Things I Don’t Understand Thursday: Why Are We Scared to Save Money?
In Things I Don’t Understand Thursday, we started off with a leaf blower and moved on to rent to own. In both of these cases there are clear choices of buying items that you do not need or buying an item that will cost you more money if you simply save up and buy it later, delaying satisfaction which is something our society has long not been a part of. To think I could literally walk to my local Range Rover dealer and leave with a new or leased vehicle, some of this just amazes me. I digress though as buying a Range Rover today is certainly not being afraid of saving money, but it does tie in.
If you go on to Facebook (I don’t have Facebook for Even Steven Money, my Social Media manager needs to up his/her game) I can almost promise you that you will find a friend with a new clothing purchase, expensive vacation pictures, more expensive newer vehicle, or think about where most of those pictures are coming from, usually a new iPhone. When it comes to spending money we are at the forefront of showing people are biggest and best purchases. One thing that I fail to see is pictures of us saving money and even if the purchase is a picture of a new purchase that saves money it usually results in spending money on something that we do not need. An example of this is showing the new clothing that was bought at the mall that they got for 50% off! In most cases these clothes were not needed, instead it was an impulse purchase or the new phenomenon of getting a deal on your purchase. Have you heard the cashier say to you “Congratulations you saved $xx.xx” or do you look at a shopping tag and see the regular price is $100, but since this item is on sale for $40 that you just can’t pass up these “savings”. Impulsive spending and sharing our new pictures via social media is thing of the present and the future, but what about saving money?
From time to time I share savings opportunities on Facebook with my friends and acquaintances. Some of my friends listen, but many more are not interested in saving money. How come many of us out there are ready to impulse buy a new Ford F-150, but are not interested in saving $100 per month using Republic Wireless for our cell phone service (Check out the link for how much you can save with Republic Wireless). Let me share with you a couple of responses I received when I posted information about RW.
So Dick is concerned about the phones themselves, which to me is a bit humorous in itself. Moto X is one of the better phones on the market and if you read reviews on the Moto X you will find the same. Next is the attack that coverage is not good in Dick’s area for where he lives or travels, in another message I explained roaming and how Sprint acts as a primary coverage area, but if this is indeed true and the coverage is so poor in the area he travels most (this does not seem to be the case, rather referencing somewhere far away where the individual lives, I mean come on its Facebook of course I know where you live! OK Dick brings up his side business being very critical to his side business, let me say he’s a photographer. I won’t be to critical since I am in no way a photographer, but if you are using your cell phone as a camera you might be in trouble. Did you notice how he gave excuses on why he does not want to save money (good or bad still excuses)? You know what you don’t see, an impulse to save. It could be I am not a trusted sales person or he is in a long term contract and ashamed of how much money he is spending and needs to rationalize why he spends a large sum of money on his cell phone and cell phone plan. You know what I really think it is?
People are afraid to save. Think of it in reverse, people are not afraid to spend. Advertisement is specifically geared at us spending money, doing it quickly, and repeating the process as often as possible. That is how companies make money, they put ads out there that show how great it is to buy a new vehicle, I mean for heaven’s sake they put Matthew Mcconaughey in a Lincoln and tell us how much he likes it, don’t worry about the $35,000, buy that f****** car because it feels good. If you are still with me you know how bat s*** crazy that sounds. In my 10% Rule on spending money on cars you would need to make a cool 350K, but forget it do it because it feels good, not because you will be paying $500 month car payments for 5 years, do it because it feels good.
What if the world was flipped upside down and people made impulse saving common practice? What if we all we posted what our 401K contribution increase was for the year? What if every time we saved money we shared with friends on Facebook? What if we shared what percentage our investments went up each month? What if every time we had a transfer go to savings we let people know with a picture on Facebook? What would happen if every advertisement for banking was for savings programs instead of loans and credit cards?
I think in many ways this is what personal finance bloggers do, but we are here to share with those that are willing. We try to share and educate those who are ready to listen, personal finance is not mainstream. Saving money is not mainstream it’s not sexy, despite what BudgetsAreSexy says. I agree and think it should be, but what’s sexier J. Money telling you to budget and save money or a model/celebrity telling you to buy a product. In the modern world we live in, buy is sexier than save.
We are afraid to save. Have you ever heard someone say “I was going to buy this new car, but instead I said screw it and saved 5K and put it all in my savings account/CD/IRA/business opportunity”. Because we are afraid to save, I’m not saying as much personal finance bloggers, but some of us do exist, I’m saying the mainstream. The guy you see rolling in the Range Rover today and getting foreclosed on 2 years later, the lady who buys 2 pairs of shoes a week, but can’t fathom to put money in the stock market to earn money.
Is it simply that it is just easier to spend money than to save money? That we aren’t really afraid to save money it’s just so much easier to spend it. I mean companies and banks alike are looking for new technology to have your transaction make it feel like you are not using money, but instead you are just swiping a card at a register or entering numbers into a computer screen. The new thing that possibly could be the downfall of mankind, is paying by using your phone, often seen at Starbucks and enough to make me lose my mind on a Monday morning( I don’t buy Starbucks coffee for me it’s like rooting for the Yankees it somehow just feels dirty). Don’t worry about every seeing your money leave your account we want absolutely no emotion involved when you spend. We want it to feel like it’s a video game or you are playing with chips, also one of the secrets of Las Vegas they make you play with chips because if you would be playing with money in front of you it would feel real. Losing $20 on a hand of blackjack, no it’s not $20 it’s a $20 chip, much different just chips. I mean Disney is coming out with bracelets that have your financial information on your wrist, I mean if that place doesn’t cost enough money imagine just holding up your wrist and then when the day is over you find out that you spent $300 on Mickey Mouse t-shirts and nachos, because that’s about what $300 gets you in the park, memories are priceless. Speaking of MasterCard, why not run an entire campaign that says spend every flipping dollar you have because these moments are priceless, I mean the campaign is genius, but just another advertisement to spend and in this case spend as much as possible because it’s special.
Honestly, writing this I’m lost in my own tangent. Let’s get back to Harry from our Facebook friends from above, I was paying $225 with my Verizon iPhone’s and 2 other phone plans, and his concern instead of himself actually saving money by using Republic Wireless to save what could amount to hundreds of dollars over the year that I should have been paying less with Verizon. Are you flipping kidding me?! Aren’t we missing the point Harry? I’m explaining that with Republic Wireless you have the opportunity to save about $85/month on your wireless service with basically the same service and phone. Is he afraid of saving? Is he concerned I was paying too much for my Verizon bill? Did he just want to point out that he was paying less than I was? Was this just another case of wanting to keep up with the Jones’ and their iPhone?
A lot of questions can be taken from Harry, but it comes down to he is happy at least on the outside to pay $135 month, he almost wears it as a badge of honor, scarlet letter “A” whatever you want to call it. Similarly I wear that same badge except our combined bill for our $10 RW Talk and Text, and $25 Talk, Text, and 3G, I wonder what would happen if we all wore our cell phone monthly payments on our chests? Would we all walk around laughing at the guy who pays $200 and give high-fives to the guy with the $35 bill (I’m good with getting high fives, occasional chest bumps are fun as well)? This makes me want to conduct a social experiment; I just might give it a try!
So like many of the Thursday posts this little guy has lost his way. What I would like to ask of you who have read this far is to do something different, go ahead and Save Money without even thinking. Maybe there is a new app that saves money, cost reduction program, cell phone plan, savings program, increase your 401K contribution, frankly I don’t give a $$$$ what it is, just do it don’t even think about it, Go Ahead Impulse the $$$$ out of Saving.
Good Luck and I would love if you would share what you Impulse the $$$$ out of Saving today or recently.
*Dick and Harry are good good people who have right to their own opinions. I also have included only a portion of the conversation because most of it is boring.
**Sorry if the picture offends anyone, but honestly if it does please please stop reading my blog and go to Disneyland