There are some things that people continue to spend money on even if they really don’t have it to spend. These can be items that bring comfort, preferences over less expensive alternatives, or things that make them feel good about themselves.
In a recent online discussion, the topic was splurges people spend money on even when they can’t afford it.
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Sure, everyone needs a phone, but that doesn’t mean you need to have the newest release with all of the bells and whistles.
One person said, “I make a 6 figure salary and have a 4 year old $75 phone. Not rich but certainly not poor. Help desk people at my job make $20 an hour and all have whatever the latest $1,000 iLemming or Android meta phone is. I just don’t get it.”
It’s nice to have your nails looking nice, but you should probably save the salon manicure for when you can afford it.
One commenter said, “It’s all about priorities. It seems that women who could clearly put that money towards bills, kids, healthy food, teeth, etc. seem to always have well-maintained, long, pointy, tacky manicures.”
A lady replied, “I like having my nails/hair/lashes done too but that’s why I put in the effort to do it myself. I’ll never understand salon or nothing people, especially when you can’t afford it.”
Cigarettes are a splurge people will make, particularly for their favorite brand, regardless of whether they have the funds or not.
A convenience store employee said, “As somebody who works at a gas station, Newport cigarettes. Seriously. It’s almost only ever poor people who buy them, and they’re one of the most expensive cigarette brands we carry.”
Tattoos are a great way to express yourself when you can afford it. One man said, “Something like 80% living in the trailer park or ghetto has them. Even a small one that’s the size of a golf ball could go towards groceries or rent. Nope, we gotta have some cool permanent art under my t-shirt.”
The allure of easy money makes it easy to spend what cash you do have on lottery tickets. Sadly, there are very few big-money winners.
One person said, “In high school my friends parents were in such bad lotto debt that they figured their only way out was winning the lottery. They doubled down buying tickets. Every spare dollar went towards tickets, they started pawning stuff for more tickets.”
Yes, it can be convenient to just hop in the drive-thru. However, if you do it regularly, it’s going to cost you.
One woman said, “Most people I know who are not that well off are the kind to get their coffee from a shop on the way to work, or grab a quick bite at some chain restaurant. While these are not in particular expensive items, the habit of daily spending on them is. Yeah, you might look busy as a bee but the money could be spent on building up savings or something else with more longevity. ”
Jewelry can be a fun way to express your personality and accessorize your clothes, but you should probably wait until it fits in your budget to buy it.
One commenter had an interesting take on the jewelry that many didn’t know. He said, “A lot of that bling is used as bail money. When arrested cops for things like drug dealing cops can seize cash but not the jewelry so you pawn the bling to make bail.”
Fancy rims look cool, but they are just tire rims. You probably shouldn’t go into debt or rent-to-own them.
One man said, “Rent-to-own fancy rims and tires, especially on a car you don’t own outright. Extra entertaining when you discover your wheels and tires have been repossessed and your car is now sitting flush on the ground.”
Hair and Lash Extensions
Looking your best can do a lot for your self-esteem, but having hair and lash extensions professionally done gets expensive quickly.
One woman said, “I almost always notice it’s people in low wage jobs that have eyelash extensions, hair extensions, nails done, etc. How?! It’s so expensive.”
Another woman replied, “You can get materials to do lashes and nails on Amazon or similar sites for under $20, that’s what I do. My friends think I spend hundreds at salons like they do…nope.”
Many people who can’t afford it will spend their limited funds on designer clothes to make it seem as if they have more money than they do.
One person said, “Designer or brand name clothes.. many rich people dress casual and poor people spend their money trying to look rich.”
No doubt you need comfortable shoes, especially if you have a job where you are on your feet most of the day. You don’t, however, need the latest pair of Air Jordan’s that are going to cost you a couple of week’s wages.
One person said, “Shoes that cost over $100. My coworkers all make around $1,500 a month but will buy $600-$900 shoes? Will never make sense to me.”
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This thread inspired this post.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.