In Discussions, Discussions, Money, Style

Do luxury goods attract or repel, let alone make you happy?

Thoughts on this article: do luxury goods attract or repel? and whether or not luxury goods make you happy got me thinking about them.

As someone to regularly buys and enjoys luxury goods, I think the best way I can sum it up is:

I do it for myself.

I buy them because I want to, and I enjoy these luxury products. It’s really as simple as that.

LOOK RICH TO ATTRACT MORE FRIENDS?

I certainly don’t do it to attract more friends. If I thought driving a nice car, would get me more friends, be well-liked and so on, I’d be less likely to do it, I think. Even now, with my car, I tend to park far away from the entrance so that less people see me with my car, and I don’t talk about it the way that some other guys I know who drive nice cars, try to show off at the office.

I just smile. I don’t fake it when people ask me the truth but I certainly don’t offer it or draw attention to myself because of it. So this whole notion of me liking to wear high-end designer clothes/shoes to make more friends, is ludicrous. I do it because I enjoy it.

BUT NOT THOSE KINDS OF FRIENDS!

In addition, I DEFINITELY don’t want friends who are interested in me because I have the money to expend on such goods. If they think that we are friends because they too, drive a nice car (or can afford one), and I do too, this is a superficial way to build a friendship, and it starts off on a bad foot.

I really couldn’t care what you do/don’t drive, or wear. I care more about your values and it shows in your purchases. If you are THOUGHTFUL and you buy things consciously and with purpose, that says more to me when you bring home a secondhand item from a thrift store you’re thrilled about because of the romantic mystery of whom it may have belonged to once, than if you purchased it because it was the most expensive item on the shelf and you could afford it so you bought it.

I want to see thought in your purchases. I want to see your values reflect themselves and if we have the same ones, the dollar value means nothing to me. I too, shop in thrift stores and am equally as excited when I see a vintage necklace for $7 and think: I wonder who wore this and what stories she would have had!

Or the possibilities of being able to repair it, upcycle it, whatever.

If you’re someone who cares about looking “right” and showing that you’re rich, you’re not my type of person. We may drive similar cars, and wear similar clothes but your values don’t reflect mine and that’s what true friendships are built upon.

Story Time: I used to drive a really crappy secondhand lemon. I think my car was hands down the ugliest in the entire neighbourhood (my partner use to tease me about it, and we’d share delighted wicked laughs about how people used to stare suspiciously at me driving this car, wondering if I belonged in the neighbourhood, let alone the building).

When I bought my really nice car (FOR MYSELF), suddenly… it was like I was a new person to them. People started to show me more respect, actually saying Hello to me, or smiling. It was in that moment that I realized (A) how shallow society is but (B) how much I didn’t want to, nor care to obtain the respect or opinion of these people around me. I relished being able to rub it in their faces that I did drive a terrible car, and yes I lived here with all of you shiny, luxury-driving people…. only to have them later be flummoxed that I was not in fact a bum student squatting in a home, but in fact, someone with means, when I quietly showed up with my new car.

All of that, respect or suspicion towards me was given just because of a car.

So really, if people want to be friends with someone just because they think they have money (for all they know, I am up to my eyeballs in debt)… well I am not interested.

IS IT PSYCHOLOGICAL ENTITLEMENT?

Hmm. This one, I think could hold some truth in that I do feel like I am entitled to enjoy my money: I work hard, & I want it, so I buy it, so I can enjoy it. I do not fit into this term of “psychological entitlement” however, as “an official term for people who believe that they are “special and should receive more resources and praise than others”.

I wonder if I do feel that but under the context that I am smart and I work hard, so why wouldn’t I get more money and spend it as a result, rather than I was born into this family and this is the lifestyle I am entitled to because I am a special snowflake.

I would like to think there is a difference from wanting to reward oneself with something they want, versus thinking they deserve it just because they’re alive.

OR AN INAUTHENTIC SELF?

The other theory in the article is that people buy luxury goods because they want to feel better than they think they are. So they feel like crap, and because they feel like crap, they buy something really luxurious and expensive to erase those feelings of inadequacy.

I guess if that was the case, I wouldn’t buy secondhand or thrift. If I followed their theory correctly, buying used clothing and digging through people’s leftovers would make me feel even worse. I don’t think this applies to me either.

The article does go on to list some brands that are of a good quality and not designer, many of their products which I do own (Cuyana, M Gemi), because it is less about their name of the product for me, and more about the quality, which is why they’re great. Why would I buy Gucci loafers when I found nicer ones I liked at M. Gemi? I actually do seek quality (hence why vintage or thrifted items are my jam), and it’s at odds with my desire to not spend too much money PLUS to help the environment (recycle! reuse!)

Thoughts?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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4 Comments

  1. Catherine T

    I don’t know if I’ve every chatted with you about my family – my father’s side is quite superficial and judge people based on materialistic metrics (i.e., the brand of their clothes, size of their home, the car you drive and the trips you take, types of restaurants they frequent, etc.).

    It was something that was clear to me even as a child, and my parents would always explain to me and my siblings that just because our family didn’t have brand name XXX, it doesn’t mean that we are lesser than. If it was clothing, my parents would explain that we have clothes that fit us, that are neat and tidy (i.e., no holes/rips/tears) and it keeps us warm. And same thing with eating out, instead of eating at fancy restaurants, we have healthy and delicious food that helps us grow strong.

    Now that I am older, I can make these judgements for myself. Instead of using La Mer cream (yes, that’s what they use!), I base my skincare routine on science and the recommendation of dermatologist and skincare experts – and also my own observed results. My entire skincare routine doesn’t even equal the cost of a jar of La Mer (haha!).

    Part of it is also how these individuals judge others – they believe THEY will be judged the same way. They feel embarrassed if they don’t have the right clothes/car/whatever, or feel they are not deserving of respect.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      A lot of it stems from insecurity as well as you’ve pointed out so perfectly. I also think that if you don’t really come from money, you’re not used to having it, so having higher end items makes you feel better about your new status in life. My thing is just that the higher end brands have nicer things.. it’s less about status for me, and more quality.

      Reply
  2. Gail

    You know who you are; those who buy to impress others do not. I totally respect you in your choice to buy a luxury car and other beautiful objects that you can afford and that make you feel good. Those who criticize are most likely jealous of your ability to purchase what you like or of your knowing who you are and daring to be just that.
    You and I would seem, to the judgmental people, unlikely to be friends and maybe even to have mutual respect. People don’t have to be the same and spend/save in exactly the same way to have respect for one another. I have found insecure people to be the most judgmental of anyone slightly different from themselves and of others who obviously have more income or savvy with money.
    We have bought, in our retirement, a very costly condominium unit. But we drive our cars till they fall apart, have minimal wardrobes. We travel more than many, buy more food and fancier than some, yet do not subscribe to cable TV or fancy cell phone plans. To each her own, right? It’s the only way to be happy.

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Oh yes – you need a flexible mind!!! That is something I had to learn the hard way over the years. I used to be a lot more judge-y

      Reply

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