Last week, Mrs. 1500 asked if you’re judgmental of others. I am super judgmental, more on that in a moment. First, Mrs. 1500 is here to discuss last week’s answers.
OK, so now for my part – last week’s answers to the question, “Do you ever feel judgmental about money?”
A little backstory, The 1500’s went camping and I was hit with a major flashback to our Douglas County days – where everybody spends all the money they have like there’s some unspoken neighborhood contest.
It was obvious that many of our fellow campers knew each other, and were trying to impress each other with their campground decorations. Reader Chris questioned the strength of this story, and I guess anyone who didn’t live in this neighborhood may not fully understand it. It doesn’t seem all that big a deal if people want to spend hundreds of dollars decorating a campsite.
I was judging them based on my Douglas County experiences. And I was SUPER judgmental when I lived there.
I read a lot of good answers. Kate from Cashville Skyline said she was called out by her sister for doing this recently. She continued, “It’s none of my business if other people don’t want to save for their future.”
The control freak in me disagrees, but the teeny smidge that’s rational agrees with this completely.
Jon from Be Net Worthy comments, “That’s one of the downsides of running a personal finance blog, the judgement! I am definitely more aware of what other people are doing and how they are spending their money.”
I think I was always conscious that other people spent more money than I did, even before this blog. Maybe I’m just super judge-y. I can’t change other people, I can only change myself. (Who am I kidding, I can’t even change myself…)
Mrs. Picky Pincher starts her reply with “Ayuuup” which reminds me of the Stephen King book Pet Sematary (and this is the second time that book has come up…) She continues, “I really try to mind my own business, but it’s hard not to be judgmental when you see people making spendy choices. My issue is that it appears they don’t know another way–I have an internal struggle debating whether I should let them know there’s another way or if I should keep my mouth shut.”
How many of us had any sort of personal finance education in our younger lives? 0%? 1%? I just want to share what I know. Of course, I am not so receptive when I’m on the other end, and I’m a terrible teacher, so it comes out all preachy and judge-y…
But there were a few completely different arguments that resonated the most with me. First was from Full Time Finance, who said, “I remind myself that I don’t know their circumstances.” I really can’t add anything to that.
Financial Panther said, “I’m big on the concept that personal finance is personal. What I value isn’t at all what someone else might value, so I try not to pass any value judgments based solely on what people choose to buy.”
Amanda from PassionatelySimpleLife said, “Yes, sometimes I just need to get off my high horse and realize that a lot of people have made money related mistakes, including me.” I’ve made quite a few stupid money choices in my life…
And Done by Forty feels that it should be fair game… “I’m super judgmental with some of my friends’ decisions with money — but often, it’s justified. Like, not in a subjective, this is my opinion way…objectively justified. So whatever: judge away, right?
Everything else in life is free game for judgment: political views, whether an action’s moral or not, the way people dress, whether this movie or song is cool or not. I mean, with so much at stake with our finances, why not subject that area of our lives to the same critiques?”
And Joe from Retire by 40 threw it back at me… “Even when I’m judgmental, I keep it to myself…mostly… *cough* lake house *cough*” Touché, Joe.
Back to Mr. 1500 for this week’s question.
Ask the Readers: Do Others Judge You?
I am really judgmental. I keep it all to myself, but I can’t help but think bad thoughts occasionally. I started thinking about why and I came up with two reasons:
Short term memory annoys me: Remember when the Great Recession happened back at the end of the last decade? I knew no shortage of people who spent like there was no tomorrow and then lost their jobs when the bottom fell out of the economy. Some of them ended up in a world of hurt very quickly. These same folks were always quick to point their finger at someone else, but never at the $60,000 Eurosedan in the soon to be foreclosed garage.
I find it interesting (but not surprising) that when most of these folks landed back on their feet, they went back to their old spendy ways. New house, new cars, on and on. These same people are going to need the government to bail them out when the next recession rolls around.
Others have judged me: Despite what I mentioned about my judgmental ways, I keep my thoughts to myself. I go out of my way not to criticize (except here!). I think it’s better to guide others to a better financial state by setting a positive example. I’m not blatant about it, but if someone were to ask what new car to buy, I would throw out some numbers that explain why keeping the old car is a financially savvy idea.
Even though I hold back, this hasn’t stopped others from telling me what to do:
- Cheapass!: In a hotel, I want clean and quiet. The only thing I’m doing there is sleeping. A friend likes to stay in luxury hotels and used to chide me for my preference for the Comfort Inn.
- Mr. Cheapo!: My sisters used to call me Mr. Cheapo. They’d suggest I buy something like a new stereo and when I balked, they’d sing a chorus of “Mr. Cheapo! Mr. Cheapo!! Mr. Cheapo!!!”
- No Wife for You!: An old boss once told me that if I didn’t get a BMW, I’d never get married. Her thought was that I had to ‘demonstrate my financial prowess’ to a potential mate.
If I was cheap, then I deserve a little ribbing. I’m not cheap though; I’m frugal. And there is a difference. Here is what Google had to say:
I like that definition. I’ll spend a lot of money on stuff that is important to me like:
Electronics: I buy good phones and computers and then keep them for years.
- Travel: I want to see the world. I don’t care how much it costs.
- Tools: There is no place in my life for bad tools.
- Motor oil: My old cars get only synthetic. I change my own oil, so that keeps the cost down.
- Beer: If I’m going to contaminate my body with alcohol, it should taste good.
- Air conditioning: I hate being hot and have no tolerance for it. I love cold. I can wear shorts and a t-shirt outside when it’s 56 and be fine. When it’s hot, the AC goes on.
And then, there is the stuff that just doesn’t move me:
- Fashion: I couldn’t care less about style. A white t-shirt in the summer and black one in the winter is as fashionable as it gets for me.
- TV (actual TVs and the programming): 4K? OLED?? Movie channels??? Zzzzzzzzzzzzz….
- Professional sports: Meh. I watch the Superbowl, but I’m in it for the beer and camaraderie.
- Hotel rooms: They all look the same when the lights are off.
I don’t appreciate the negative remarks from family and friends. I’m never cheap with other people, always paying my fair share and then some. Why do people criticize me for being frugal?
Anyway, I shouldn’t judge others just because I feel bad about being judged. This is small and pithy, but there you have it. I never said that I was perfect.
How about you? Have you ever felt judged for being frugal?
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