I am constantly reminded that Jet and I need to plan financially and stick to a budget… or else, we find ourselves in a pinch when we need to pay for the important things – dues, bills, food, medicine, etc.
Growing up, budgeting wasn’t really a big deal for me. My sister and I were given (almost) everything we “needed” by our parents – we would always convince them that we needed what we wanted. Truthfully, I think my parents just gave in to our wants because they had the budget and they had the capacity to spend more. My sister and I were blessed to have been given a very very comfortable life. However, now that I have a family of my own, I think I somewhat understand what my parents went through to provide for my sister and I in that capacity, it all started with sacrifice and a constant practice of delayed gratification.
During my first year of being married, not buying what I wanted when I wanted it was a struggle for me. Fortunately enough, I have a husband who is patient and who constantly reminds me about the real things that matter. I recently experienced being looked down upon because of the non-branded things I use… and it really affected me. Like maybe it was the last straw.
My natural instinct was to prove to these people that I have the money to buy myself branded things, luxurious things, the nicer things… To prove to them that all my money went to what my kids needed… but then that would be my pride talking.. which would not be right. For people who have money, it isn’t bad to buy yourselves expensive things.. what I find wrong is how some of these people easily look down on others who don’t buy the same things they do.
Enter the concept of wants vs. needs. In a gist, needs are your basic necessities while wants are everything else you desire but do not need.
When the pressure gets overwhelming, I ask myself “do I need expensive and branded things?” and the answer is almost always – just if I need something to be of quality.
Let me give you a direct example:
I carry so much in my daily bag that it might trump other mom-bags out there. I don’t mean a diaper bag, I just mean my everyday bag that has all the things everyone seems to need. My “mom bag” ends up being so heavy to lug around! It would be nice to have a few fashionable luxury branded neutral tote bags to match almost all my outfits.. but with how heavy my bag is and how I end up using it, I decided to use one of those tote bags I got as a freebie. Now I don’t have to worry about getting the bag dirty, wearing it out, or even damaging it. I do not need an expensive branded bag to carry all my things in. It would be nice to have one but I do not need it.
BUT if we’re talking about diapers my kids use… well… I would always set aside a budget to buy them quality diapers. Why? although it takes a huge chunk out of my budget, at least I won’t have to spend more on allergy medicines because of the rashes they get from the other less costly brands. I need to buy the premium products to avoid the need for costly medication. I do have reasons why I choose to buy expensive products from the get-go.
This decision process comes naturally to me nowadays. I’ve come to know exactly what my wants are and what I really need.
It baffles me how other people can easily judge and look down on others just based on the things they use. I’ve been given the “hi nice to meet you + head-to-toe look” at various social gatherings, with some people’s eyes lingering on my not-so-expensive-bag and my jewelry.
To be honest, I don’t buy fake things because that would be pretentious. I only use brands which I can buy within my budget. I have a lot of unbranded things. I also only have a few luxury things. My clothes are not all branded… and I am okay.
To all those who have the habit of giving the “hi nice to meet you + head-to-toe look” greeting, please stop. You may not know what that person has to spend for or what they go through. Hastily judging others hardly ever helps.
To all those who have been looked down upon because of the unbranded things you use, it is okay. You have your own reasons and you’re awesome. The brands you use do not define you. You do not need to prove anything.
I hope this post encourages someone out there!