Two women wearing sunglasses holding shopping bags and smiling in front of a store with frugal living illustrations. Spending to impress

It makes no sense to spend money to impress

Ah, the exhilaration of spending money! Isn’t there something uniquely thrilling about sliding that card through? It feels almost magical—voilà!—and suddenly, that state-of-the-art, ultra-HD, smart fridge (capable of sending emails quicker than you can type them) belongs to you. However, let’s take a moment to reflect on a timeless insight from Will Rogers: “Too many people spend money to impress with purchases they don’t need, from funds they haven’t earned, all to impress folks they don’t even care for.”

Now, if that doesn’t hit harder than my credit card hitting the bottom of an empty wallet, I don’t know what does.

The Unseen Olympic Sport: Competitive Spending

Firstly, let’s talk about the Olympic sport that never made it to the games—Competitive Spending. Picture this: you’re scrolling through your social media feed, and there it is, a picture of your acquaintance (whom you barely like) vacationing in the Maldives, sipping a drink that’s more garnish than a beverage. And just like that, you’re browsing last-minute flights to Bora Bora to one-up them. Why? There is no reason other than the silent yet potent pressure to keep up with the Joneses—or, in this case, the Jetsetters.

But here’s the kicker: you’re spending money faster than a millionaire on Black Friday, hoping to snag a few envious glances from people whose friend requests you considered rejecting. It’s a vicious cycle of buying, boasting, and breaking.

The Art of Buying Nonsense

Let’s dissect the part about buying things we don’t want. Have you ever owned a gadget whose function you can’t even comprehend? Welcome to the club! It’s like buying a Swiss Army knife when you only need a toothpick. But there it was, on sale—the all-in-one, coffee-making, weather-predicting, stock-trading, child-educating toaster! And you thought, “I might need this someday.” Spoiler: You won’t.

We stockpile things destined to gather dust faster than our New Year’s resolutions fall apart. And why? Because it was a bargain? Because it might come in handy during a zombie apocalypse? Or simply because owning four yoga mats, seven types of herbal tea (which taste like lawn clippings), and a smart belt (yes, those exist) might make us the most interesting person at the party we weren’t invited to.

The Quest for Approval from the Disliked

Now, onto my favorite part: impressing people we don’t like. Isn’t it just delightful spending hard-earned (or credit-lent) money to dazzle folks you wouldn’t trust with your houseplant? We buy flashy cars, branded apparel, and tech gadgets so sophisticated that they scare the cat to make someone green with envy—at someone we wouldn’t lend five bucks to for a coffee.

The psychology is baffling. We transform into peacocks, flaunting our feathers made of designer labels and limited edition stuff. And for what? For a nod from a nemesis? A thumbs-up from a frenemy? The satisfaction of seeing a jaw drop momentarily before everyone moves on with their lives, leaving you with a gadget you can’t operate and a looming credit card bill?

Embracing the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO)

So, what’s the cure to this societal ailment? Embrace the JOMO—Joy of Missing Out. Next time you feel the itch to impress, toss your credit card aside and pick up a good book (or maybe one of those seven types of herbal teas). Revel in the peace that comes from not caring about the latest trends on TikTok or the flashy cars in your neighbor’s driveway.

Instead of buying another decorative pillow (because apparently, the other sixteen weren’t enough), invest in experiences. Go hiking, learn a new skill, or save that money. Rediscover the forgotten art of enjoying what you have, who you are, and where you’re at without the need for external validation.

Wrapping It Up (Not in Designer Paper)

In conclusion, while Will Rogers might not have foreseen the digital age of relentless consumerism and social media one-upmanship, his words are a lighthouse in the foggy sea of our consumer-driven lives. So next time you’re about to buy that thing, you don’t need to impress that person you don’t like with money you don’t have—stop. Laugh at the absurdity of it all, and put that wallet away. Your bank account—and your real friends—will thank you.

Tom Rooney

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