I have been down internet rabbit holes of ‘rich spending habits’ and ‘what wealthy people spend their money on’, because I am nosy AF and that kind of person.
What has struck me as interesting, is they always talk about it like it is a choice, that it is a choice for poor people to go to discount grocery stores, and discount department stores.
It has always rubbed me the wrong way because rich people have the choice – they have the choice to decide to shop at a dollar store instead of a nicer one, and they have the choice to buy their food in cans there instead of buying fresh produce.
Poor people, do not have that choice.
If you think they could choose between shopping in an upscale grocery store like Whole Foods where everything is touched by fairies and made to order, versus having to dig through discount bins of dented cans at the dollar store, you’re so very wrong.
Even when I made lots of money (even now!) I am not sure I can truly do all of my shopping at Whole Foods and not die at the budget. I am sure it would triple in a month, if I just chose one store and only bought organic, and fancy stuff at a single store and not drive around to go to discount fruit/veg stores to find deals.
Poor people, ONLY have the choice to shop at those places. If they don’t have a car, it’s even worse – they have to walk there, and lug things back, or, take cabs to be able to carry all of it without breaking their backs.
As for spending their time on ‘crap’…
I am always reading this stat that people who make over $75,000 watch and consume less TV and social media than those who make under $25,000.
WHAT ELSE ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO DO? They only have $25K!
They HAVE to find cheap, frugal, free activities, and if they are paying for cable at $50 a month, that’s kind of the cheapest entertainment you’re going to get.
Rich people, get to go on vacations, go to expensive museums with their kids, paying a $20/head ticket fee, and to do things OTHER than sit at home, and watch TV.
Sure, they could all read at the local library for free, but how many people do you really know, yourself included, that spend all of their free time reading?
I myself, am so tired some days and months, I can’t even bring myself to read a book because it takes brain power to read and understand the words. It is much easier to turn on the TV, and watch old TV shows and let my brain just gorge on ‘junk’.
I know a single mother by choice, who doesn’t have a license because she can’t afford the driving lessons on her income.
She can’t just up and go to Ikea to hang out for the day for ‘free’, or go on camping trips for relative low cost, because she doesn’t have a license or a car. She’s a single mother, confined to her neighbourhood area, of which she pays a higher rent premium to live in, so she can be close to the buses and metro as she is car-less.
So what does she do with her kid? Hang out at the park, or watch TV. That’s all she can do, and TV is the most alluring option of all, as it is ‘free’, and the perfect solution to cold and rainy days.
Rich people also have TIME and ENERGY to do these things..
Poor people may also be working more hours, but for less money. I know the minimum wage here is $12.50/hour, which is $25K a year. If you want to make it to the $30K level, you need a side job, or a ‘side hustle’.
You’re spending 40 hours a week at a job making $25K a year, then you need to come back home, change and go to your part-time side hustle making an extra $13K a year to bring your annual income up to $38K a year.
Rich people, easily make $50K/year working 40-hours a week or less.
They simply have more time and energy to devote to other activities like reading, etc.
I can tell you that if you are constantly working, you don’t have the time to do yoga daily, or pay for a gym membership or trainer because that $100 could be the difference between making rent or not.
And forget about ENERGY. If you’re always working, you have to maybe also pay for daycare for your kids while you work, which eats into your paycheque if you don’t have help.
Yes, not everyone is the same..
I understand I am generalizing here, as not everyone is the same – not all rich people avoid TV, and not all poor people only watch TV.. but these articles are making it seem like poor people have a choice and alternatives to other forms of entertainment, or ways of spending their money at discount versus upscale stores, and they really don’t.
Vacations especially, must be rough. You can’t afford to go anywhere, so you sit at home for a ‘staycation’.
Rich people who want to save money might do this by choice, and crow about it, but poor people don’t have this luxury as it’s their only option – they may not even be able to afford the gas for a road trip, let alone a hotel room.
I am not saying they are all painted with the same brush, but I am saying these articles are quite one-sided in their reporting on ‘rich habits’ versus ‘poor habits’.
Not all poor people are dumb, and not all rich people are smart.
I have both in my family, so I can attest to that.
For sure, everyone can learn how to manage their money on any income they have – you have to learn how to be rich on $30K as you can on $300K because if you spend it all you’ve got nothing at the end to show for it — but I really dislike it when there is no mention of the lack of choice that people have at these different income levels.
Poor people don’t really choose to eat canned foods at the dollar store or to watch TV all day – it’s all they can do/afford, sometimes.
You have less money to play with and make mistakes at lower income levels. If your car breaks down, and you need it to get to work because you live so far away in the middle of nowhere because rents closer to your work are so high, what are you going to do with your money?
Maybe go into debt to fix your car because you have no choice. You may need that car even if there is public transportation because the commute would be too long
That’s my real beef – not really taking into account the lack of choice.
And, I also don’t begrudge them for wanting to buy things to make their lives feel better. I can understand that.
If you get your hair or nails done, you can feel like a million bucks, and it is sometimes worth that money to have that feeling, even on a strict budget. It can be difficult to break out of that feeling and to not spend money on ANYTHING unnecessary.
Even in prison, female prisoners want lip gloss, lipstick, coloured pencils to do makeshift makeup – all to feel pretty again. It’s human nature.