Friday, September 17, 2010

Frugal Friday - Jumping Off the Consumer Bandwagon

I guess you can say that we aren't on the consumer bandwagon anymore. 

I had that realization as I was filling out my Swagbucks profiles for their "trusted survey" section a while back. I had that realization again while taking to a friend.  And then again while talking to the cashier at the grocery store.

All of these things were talking or asking about purchases that I've made in the last year in some form or another. 

On Swagbucks it was things like:
Which restaurants have you frequented in the last year?
What electronics have your bought in the last year? (Or are planning to buy in the future.)
Where do you typically buy ....(typically followed by something I've never bought in my life)?

My friend was talking about:
The cell phones they had bought recently.
The concerts they've seen recently.
How much dressing trendy is these days.
How much groceries cost.

The cashier was talking about:
How he'd had to replace his cell phone Smart Phone (or iPhone or something like that) 3 times this year already.
How his big screen TV had gone belly up at the same time.

It made me realize that we really don't have the same spending habits as a lot of people. 

We have a radio station here that encourages people to buy lunch, a drink, etc. for someone at the drive thru one Friday a month.  They play phone conversations from people who have called in talking about how great it is.   I'm always impressed when someone down on their luck or out of a job or going through something awful, like cancer or a terminal illness, pays for someone and they call to talk about how God prompted them to go buy something for someone else just to bless them.

I'm always completely puzzled by the people who call in and say "Money is so tight now" or "I was down to my last $5" and then proceed to gush about how someone totally surprised them by paying for their meal. 

Now, I don't doubt that God speaks to some of these people - there's usually someone who says something like "I haven't been to church in a while because I've been so angry with God over something or another and that really made me think that God cares" Or I never really got what this whole "God thing" was about and now I want to know more. 

I still wonder why someone who has $5 to their name is going through the drive through. 

I wonder why the cashier at the grocery store thinks its necessary to have an iPhone (or whatever it was) and a big screen TV.
I wonder why my friend, who wears a uniform to work and has enormous medical and legal bills currently, has to buy the latest trends and see the latest concerts and buy a new cell phone.

I wonder why I need to buy a particular product, as suggested by today's marketing strategies.

Then I go home, to my small home filled with furnishings I mostly love and that have lasted me many years and I know why I don't do those things too.

Because a home is not a home without the people inside it.
Because we have things that are more important to spend our money on (at least in our estimation).
Because we really want to share our bounty with those in need.
Because we're trying to become debt free so we can follow God's call after Seminary.
Because it just doesn't pay to keep up with the Jones.

What have you jumped off the consumer bandwagon?  I'd love to hear.

For more Frugal Friday, check out Life as Mom!

1 comment:

  1. I had this realization recently when I started working from home a bit to help out financially and what I was most excited about was the money I would be adding to our savings account. It never crossed my mind to spend this extra money. The reason I had to get a job was because we aren't able to save anything out of my dh's paycheck anymore and our savings has been slowly dropping to cover unexpected things. That is stressful! I don't want to spend money to relieve that stress, I want to save money.


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