MISS MOOX + vintage


There's no doubt that our culture is a consumer culture. With the wide variety of goods available, and greater amount of money to spend at leisure and on non-necessities, young singles like me with greater stretch in their spending power particularly tend to drop a lot of cash.

It surprises me how often my, and our, activities revolve around purchasing. Get bored: spend an hour or so at the mall, and end up buying some item of clothing you neither need nor really want. Go out with friends: drinks or a meal plus tip and you've just spent times what you would if you made it at home. A movie will cost you 6 bucks minimum, and that latte you crave, more than four dollars for twenty minutes' caffeinated pleasure. See an ad, and you're subtly but powerfully convinced, especially as you think about it, that you have a new "need" you never realized before.

Marketing, and our culture, focuses on creating a want and then compelling you to spend your money to satisfy that want. Whether it's a specified product or just a general attempt to fill some psychological need with the latest techy toy or newest shoes, we always seem to feel we need more.

Of course, I would say it's more than simply cultural: it's a product of human nature. "The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life", as an older translation of the Bible puts it, is still alive.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as a spending freeze forced on me by current joblessness and the expenses of Christmas has kept me from spending anything but the bare minimum. It's made me realize how much I carelessly drop a few dollars here, several dollars there: and how many of my daily activities revolve around money. I tend to spend as much as I have. That is to say, if I have money in the bank I don't see any problem with a mocha latte, or a gratuitous trip to Goodwill to find some funky vintage clothing; but the truth is that I have no savings account and many of my purchases are impulsive, ill-thought-out, and completely unecessary.

Much of the time I feel vaguely guilty when I spend, but can often rationally justify it. It wasn't really that much, I do deserve a few pleasures, I'm generous to others, and so on. But in reality, when the rubber meets the road and I'm jobless and penniless, were any of those purchases greater value than a fuller bank account now would be? Did they demonstrate foresight, or simply living for the moment?

I don't have any real answer; I'm rambling, simply because it's a problem I'm facing and I'm not sure of the answer. It can't be simply an ascetic avoidance of all purchases and a fanatical counting of every penny; but at the same time, I recognize a need for more discipline and restraint than I've hitherto exercised. What the answer will be, I'm not sure. I'm as much in need of grace with this as with anything.

art, Christmas, clothing, inspiration, life, money, movie, road, time, and more:

Relevant to: Spending + vintage