Instead of buying new clips for a rubber bumper that was falling off Moose for $25, I decided to buy some super glue at the convenience store instead. I’ve had a fascination with super glue ever since I accidentally glued my thumb and middle finger together in the 6th grade. I remember telling everyone that I was in meditation pose so they’d leave me alone. Didn’t happen.
While at the convenience store, I had to choose between a stick of brand name Krazy Glue for $4.99, or a six-pack of generic super glue for just $3. Six times as much for $1.99 less! What a steal! Of course I decided on the six-pack and away I went to not only super glue my loose bumper, but also my rear taillight, and my friends broken sunglasses! I was a super glue machine and went through two sticks in two seconds.
NO MATTER HOW MUCH I MAKE I WILL NOT CHANGE
No matter how much passive income I make from investing, I know that I will always refuse to go to the car dealer and spend $25 for clips that cost maybe $2 dollars to produce. Besides the bad feeling of getting ripped off, I was happy to save ~$23 after tax with the super glue solution.
I grew up in a frugal household where we always ordered water with a lemon during meals and used things until they could absolutely no longer work. This frugal upbringing made it easy to save 55% or more of my after-tax income ever since graduation, even when I was only making about $50,000 a year living in ridiculously expensive New York City. I enjoyed living in a studio with a roommate after college. It was like a luxury dorm room, baby!
One of my silly dreams is to one day bypass flying commercial and have my own private jet. I’ve been traumatized enough by crying babies and middle seats next to the toilet that flying commercial is one thing I dread the most. The fear of dying in a plane crash has now become secondary to the fear of being kept up all night on a trans-Pacific flight! Does anybody want to invest in Samurai Airlines, where we will have a babies only section and extra large middle seats with guaranteed both arm rests?
Of course I will never be able to afford my own private plane, but what I can now afford is the occasional business class as a compromise. There is an unsaid rule that business and first class cabins are to be void of noise pollution. However, I just can’t get myself to pay 3-5X the price of a ticket, no matter how cozy the seats and quiet the cabins are! $1,500 vs. $350 to go to Hawaii for a 5 hour flight? Forget about it!
IS OVERCONSUMPTION A DISEASE?
I get complaint after complaint from readers on Financial Samurai why they can’t save. Worse yet, I get complaint after complaint from people who can’t stop spending, and don’t have the wherewithal to pay down their debt. If you can’t save, at least don’t dig yourself in a big hole with outrageous consumer debt that’s almost always on a credit card!
It’s been a struggle for me to understand why some people don’t want to shore up their personal finances. I’ve written articles such as “Are The Top 1% Better Than The 99% At Taking Care Of A Family“, and “Do “C” Students Deserve “A” Lifestyles?” to try and understand why things are the way they are. I’ve made progress into the psychology of wealthy, but every time I feel my readers and I have taken a step forward, there’s always several steps back towards confusion.
Perhaps what I’m failing to realize is that everybody’s upbringing is different. If you’re raised in a household that loves to spend more than they make, then perhaps you too will be influenced by your parent’s wanton spending habits. Just like how I have a very hard time spending more, others may very well have a hard time spending less because of the hardwiring!
So I have to ask you all, “Are spending habits impossible to change?” If you were raised by frugal parents, will you generally alway be frugal if you become rich? If you were raised by debt-laden, spendaholic parents, are you doomed to be looser with your finances than normal?
Is labeling our problems as a “disease” or as part of our DNA just another excuse? Or is it a reality in many cases?