Saturday, December 1, 2012

Month Two Begins

Snowing today. Nice big flakes. The ground is too warm for it to stick, but there's more than a little dusting on cars and trees.

It's not going to last, because the temperature the next several days is projected to be in the mid '50s. But it's nice to look at.

Last night, because the nearest Sam's Club is an hour away, we opted to join Costco. I'd never been to one before. The store is very similar, although perhaps not the same items that I'm familiar with from Sam's. The customer service experience seems to be an upgrade, however.

We're stocking up, not because of the snow's reminder that winter is speeding toward us, but because we're being strategic about money.

I hate having to be so mindful of a budget. This is something the rich or even the upper middle class don't seem to comprehend: when you are capable of getting into a financial bind, if you're sensible that never leaves your mind. But my perception of people who are relatively well-off is that they never worry about it. They can be frivolous. The rest of us don't have that luxury. We have to always think larger, about how spending must fit into what's coming down the road.

It's a big reason I get pissed off at the attitudes of some people at this time of year. Automobile manufacturers who have these commercials showing people being surprised with the gift of an expensive vehicle... it's gauche. How freaking great would it be to be able to go spend $60,000 on a gift for someone? Well, maybe it would be great. But I don't know anyone who could do that. So it sets an unreasonable expectation of many things. It's kind of like the beer commercials populated with models. Most of the people I know who drink a lot of beer don't look like that.

Am I a failure if I don't buy M a Lexus for Christmas? Are you, if you similarly do not make that buy for a family member?

Part of what's gotten American consumers, and the nation in general, into financial trouble is this "spending equals success" approach. Our collective credit debt is ridiculous. We spend money we don't have. If we don't, we're looked at as either "not playing ball" with the system, or some sort of fiscal nerd/egghead, or just "unusual."

Why is that? Because my crappy, beat-down, dog-haired, paid for POS 2000 Ford Contour will drive me someplace just as surely as that spiffy new Lexus or Buick or Range Rover will. Better gas mileage, too!

And I don't think that buying a charm bracelet with the "red-hot love beads" (ewww) makes me any less of a good person, either.

Who really needs this shit? As Tyler Durden said, "The stuff you own ends up owning you."

Maybe I should get in the holiday spirit by watching "Fight Club" again.

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