When Peter Griffin’s welfare cheque on Family Guy was accidentally written out for $150,000 instead of $150, he built a moat around his home and rented the Statue of David. The kids of The OC spent cash like it was going out of style and were seemingly in constant competition with each other. Al Bundy dressed the part of a man made of money when his bank account temporarily swelled on Married… With Children.

So what’s the deal with our compulsion to spend-spend-spend instead of save-save-save?

Al Bundy

Photo: Loadtr

A few months ago I wandered into Chapters looking for a book for women on financial management. I was starting from the ground up, so I knew that a little bit of leadership in my budgeting goals would be necessary. It’s easy to say “I’m going to stop spending money and start saving it,” but we all know that actions speak louder than words. One thing the book emphasizes is that understanding why we spend is the key to learning how to stop.

The last man in my life that I was constantly trying to impress – whether subconsciously or not – had incredibly particular tastes and expectations. Though unspoken, it was implied that my hair always needed to look somewhat luxurious, my nails needed to sport a specific type of manicure, my clothing needed to be as stylish as the labels in the seams, a tan was preferable and I wouldn’t dare go to bed at night without my legs shaved. Ghosts are tough to compete with.


Feelings of inadequacy or insecurity can reveal themselves in countless ways, but in women they generally rear their ugly heads in the form of spending. Whether we’re trying to impress a man, stay neck-at-neck with our girlfriends or keep up with the Joneses, the results are the same. “Retail therapy” provides a quick fix, but the high often crashes as soon as it starts. And sadly, until we can identify our personal reasons, any changes we attempt in an effort to better our financial situation will come back like a boomerang and knock us upside the head. This applies to women and men, and can concern alcohol abuse, unhealthy relationships, drug use or sexual habits.

While only a week into my strict and self-imposed budget, I have quickly realized how much I actually enjoy this new lifestyle. It’s become apparent to me how much I craved a structure I simply didn’t have. While I initially assumed living within a tight budget would cause me great stress, I’m surprised to learn how stress-free it has instead made my life.

Reaching a place of understanding, self-acceptance and personal peace in my life has given me an incredible freedom that’s causing a ripple effect. Does this mean I won’t still purchase so-called finer items? Certainly not. But if and when I do, the only person I’ll be purchasing them for is myself.

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8 Comments on “IT’S A RICH MAN’S WORLD

  1. Boredom … I think that’s my spending trigger. I’m noticing increasingly this week, since starting my strict budgeting of my own, that the impulses to spend seem to come in my moments of boredom.
    I’m one of those ripples of your own endeavors.
    Good post darlin’ … glad you’re doing this for you, because only good can come from that :)

  2. I’m lucky I work in an environment that does not require me in business attire. At least that keeps wardrobe costs down. However, it seems that my downfall is in te electronics department. Yeah, I’m the enginerd. Aside from that, I think I have fallen victim to retail therapy. The past couple of years were pretty bad. Now, if I am out shopping, I ask myself some questions before I buy: Do I absolutely need this? Can I do without it? Is there a less expensive alternative if it is something I really need? Questions like that. It makes saying no to that purchase easier, I find.

  3. Yes, toss guys like that to the curb. You will only be disappointed.

    That said, when time unravelled, you will find that they end up disappointed as well. In women, and they never learn their lesson. They continually choose women who give a more of a shit about their looks and money than they do them. They end up ‘surprised’ in divorce court when it turns out she really *is* a vapid bitch and takes everything they have. Really? It is a surprise? It almost never is.

    Some never learn either. Bimbo #2 will come along and it happens again. Like crack to the alimony fire.

    Run the other way, into the arms of a guy who puts you first, doesn’t care if you gain ten pounds, but mostly knows himself.

  4. I’ve gone through the same thing. I started my company and quickly realized that dollar and cents were all important. It’s sort of comforting to decide NOT to spend money on something. It’s quieter. More peaceful. It forces your mind to investigate ways to entertain without spending.

    I dig.

  5. great post. I love love reading about personal finance. I have some great links to good PF sites and lots of good books i could recommend. Love your blog. How is the Lush thing going? And keep updating on your budgeting progress. Im also in the process of re-learning a new way to manage my money. Good Luck from a fellow island girl!

  6. There are definitely times when we spend to impress other people or for boredom or other reasons. But sometimes I spend my hard earned cash on the goodies that are a bit more expensive because I value high quality. Heck yes, they make me happy and I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. The key is to keep it from being spontaneous or reckless. There needs to be a plan – it looks like you’re on the right track.

    I recently signed up for email newsletters from and they’re pretty good. Check it out, you might like it too.

  7. Was that the Smart Cookies book that you bought? My roommate swears by that book, but I have yet to read it.

    I’ve attempted several times to put a budget into place and live a simpler life, but it always only seems to last for a couple of weeks before I fold. But I’m going to keep trying and perhaps I’ll strengthen my will power one day and learn to indulge less. Good on ya for sticking to your plan!

    Someone once told me that statistically, people who spend their money on experiences rather than on material possessions are happier… I’m testing this theory out.

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