By Tinky Ningombam
I am tired of reading about really rich people telling you how to save up. It is sad and superficial as listening to rich parents telling poor couples how to raise their kids properly. Because most of the times, it normally turns out that the free advice comes from people who have accumulated mass wealth through powers that be. And quite frequently from the capitalist class, who in reality leaves no stone un-turn to get the money out of your pockets in more ways that man can devise.
I am not a Thrifter myself, I like money. But I like money because it gives me freedom to sustain myself and not because I want to live a life dictated by what others want my life to look like. But increasingly that is what is seen nowadays. We are constantly trying to copy lives shown on TV and mint out replicas of a perfect expensive lifestyle.
I will not for the sake of argument refer to myself as one of the mango people, because obviously the common man in our economy is poor and basically a hand to mouth earner. And as much as earning money gets harder in today’s time, it is as much easier to find avenues to spend. Normal people like me spend more than 80% of our income on education, food, rent and commercial brands with more taxes than the days of yore. Which economists say is good free flow of cash but well it makes life tougher for us to keep up.
And in today’s world, it is harder not to spend more than you have. That’s the era of consumerism for you.
A wise woman (I am pretty sure she is) once wrote on an internet meme that “The best way to double your money is by folding it in half and keeping it inside your pocket.” Well if only we could let that thought win.
And mark my words, even Richie Rich will not be satisfied by having all the money in the world. Even God needs money if you think about it. Which brings to mind of the impending question of why we offer money to a non-human entity? Even if we assume that we are giving up something that is valuable to us to God as a proof of renouncing symbolic wealth, why would we let money rot in a storage box because it was offered to God? I would rather feed a homeless person with the money than keep it in box, don’t you think? Won’t God be happier in that self-less deed? Just food for thought, we will deal with that complication later.
Coming back to the topic in hand, we are always bound by temptations to spend on materialistic desires and it is not going to stop. Human want is limitless. We pay to be alive, we pay for our health, we pay for our work, we pay for our death. And we cannot escape the human tendency to want more if we can pay for it. And how do we earn the money back? At the cost of an unstable economy, depleting resources, child labor, human atrocities, health risks? We seldom care how our money is spent?
I personally struggle every day not to spend money on useless things but I cannot avoid it. And it gets too hard for me to keep up to a lifestyle that modern consumerism tells me is cool. From buying new gadgets to spending on exclusive products, we find ourselves constantly wanting something better, trendier, cooler. I believe everyone tries to go through a pro-frugal stage, and anti-capitalist mode where we would suddenly denounce brands for flea markets and buy cheaper phones rather than them smarts. But mass media is seldom on your side, exchange of money thrives the economy they say, we have to spend more to earn more they say, we have to create better things for human comfort they say. But I say, it doesn’t come cheap. And it won’t come cheap. And when it does, we would be too cool for it.
A lot of people blame it on the government but I wouldn’t take such a simple answer. I blame it on us. We made the cost of living higher, we created class, we manufactured the imbalance in economy. Recently, I saw a feed on my social profile and it was about how so much of our money is flowing out more to other countries because of more expensive products just because we pick a fancier brand name. Common things like vegetables, salt, toothpaste or clothes and household items, things that we are able to manufacture here and are pretty much the same; and yet we pay a higher sum on import taxes to buy them.
I think little things like this will help bring people to perspective. And saving up for a better day is much easier when we can spend less on things that we truly do not need. Maybe been frugal is not bad for us after all.