"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
Don't be trapped by Dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Keeping up with the Joneses

The news today tells us that more and more people and families are getting heavily into debt, and more people are declaring bankruptcy. One of the main reasons for this is the new generation of loan companies that spam us on cable TV every day, making out it's so easy to just take out a loan for that new car, new kitchen, or a nice holiday. And people are so easily fooled by them.

Blame was also directed at the "keeping up with the Joneses" habit, and the peer pressure and nagging of children to always have the latest most expensive gadgets, the fancy 16th birthday party, the limo and expensive dress for their Prom night, the next X-Box and the latest iPod, and oh can I have a laptop for Christmas please????

Again I ask WHY CAN'T THESE PEOPLE SAY NO??? Why do they care so much what the neighbours think of them because they've not bought a new car for nearly 5 years? Or because they only ever holiday in Britain and not Dubai every year? Or because they shop in Primark and can't afford to spend £50 on a new skirt?

Why can't they say to their kids "no you can't have that because mummy and daddy can't afford it", or "you can't have an X-Box each you will have to learn to share"...."you can't have the latest iPod because you already have an earlier one and it's just as good". Are they scared that their kids will be bullied and victimised at school if they can't keep up with the spending? Can't they teach their kids to not give a sh*t what other people say or think about them, as they themselves shouldn't give a sh*t what the neighbours think about them? If friends or neighbours of mine sneered at me because of what I don't have, I wouldn't be counting them as friends and would have nothing to do with them.

When I was at school I was the Queen of Frump. While all my friends had "clothing allowances" and went to Top Shop every Saturday and wore trendy clothes, I was wearing clumpy shoes, knee-length socks, frumpy pleated skirts and mum's hand-knitted jumpers. Try as I might I couldn't get a clothing allowance, wasn't allowed to wear trendy stuff without a big argument and hassle, and wasn't allowed to go to town with my friends unless my brother also accompanied me. I endured sniggers, sneers, and sarcasm, but every time I pleaded with mum she flat refused. And I had to just deal with it. I didn't throw a strop, threaten to hang myself, smash my room up, just cos I couldn't get what I wanted. I learned to just deal with it and not let the sneering bother me.

At Christmas time I would write my Dear Santa letters, and each year I didn't always get everything I asked for, but I knew that stropping about it woudn't change anything (I still want the game "OPERATION" though!!!) I hassled my mum for ages for a pony of my own, and received the same old answer "we've got no land and we can't afford one". I got riding lessons instead. Nowadays would a parent take out a loan just to buy a pony for their little girl???

I saw that TV programme "Bank of mum & dad" the other week, where a financial expert comes in and helps young people who are in debt. One 23 year old girl had run up a debt of £25,000 through her addiction to shopping and insistence on always hitting the expensive shops. When she was interviewed about her habit, she was smirking and laughing and seemed to not be taking it seriously at all. She said that when she argued with her boyfriend, her revenge on him was to "go spending".

Her parents didn't help her by LENDING her more money to go shopping with!!! Her boyfriend didn't do a thing to sto her spending, and the little madam was just doing what she pleased with no thought to the mess she was getting herself into. How can any parent stand by and watch that happen to their child?????

If people would grow spines and start standing up for themselves and simply saying NO, and not giving a shit what people thought of them, debt wouldn't be such a problem. There are some things in life you just can't afford. Bloody hell, I'd love a Lotus Elise, I'd love to make over my whole house, I'd love to be able to shop for new clothes each week, I'd love to do more travelling - but I simply can't afford it. I'd love to have a dozen different costumes but it ain't happening, I just have to settle for my lot and be happy with what I've got. I could be a LOT worse. Why can't everyone else have the same attitude???

The only winners that come out of all this are the banks and loan companies.

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