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I Don’t Want to Appear Rich Anymore, I Want to be Rich!

  May 28

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This post is by staff writer Kayla:

A couple weeks ago I started to feel the big green monster of jealousy rising up inside me when one of my co-workers got a brand new Cadillac Escalade. It’s not that I want a giant gas guzzling status symbol, but I did find myself suddenly wanting to rush out and buy a smaller only slightly gas guzzling cheaper-but-still-nicer-than-my-current-car status symbol.

Luckily before I could made a bad decision that I would later come to regret, I talked some sense into myself. (But not before I did a little online car shopping. Geez cars are expensive!) Then I realized that if I had gone out and bought a new car I couldn’t afford it would not only be taking me farther away from my goal of getting out of debt, but it would also be just another way to make myself appear rich instead of being rich. It would also be just another way to try and keep up with the Joneses.

Here’s how I’m going to avoid appearing rich and instead opt to work on becoming rich for real!

Quit Financing Non-Income-Producing Purchases

I want to get my high-interest consumer debt paid off as soon as possible so I can re-direct my funds toward other things I actually enjoy, like going on vacation, and my other financial priorities, like building up my emergency fund. One way to do this is to quit using your credit cards and other forms of financing for anything that’s non-income-producing.

I’m not 100% debt adverse, which is why I specify that I want to stop spending on things that won’t help my financial position, but I don’t plan to never use credit ever again. I’m sure I’ll have to finance some things from time to time as I build up my business or invest in new opportunities, but I no longer want to take on debt for dumb things like clothes and groceries.

Quit Caring What Other People Think

I don’t have a great track record when it comes to limiting my spending on fashion, but ever since I started my capsule wardrobe at the beginning of this month I haven’t done a speck of shopping and I haven’t been tempted even once to look for new clothes (other than for putting together fashion posts for a writing gig).

Part of this new-found self-control when it comes to giving up my shopping habit is also due to me embracing the wisdom of some fellow PF blogger friends, the Frugalwoods, who suggest that you just stop caring what other people think about you. By putting less thought into what your co-workers and others think about your outfits, hair, makeup, etc. you’ll save time and money by not being so vain.

Keep Your Why in Mind

Another way I keep myself motivated to stop trying to appear rich and instead using my money to actually become rich is to remind myself why I want to be rich. There’s no bigger reminded than when my alarm clock goes off every morning and I feel the dread of having to go into the office yet again. I want to actually be rich and not just appear rich so I can quit my job and spend my time on things, including work that I actually enjoy. What better motivation is there?

The next time you are tempted to buy something that will primarily serve as a status symbol to make you look rich, stop and ask yourself if you want to appear rich or if you want to be rich.

Do you want to be rich?


30 responses to “I Don’t Want to Appear Rich Anymore, I Want to be Rich!

  1. To protect yourself from green envy, just know that they might earn 10X the value of the car! I call this my 1/10th rule for car buying where you take your annual gross income, divide by 10, and voila! That’s how much you can afford to pay.

    By believing that most people follow this rule, it has allowed me to work harder to earn more if XYZ car is what I want.



  2. As you stated, its all a matter of keeping a strong enough ‘why’ in your mind.

    There can be real downsidesto hanging out with others who make dumb money decisions, as they are living in the short term joy while in the long term they are screwing themselves.

    If your feeling down, i always try negative visualization to remind me of just how good i have it compared to anyone who lived 100 years ago. That always helps me put things in perspective.

    1. Brian, I’ve never tried negative visualization. What a great idea!!

  3. I love this idea of being rich instead of appearing rich. I think that appearances are often a fallacy–the wealthiest among us often aren’t flashing around new cars or clothes because they’re investing that dough instead. This is such great insight you have here and I think you’ve set out an awesome goal/challenge! And, many thanks for the mention–I really do find a lot of value in just not caring about outward appearances (saves me so much time, money, and stress!).

    1. I’m a work-in-progress for sure, but it’s getting easier as I realize that I should NOT buy any new clothes. Especially because soon I’ll probably only be wearing yoga pants and t-shirts 99% of the time (after I quit my FT job). 🙂

  4. The desire to fit in is a force to be reckoned with, even long after middle school! But I think more than wanting to appear rich, I struggle with wanting to feel rich. That feeling of excitement and self-satisfaction that comes from wearing a new outfit or driving a new car is tempting, but I remind myself that it doesn’t last. The new thing quickly feels old and boring. Remembering the bigger picture is also very motivating. A new car is so not worth a lifetime of bondage to debt.

    1. You make an excellent point – the desire to fit in is something we tend to think of for younger middle-school-ish aged kids, but it really does follow us for a long time.

  5. I know someone who just made a car loan because his co-workers have their own cars too. And now, his problem is he can’t almost afford to pay his car monthly, it’s because he only wants to appear rich.

    1. That’s too bad. Hopefully he learned his lesson and won’t make the same mistake again!

  6. I want to be Richie Rich-rich. Not even gonna lie or try to hide the fact. I actually want to trade in my 2006 Kia Optima (a piece of crap IMHO) that I’m paying $300/month for, for a much lower priced car, just so I can have the $300 back to pay off mountains of debt that I have.

  7. My mom used to say “we’re rich now. Someday we’ll have money” . I never understood then, but I do now. However, we do need money to function in life and my husband and I have gone from having $28 left after we closed on our first house to having more than a million invested. So I think we are rich with money.

    1. Wow! That’s great Kathy. You’re mom does make a good point though, there are other ways to be “rich” that don’t involve money. I am richly blessed with friends and family. I am blessed to have a good job with a steady income, even though I dislike my job sometimes. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. I’ll never forget when a “friend” sat me down over dinner to tell me how I needed to start dressing to attract a guy. It’s not like I wear frumpy clothes that are totally unflattering, but regardless, I had to remember that was her projecting herself on to me, not the other way around. For her to feel whole or self-confident she needed to dress a certain way, I think the moral of the story is, do what makes YOU happiest, and hopefully that fits somewhere into the frugal realm. 🙂

    1. Great tip Tonya! That’s kind of a funny, but sad, story. It’s sad that your friend feels she has to dress a certain way to attract a guy and make her feel good about herself. I’m glad you know what makes you happy 🙂

  9. Kayla, I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe. I recently began working from home and feel that while my wardrobe doesn’t NEED anything (I can work in sweats or PJ’s if I want to…and I do!), I don’t have much to wear outside of the house and that can be discouraging. I love the idea of slimming down and being more aware of what I have so I can make smarter fashion choices while out shopping in the future.

    1. I’m glad you like the idea! It’s been super helpful for me too. 🙂

  10. Trust me, I’ve seen the financials on the Jones and they aren’t pretty. It’s all a facade! Just do what makes you feel good about yourself (even if that means splurging occasionally for a trip to the salon) and don’t worry about what your coworkers think. I get teased all the time for being a miser.

  11. Great example of how the Joneses spend their money. While I don’t think all millionaires are driving around in pickup trucks and overalls like the book The Millionaire Next Door portrays, I do believe that most people who drive luxury cars are not millionaires-not even close! Most of my peers who have bought luxury cars end up complaining about them, mostly about how expensive they are to buy and maintain.

    But once you go luxury, you don’t go back. So good job resisting the urge!

    1. haha, thanks Syed. Just because I don’t have a luxury car though doesn’t mean I’m not used to one with some “extras” my car has leather, sun roof, DVD player, heated seats, remote start, etc.

  12. I’ll take actually being rich over just keeping the appearance of being rich any day! Though I guess there always is that feeling of wanting nice things and wanting to fit in, but I think remaining focused on your own personal goals is the important part.

  13. Some people say I look rich but I am not honestly rich. Maybe I prefer the other way: I don’t look rich but I am actually rich. This would be really awesome! It’s not about what you wear but the inside of your pocket.

  14. Great points! For most of us, looking rich is quite the opposite of actually being rich!

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