I was talking to someone the other day and they shot me by pointing out a small hole in the pants I was wearing. It wasn’t revealing either way and I was aware it was there, but this person’s comment offended me quite a bit at first because I knew they were trying to create a narrative about me and my finances based on my clothes.
We all do this at one time or another and it is common to judge someone by their looks (without saying it is right). After the initial shock of this comment wore off, I laughed to myself a little and realized that this person clearly had everything wrong with me and that I might care less if that were their opinion.
In all honesty, I can’t be one of those people who say they don’t care at all about people’s opinions of you because I think that’s a false statement. We all care, otherwise we wouldn’t try to be extra polite in public or dress presentably before walking out the door. We wouldn’t be embarrassed if we spoke to someone only to find that there was a piece of spinach in our teeth the entire time.
We often care about other people’s perception of ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that. It is definitely important to me but only to a certain extent.
Regarding holes in some of my clothes I am not the only one Who’s totally okay with that and I don’t care much about other people’s opinions or judgments about what I’m wearing.
Then why am I writing this whole blog post? I know this is different from what I usually post, but I have always believed that my experience on this website is completely authentic and honest, and I believe there is a financial lesson to be learned that is based on They can affect and even change your perspective or improve your focus on your financial goals.
To help explain this lesson, I wanted to name three main reasons why I don’t care so much about people’s opinion that I wear clothes with holes.
I am clearly more concerned with saving and investing
In the last few years my priorities have really shifted. For me it is less about buying clothes and material items than about gaining financial freedom. I could buy a ton of clothes and shoes every month, but instead I focus on paying off debts, saving and investing because that makes me happy.
I have created a vision for my life where I live on my own terms and don’t owe anyone money. Because of this, I’ve paid off more than $ 30,000 in debt in just under three years. That’s why I’ve added thousands to mine Emergency savings So when there are unexpected expenses, I have the money on hand to deal with them stress-free.
For this reason, I prioritize investing and set myself the goal of using my retirement account to the maximum in the next year. If I want to indulge in something or spend money on something that’s fun, I’ll do it as long as it fits my values. Right now I’m pretty happy with the clothes I have and see no reason to get rid of wearable items that I love.
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I love to be frugal
Second, it’s no secret that I love to be frugal. I became thrifty years ago out of necessity because I really couldn’t afford to spend any extra money. Now I am voluntarily frugal because I absolutely love the lifestyle.
I try to focus on my values and avoid spending money on things that are unnecessary to me. I love getting deals, using coupons, and being creative with what I have. I like to buy my son’s school clothes in thrift stores. I don’t see anything wrong with my affordable prepaid cell phone from Republic Wireless.
I make money back with credit cards and free apps like Ebates and Swagbucks. I cook most of my meals at home because I don’t have to spend a fortune on mediocre food in the restaurant. I check my bank account daily and love planning the budget to stay on track throughout the month. I understand that this doesn’t go over well with some people who think I’m super cheap or just broke, but oh well.
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I’m not defined by clothes … or anything I have
After all, I am not defined by what I wear. I used to feel this way. I used to think the fancier my clothes were, the more money people would keep for me. I used to think designer wallets and shoes would let people know that I was fine financially.
This picture below is from a few years ago. I went to a fashion show in Chicago and remember going to the mall and spending well over $ 100 on this dress and shoes (and hardly ever wearing them again). In retrospect, it was stupid to waste all that money because I didn’t really have to spend it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all over Take care of yourself, but I’m more interested in living my life than trying to show off for other people and make the wrong impression. Sometimes my hair is hot, I have acne, I don’t wear much makeup, and while I love my clothes, some of the items I have have holes in them, but I don’t define myself by any of those standards.
I also don’t like when people define themselves and others based on what they do for a living, when that is just part of their life.
I would prefer to be defined by my unique characteristics and personality.
Don’t let people’s opinions get in the way
This is such an important lesson to learn on your financial journey.
Some people will not understand why you are doing certain things and how you are managing your money. They can form opinions about you that may or may not be true. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what other people think because when you are caught up in someone else’s opinion, you lose sight of your goals and your vision for your life.
Then you start to please someone else and make them happy and comfortable instead of doing it for yourself.
Last year I listened to the Paula Pants podcast interviewing a man who was retiring early because of a teacher’s salary. He was super frugal and did some outrageous things like cycling several miles to work all year round and eating a strange diet of pasta and mussels that he’d get a deal on for protein on the spot.
During the podcast interview, he mentioned how one of his colleagues told him while he was working that she and the rest of the staff wanted to set up a fund at the school so that he could “help” him. In other words, they believed he was having financial problems because of his lifestyle.
What would have happened if he had listened to their opinion and the narrative they were trying to create based on their observations? Little did they know he was saving shiploads of his income and could probably afford to pay for a car in cash at the time, but decided against it because it wasn’t his values and didn’t make him really happy. If he were to be influenced by the opinion of others and his path, he probably would not enjoy financial freedom today.
Where do you draw the line when it comes to caring about other people’s opinions about your life and decisions? Have you ever tried to prove your financial status to others and why did you stop?
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