got fewer higher quality things and took care of them.
I got a few pairs of quality shoes, some nice well-tailored clothes, a good make-up kit and an expensive-looking bag. None of it was obscenely expensive, but it was all quality stuff. It worked like a charm- people would use those exact words to describe me. I developed a lot more confidence and a professional attitude to go with my “grown up” look.
I still don’t own stuff just to own stuff. Collecting makes no sense to me at all. But I am grateful to have well-crafted, quality things in my life.
I guess, I’m not necessarily saying there is, I’m saying I don’t understand the possessions as a status symbol aspect of it.
The difference to me, I guess, is that resources ARE limited and she does have a status bent to her choices. So pragmatically if we need a new car and it has to be an Escalade, my desire for experiences gets left to the way side due to resource limitations. Whereas if we get some other SUV, she still gets a new car and we might also be able to go on vacation too. To her, the cachet of owning an Escalade trumps the desire to get a new car AND to go experience something together.
I buy one pair of jeans a year, and I generally buy from a moderately pricey brand.
Why bother? Well, for me the big draw is that I know I can walk in to the jean store, ask the clerk to help me with a fitting, try on a few different styles and come out with a pair of jeans that I like. The whole process takes less than half an hour and involves no guesswork. I know I will come out with what I went in looking for- a pair of jeans that fits well and will look good for at least a year- with minimal hassel.
Sure, I could wander all over the mall for hours trying on clearance rack jeans, and with any luck I might be able to find a workable cheaper pair. But in terms of raw earning economics, wandering around the mall doing something I hate isn’t a good use of my time.
This changes the equation considerably. I don’t mind spending money on things that are a pleasure to use, but to insist on spending more on a big-ticket item knowing that my spouse would be denied something he wants would not reflect well on me.
Oh, I get it. This is called ‘our money’ and ‘her money’. After discussion, ‘our money’ is spent on things she wants. But she can spend ‘her money’ any way she wants without discussion. There is no ‘your money’.
It’s an insecurity thing and also a lazy thing. Why shop around for the highest-quality from all the brands when the top brands are vouched for? It’s a bit circular–“The top brands must be good if they are top brands”–but I think that’s the long and short of it.
But just to balance out the equation, it’s probably annoying to be too much on the opposite extreme. Conformists suck, but so do people who conform to be non-conformists. This behavior may also spring from insecurity. “If I act like everyone else, I won’t be unique and superior anymore.” And lazy thinking: “Everyone else is choosing this, so it must be bad!” (Full disclosure: I totally have these thoughts and most times don’t argue against them!)
The truth is that all of us think our decisions are rational. I’m sure the OP’s wife thinks choosing name-brands makes perfect, non-superficial sense. No one is ever going to say, “Yeah, my purchases reflect my emotional immaturity and lack of self-awareness.”
I don’t really get the “status” possessions - I drive a 10yo Pathfinder, and although I could get a brand new “prestige” SUV, I’d rather have the familiar and well-working one that I got.
On the other hand, I would much rather have the original Magritte vs. the copy that I have hanging in my office. The two are basically identical, since I had a very good artist do the copy, but it’s not the same.
Yeah, sorta, I guess. That’s not really what I am curious about, though. I am more looking in to some insight of those that would rather have the Escalade than the SUV and a vacation, if that makes sense.
Here’s my solution in theory. But the wife won’t go for it.
You want a car. Do some serious research on whats the best buy for the money. That generally won’t be the cheapest but it won’t be a blinged out overpriced ego mobile.
Now, lets say the best value car cost 30k. The bling mobile cost 40k. The wife gets the bling mobile she wants, but she “wasted” 10k because bling is important to her. You get 10k to “waste” however you want.
OP, in general the ‘things’ vs ‘experiences’ discussion is interesting, but now that I’ve looked up the price and mpg on an Escalade, the discussion as you’ve presented it puts your wife in a very bad light. You’re certain she understands the way you see the available choices?
This isn’t an impending decision. It was a hypothetical discussion that evolved out of the conversation as a whole. She would rather have the Escalade vs. something else and a vacation.
…and I’m not trying to make her look bad. I’m trying to get the other perspective.
“Different strokes for different folks”
“Get off one’s high horse”
Whatever makes one happy; how do we measure happiness/satisfaction others get from possession of things? Mahbe it’s orgasmic for them to own certain designer shoes? Who are we to say? If you don’t like it, mind your own business and don’t make eye contact.
Doe your wife even enjoy going on vacation? If she does, does she enjoy the same sort of vacation that you do? Because in a hypothetical discussion, I’m going to prefer the expensive version of what I want to a cheaper version along with the type of vacation my husband enjoys. Escalade vs. less expensive SUV and a vacation to some bowling tournament where my husband and his friends will insist upon collecting every free item listed in the coupon book (including the piece of lint from the Lint Museum ) and driving for miles to see sights that are famous only to the people who placed the ads ? Gimmee the Escalade. Escalade vs cheaper SUV plus a vacation to a warm resort area in February? Cheaper SUV and vacation. Escalade vs cheaper SUV and remodeling my kitchen? Cheaper SUV and kitchen.
Now that doesn’t mean that in reality I wouldn’t get the cheaper SUV and go ahead and collect my piece of lint on the bowling vacation. (Obviously, I’ve done it or I wouldn’t know about the Lint Museum ). But it certainly wouldn’t be my *preference. *
The wife clearly enjoys having a status symbol, and apparently it gives her pleasure every time she uses it. The husband enjoys experiences.
For me, I prefer things. Really, I do. If I go see the Grand Canyon, I’m gonna want to buy one or several souvenirs, because I will remember the experience better if I have something to trigger the memory. I have an ereader, and I enjoy it. But when I pick up the nook, I don’t get the same experience as I do as when I pick up a particular copy of a book. I don’t remember the conversation I had with the shop clerk, for instance. I don’t remember digging the book out of my purse when I am flying to see my parents. All I get is the pleasure of reading the book, which is very nice, but I don’t get the depth of experience that I do with a dead tree book.
I’m not explaining myself very clearly. I mean, I don’t care about name brands as status symbols, but I understand that some people do. And these people DO get enjoyment out of using and showing off their status symbols. Now, whether or not they can afford to buy the status symbols is another discussion. And whether the status symbols are worth the extra money to the spouse? Apparently, in the OP’s case, they aren’t.
Basically, I think that there should be a budget. There’s the cost of a basic SUV, and that comes out of the family budget, if the family needs and wants an SUV. But if one person wants a status SUV, the extra money for that status comes out of his/her personal spending budget, not the family budget. And if s/he doesn’t have that much money in his/her budget, then s/he needs to just learn to get by with a more prosaic SUV.
As for guitars vs. trips, I’d MUCH rather have a guitar. I could look at it and handle it as much as I wanted to, whenever I wanted to. I’d prefer one of George’s, but that’s another thread. I have a necklace that was designed and handmade by Andre Norton, just before she died. I handle it and I remember how much I enjoyed reading her books as a child and teen, and even as an adult. I don’t want to go visit Norton’s home, or do any other sort of pilgrimage. For me, the necklace is valuable, for sentimental reasons as much as anything.
I used to hate having to flip LPs but now I miss the ritual of getting the album out of album jacket, inner sleeve, put it on the turntable, clean the dust off with Disc Washer thingy then flip the album to listen to the B-side.
Speaking of guitar, once when I wasn’t doing great this guy wanted to buy my Strat that I’ve had since high school so he talked to my friends to convince me that I should sell to him. My answer to them, “So you guys want me to sell him one of my limbs?” In HS, I was “* Workin’ at the car wash*” to save money to buy my Strat and that was my second guitar after a no name garage sale electric guitar. That guitar was playing fine (in fact I’d like to have it back) BUT I wanted a Stratocaster. I thought a few times recently, after reading some threads about spouse etc, my Strat has been my most faithful “companion”… my Tele is a new comer, relatively speaking, and not quite the same nor gets the love… Three’s Company. I know… sad… in a way. :dubious:
It’s always interesting to me to see what value people put on what things. Case in point, my brother vs me. I drive a Scion, he drives a Lexus. They both serve the same purpose. His vehicle is definitely more comfortable than mine, and I’m pretty sure the fact that he’s president of the company has something to do with him wanting and being able to afford the car. Same with watches - I have a $13 Timex and he’s got a $$$$ Rolex. Both do exactly the same thing, but maybe his also conveys a non-spoken message to those he deals with, whereas mine tells me whether I’m late or not.
He can afford such things and I certainly don’t begrudge him or envy him (OK, I envied his 2-week vacation in Hawaii…) He’s divorced and childless, so his choices don’t affect anyone anyway, but if he had kids in rags eating ramen every meal so he could have his fancy stuff, my reaction would be different. As it his, he uses his money for his pleasure - I do the same, but my pleasures are different. Lucky for me, my husband and I are pretty much on the same page most of the time.