Good morning! This is a guest post from Vanessa from Liberty-loves-company.com, she writes about using money to buy freedom, how to become financially independent, and what it really means to live the good life. She is lucky to live in New Zealand where the excellent beaches make up for the high cost of living. You can join her on Twitter: @Liberty__loves.
Let me know if you would like to guest post on RFI.
‘Because you’re worth it’. A killer tagline. Of course you’re worth it. It’s a rhetorical statement. The very fact of it justifies the purchase of anything. It’s perfectly true and perfectly vague. It satisfies a desire to feel served and pampered and righteously so.
This sort of emotional manipulation in advertising works day and night to convince you to justify your spending. Your admittedly difficult challenge is to dissect and eliminate the bullshit.
A sense of spending entitlement comes in many convincing disguises. All of these delusions are designed to please a needy version of ourselves that will never be satisfied.
The mental script runs a bit like this:
‘Jesus what a day/week/month! My feet hurt and that shirt is scratchy around my neck. I’m tired of those idiot clients that don’t understand anything about how the industry actually works. I’ve bent over backwards for them all week, I’m smarter and deserve better than this! I’ve sacrificed my time and three years of university, my job is important and stressful, I get home and the kids are on my back already, so this is the very least I can do for myself!’
Long story short – You deserve a treat, goddamn it, and it better be expensive and convenient and naughty and it had better be in front of you immediately – to hell with the expense.
Any variety of temporary pleasure or luxury is suddenly okay – expensive alcohol, table service, subscription magazines, overpriced shampoo, taxis, deli dinners, imported linen. We select from an infinite buffet, an embarrassment of riches.
It’s okay because we have the perfect reason. There is no guilt or deliberation because we are entitled. Because we’re worth it!
Entitlement gets entangled with rights. Rights get confused with expectations. Expectations become habits. We become little emperors who can’t remember a time when we fetched our own slippers or buttered our own toast.
We all have basic rights as human beings. We are all inherently worthy. That applies whether we are supermarket shelf stackers, accountants or European royalty. We have the right to rest, and play and be ourselves. We all have the right to be respected regardless of our position in life.
We don’t need to spend any amount of money to prove or demonstrate that worthiness. A high income doesn’t make you automatically more deserving of luxury or better at handling money. It often just makes you a lifestyle slave. Learn the difference!
Of course you can spend your money on whatever you want. It is absolutely up to you. You can swiftly burn through most of your income very easily by feeding a lifestyle that you have talked yourself into. It might be a lifestyle that suits a person of your age and social standing in a particular culture. It might reflect the lifestyle of your friends. It will seem right for so many reasons.
Just don’t fool yourself into believing that spending money is an entitlement. It’s just a choice. It’s a choice that can take you closer to what you really deserve, or further away.