Thinking back, I was always the way I am now. Even as a kid, I liked to work hard, save money and figure out how to make more. However, I was always an oddball. None of my peers seemed to think the same way.
As a teen, my 2 younger siblings would often ask me why I wasn’t buying this or that for myself or my girlfriends. I would tell them that I (or they) didn’t need it and that I prefer to save my money. These conversations took place many times. Eventually, this gave way to a pet name for me, Mr. Cheapo! The conversation would usually go something like this:
Sister #1: Your radio kind of sucks, why don’t you just buy this one?
Me: Well, that one is $300. My old one still works OK.
Sister #2: You have a job and you have the money, go for it.
Me: Nah, I’m OK. I just don’t need it.
Sister #1: You’re Mr. Cheapo! Ha ha, Mr. Cheapo!!
Sister #2 joins in: Mr. Cheapo! Mr. Cheapo!! Mr. Cheapo!!! Ha ha ha!!!!
Eventually, I came to like the term. Damn right I’m Mr. Cheapo! Want some more cute names to call me? How about Mr. Savo or Mr. Early Retiremento or Mr. Doesn’t have to live paycheck to paychecko!
My current friends think I’m off kilter with my decisions as well:
Friend #1: Let’s stay at the <insert expensive hotel> on our trip.
Me: Why? We’re going hiking. The only thing we’ll do in the room is sleep there.
Friend #2: Well, its better and we can afford it. We should treat ourselves.
Me: I think it’s a waste of money. All hotel rooms look the same with your eyes closed.
Friend #1 looks at friend #2 and sighs.
Neither my siblings nor my friends have come around to see my way of thinking. They are great people in all other ways; they just aren’t enlightened yet. Like most, they will probably never will wake up.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that smart people who save their money and behave in financially responsible ways are generally looked down upon in our society. People make fun of the guy who still has a car 10 years after he purchased it. People make fun of others who shop at the thrift store. Apparently, we should all treat ourselves, live paycheck to paycheck; buy junk we don’t need and dispose of it when we get bored. We look up to people who fill their houses and garages with junk and expensive cars. Nice purse! Congratulations Bob on your new car!
I see people on Facebook all the time showing off some new purchase and think its a bit sad. Have we become so superficial? Are our lives so devoid of good experiences and relationships that we have to compensate by buying stuff constantly?
Savers should be praised, not laughed at. We should ask the guy who has his car 10 years later about what he has done to maintain it so well. We should take the $500 we were going to spend on the purse and save it or use it to do some good.
I will be happy when I log into Facebook and see people bragging about their savings or how much they contributed to their 401(k). Until then, send them over to Mr. Cheapo for some financial advice!