Save. Spend. Splurge.

When $100 is not $100 – Why are some people so cheap?

I used to buy the cheapie electric toothbrushes, you know, the $30 ones. Only recently did I upgrade to a $100 electric toothbrush and I realized just how much of a difference it made. My teeth are SO much smoother and cleaner, I can run my tongue over them and feel the difference that my cheap $30 toothbrush never made.

So, I of course, am super excited to tell everyone and recommend this to my friends and family.

My mother who makes an excellent six-figure income, writes back saying:

$100 is too much for a toothbrush


I sat there a bit befuddled for a moment, and only because (to give you context), my mother regularly wastes money by buying lottery tickets to the tune of $300 – $500 a month. REGULARLY. I am talking just literally setting that money on fire (in my mind), and being okay with it.

I have treated it as a hobby in my head, which doesn’t make it better because it irks me each time to have them waste that money and then complain that they are not rich and do not have any…. but that is neither here nor there.

So I sit there, thinking – but you blow $100 on nonsense without a single thought.

Lottery tickets, random kitchen appliances you use once and never use again (beef jerky dehydrator, anyone? I saw it ONCE in my childhood and it cost her $300 back in the 1980s, not to mention ALL of the other one-use appliances that clutter up her kitchen).

She spends $100 on frivolity without a thought, but cannot spend that same $100 on a toothbrush that would make her dentist visits so much better (less pain, less time spent cleaning, WIN WIN all around in terms of return on investment!!), because in her head, it is in the BORING HOME ITEMS category, and therefore should not cost more than $10.

It made me realize a few things..


It’s true, we don’t. We don’t buy the right items not because we cannot afford it for the most part, but because we do not care. Health is something you take care of, in the long term, much like retirement.

Health is something you have to work at every day, or else over a decade, and longer, you will feel and see the results. There is no easy quick fix for bad health. It is showing up consistently, and that, like retirement savings, is very tough for people to handle as it is small incremental changes that make the difference, not big bang ones.


Not just toothbrushes, but anything that seems mundane – soap, vacuum cleaners, etc… we just buy the cheapest thing possible (I know I did!) because we see the money being better spent elsewhere on FUN things.


As with the example of my mother, I know she thinks it is boring and not fun, and therefore she wants to economize on that, but it falls in line with her not replacing her roof for 15 years (then finding a leak has been there for years ruining her walls as a result), only to have me step in and put in, in the past 2 years, a new roof ($8000) and a new air-conditioning unit ($6000)… I just cannot believe that anyone could own a home, and decide to go without A/C because it costs $6000, and then waste that same amount on lottery tickets in a year, for something that returns nothing.

You could have been cool and comfortable this whole time, and instead you sweat like a pig and lug a dangerous unit in and out of your windows every summer, because you cannot fathom spending $6000 on a central air unit, but are okay with $600 on two heavy units you have to install in your windows each year. Totally boggles my mind.

$100 is not $100

$100 represents the potential of what a $100 brings. A great fantastic meal out, or a boring toothbrush you use every day for health and to save money on dentist visits? Yawn.

Most people would take that super fun meal out.

They see that $100 and think – what could I do with this? Let’s do something FUN. I have paid my bills, I have purchased the food that will wilt in the refrigerator from unmade homemade meals (yes, this food waste is also something that they do, and that drives me up the wall), and they want to spend it on an experience. Or a fun item.

I guess I just don’t get it as I am not wired like that any more. I like to get the boring, money-well-spent stuff out of the way, and then whatever is left, invest a good chunk, and THEN spend the remainder.

I suppose it is how you see your money. Do you see it as boring, and annoying to have to pay bills? Or as a way to keep a roof over your head, eat, clothe yourself, and enjoy having a comfortable existence?

Or is it just painful to have to pay. for anything that is NOT “fun”?

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