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Having less than my friends

January 10, 2008

I spent the week surrounding New Years Eve with a friend I rarely see (we met on a study abroad semester), our boyfriends, and another friend of hers. With the exception of my boyfriend (still a grad student), everyone had just recently entered the working world.

One night, they wanted to go to a “fancy” restaurant for dinner one night, and my boyfriend and I politely declined but offered them the use of the car to go. They graciously offered to treat us, so we agreed to come along. The bf and I politely ordered relatively lower priced items (still probably $40 each), and the others ordered appetizers and dessert (though they were kind enough to share). Dinner for the five of us was about $350, maybe more. The food was decent, but didn’t knock my socks off. The service was good, but not worth that kind of money to me at this point in my life.

Then there was the shopping. My jaw just about fell off when one girl stated that a $1000 handbag was “within the price range” she was looking for. I have no idea her salary (though I do think she lives with her parents, meaning, no rent, which helps), but it just seemed utterly unreasonable to pay that much for a handbag. Still, people do it. All the time. Just not many people that I know.

Sometimes it strikes me unfair when I see people my age spending on expensive items. In many cases, it is flat out unfair–their parents helped them through school and maybe even still subsidize their lifestyles, while mine didn’t. Very few people are wealthy by their own doing at age 24. Many people are comfortable (myself included), but having enough wealth to live the high life? Not me.

Really, it doesn’t matter if it is fair or not. Not one bit. All that matters is they are good people who don’t make me feel bad about being more careful with my money. I do my best not to make them feel bad that they do spend more money.

I think when I move to Los Angeles, I’m going to run into this feeling a lot more than I do here in the Midwest. I’m extremely down to earth, and the L.A. stereotype isn’t. I’m sure some won’t fit the stereotype, but I’ll surely meet a lot more people with piles of money than I know now. I’ll also working at a big name company where many people went to top schools. I went to state school. You’ve never heard of my school. I was smart enough for a better school, but the finances just wouldn’t have worked out. In some ways, it makes me proud of myself. I got to the same place as them, on my own, without a fancy school or lots of money. Even so, I wouldn’t have minded if my parents paid for a top notch education. It wouldn’t make me any less of a person.

Anyway,the girl who bought a Burberry towel (a towel? Why?) and a $250 watch (spur of the moment, out of spite!) suggests getting one coke at a pizza place and sharing the free refils. Too funny.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. thebaglady permalink
    January 11, 2008 2:14 am

    hey there, I’m 24 and I live in Northern California. My hubby’s family is from southern california and recently we visited them for christmas. I was really surprised by the number of designer bags women carried down there! I felt like i was underdressed the entire time. However, i’m pretty secure with the fact that I don’t try to look rich. I think you’d do fine as long as you don’t get sucked in the SoCal culture of looking good at all costs.

  2. January 13, 2012 12:49 pm

    I totally get what you’re talking about! My parents *did* help me through school and they (without asking) have given me more money after school for various things, but I’m not much of a spender. I work at a big name technical company in a high cost of living area. I’ve gotten used to watching people spend like crazy, but I know plenty of people who just don’t care about that as well.

    I would never in my life buy a $1000 handbag though or a $250 watch or a Burberry towel. Those things just aren’t important to me. I do, however, buy jeans from Norstrom – my justification is that I wear jeans every day and they last far longer than AE jeans for example, so the cost per wear isn’t that bad.

    I have friends who bought $40,000-50,000 cars brand-new. I bought a $20,000 car brand-new. One such friend has decided that he never wants to buy a house and looking at my finances, I can understand him thus buying a fancier car. I also don’t spend much more than $100/month eating out, even with friends, and don’t go out drinking much.

    You seem like the type of person who wouldn’t want to live the high life even if you had the money to do so. And that’s a good thing. You’re going to have so much more flexibility in your life. What will those spoiled rich kids do when their trust funds run out or their parents die? You’ll still be doing fine.

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