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What does my lifestyle say about me?

March 21st, 2008 at 06:49 am

I sometime wonder what my stuff says about me.

I live in the most run down house in my neighborhood. I picked the neighborhood because it is a nice neighborhood and picked the house because it needed alot of TLC and fit my needs. I like fixing up ugly things and making them beautiful again but for now I live in the worst house in a nice neighborhood. Do the neighbors pity me?

I drive a 12 year old Nissan Sentra. It has been a good car and has not caused me any problems. Most days it is just parked outside the house because I like to walk but I also like go go places when I walk so I walk to work, the grocery, the library pretty much anywhere I need to go is within walking distance. Is my kid ashamed of me for driving around in that old beater, can't I afford a nicer car?

Speaking of walking, when I go to the grocery store I have a little wagon I bring groceries home in. It is a nice collapsable cart/wagon but I wonder, do people think I walk to the store because I can't afford gas? or because I don't have a dirvers license (DUI or the like)?

I pay all my bills online and pay cash for most other things; what does that say about me? How many people pull out cash to pay for their groceries, gas, clothing etc... I don't suppose the envelopes help much with that impression. When being invited out with friends I sometimes get offers to pay for me because they assume I am broke.

I clothes shop mostly at the thrift store but all my clothes are nice and in good repair, no stains, tears or missing buttons. I have gotten compliments on some of my tops, all of which were bought at the thrift store. Except for the clerk at the store I guess nobody even knows about that particular lifestyle choice.

Now, I never really cared about what other people think except I have been trying to date again and most of the men I have been meeting are lower income. I wonder if this might be why? I live the way I do by choice. I am working on my house, I love my car, I like walking and I like my budget. But am I sending out the wrong signals?

7 Responses to “What does my lifestyle say about me?”

  1. Broken Arrow Says:

    I think it says "frugal"! Big Grin

    This one is kind of tricky... because we're SAers... and I think we live in a slightly different dimension than the general populace. So, while we here understand your intentions to be frugal, perhaps the Joneses (who are not frugal) may see you as "poor".

    Thing is though, I don't think the "poor" stigma affects women, certainly not as much as men does. I know it's a stereotype, but you know what they say about stereotypes always having a grain of truth: Men are judged by their income and women are judged by their looks.

    So, I don't think appearing to be "poor" would actually hold you back, nor do I think it correlates you to only attracting lower income men. My only guess is that it just happens to be the men you are currently bumping into right now....

  2. Ima saver Says:

    Well, I now that my dh and I have walked into banks to open accounts that require a high minimum ($50,000-$100,000) and have been told we can not open them, because the bank employees assumed we did not have enough money.

  3. ceejay74 Says:

    I can't see any reason that would have any effect on the income level of the men you meet. Maybe it's just coincidence like BA says. Unless you're picking much more economical venues in which to meet guys...that could make a difference.

    Then again, I can't see any reason for a man's income affecting whether or not you want to date him! Now how he uses the money, THAT would have an impact for me if I were still dating now that I'm "an SAer." :-) But if income of a mate IS important to you, I'd still keep going to your economical hangouts--you might meet a thrifty millionaire!

  4. davera Says:

    This is a great discussion of this very question today at J.D.'s blog, "Get Rich Slowly." His question pertains particularly to folks seeking to attract a relationship: "How do you maintain a frugal lifestyle without giving the impression you're cheap?"

    There were many responses from both men and women, very enlightening. Just click the link "25 comments on this item" at the end of his article.

  5. toyguy1963 Says:

    A lot of thoughts crossed my mind reading your blog.
    It was interesting.
    I don't think you are doing anything wrong being frugal and driving your older car, etc. But I did get maybe the wrong impression about your comment on dating lower income men. What's so horrible about a lower income man as long as he treats you decently and as long as he can pay his bills and so forth? Plus, just like some people may get the wrong impression about you because you are frugal, isn't it possible that you might have the wrong impression about some of these low earning men. They might be rich and just don't let everyone in on it.

    Hope I didn't offend you by my comments. Just was sharing my thoughts on what you wrote.

  6. Diolla Says:

    I didn't mean there was anything wrong with being low income. That said, we look at things differently. I am being careful with my money and more often than not they consider every dime made above living expenses a "windfall". They think since they don't have much to save there's no reason to even try.

    It is not the amount but the attitude and perspective. I don't have clue how much they earn until we have spent some time together and by then I usually can tell what the attitude is. They are not just 'putting it on' to impress me this is the way they live.

  7. fern Says:

    There is a difference between "being cheap" and "being frugal." Being cheap is being a tightwad about every last little thingto the point where it just takes the joy out of life.

    Being frugal is being sensible about money on everyday items, but also knowing when a splurge is in order.

    spending $ is all about exchanging the power of your dollars for a given benefit, and the trick is knowing when the value of the benefit is worth parting with the dollars.

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