Some people rate their worth and quality of life on how much stuff they have and how expensive their stuff is. I am not one of those people, and I think it’s silly to blow money on expensive things to impress people or give them the impression that you’re better than them.
I’ve known a few of these people in my lifetime. I wouldn’t say a lot because I come from a pretty impoverished rural area in Ohio, and the people I know there are the salt of the earth just like me. In the city I live in now, however, pretentious money-wasters are far more common. I’ve known people who have entire closets full of designer purses that they paid roughly $300-400 each for, people who brag about wearing $12,000 in jewelry on a daily basis as if that makes them somehow more special than us lowly peasants, and people whose car payments are literally more than my rent because they just can’t be seen in a base model car.
I’m not saying I don’t treat myself to any nice things. I do, but I’m smart and thrifty about it (also, my definition of nice is a bit different than some). I carry a Coach purse that I bought used for $15 at a consignment shop 3 years ago. My engagement/wedding ring set is black sterling silver with cubic zirconia and was only about $100. My car is a 2017 Kia base model with a 6-speed manual transmission. It’s almost the cheapest new car you can get, but it’s really nice by my standards because it starts up every time reliably and the A/C works. Trust me, you do NOT want to have a car with no A/C if you live in the South. I found that out quickly when I moved here with my rusty old Volkswagen that had no A/C and no reverse gear.
I fantasize sometimes about what I’d do if I suddenly came into a lot of money and didn’t have to struggle anymore. Usually, the first thing that comes to mind is that Barenaked Ladies song. “We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft dinner…but we would eat Kraft dinner, we’d just eat more!” That’s exactly how I’d be if I was a millionaire. I’d get out of my mountain of student loan debt, buy some property and a few cool vehicles like an old Jeep CJ and a four wheeler, and then I’d go on a helping-people spree.
A helping-people spree, you ask? Well, I’d visit my closest friends and family and randomly pay off their houses/cars because they deserve to have more breathing room in their budget. I’d fund my best friend’s business startup dream. If I saw someone broken down on the side of the road trying to fix their old beater car to get to work, I’d buy them a new car. I’d walk around the mall when people are Christmas shopping and hand out $100 bills. Then I’d go home and have some Kraft dinner and box wine. I wouldn’t want any attention for these good deeds because I hate being the center of attention; it would just make me feel good to help others. I guess that’s just another reason I’m not a Republican; I actually give a shit about others.
I hope someday I am a millionaire because a lot of millionaires in America have souls more toxic than nuclear waste and care about nothing but themselves. I’d be different; I’d give millionaires a good name again because I’d make the world a better place for as many people as I could, not just for myself, and I’d still be the fun-loving no-frills country girl I am.