I have come to the conclusion that most of the savings advice I get from the bank or from the people who
laugh at service my 401(k) is just barely above the level of concern trolling.
Nor am I alone in this conclusion:
I get economizing. I was taking my lunch to work loooooong before “The New Frugality.” (Though in my case, it was more a combo platter of “ugh, I hate fast food” / “I’d rather use that time to sit at my desk and surf Ravelry while I eat” / “I have some very specific health and dietary concerns that are better served by my having strict controls on what goes into my food”.) But the endless drumbeat of having fewer and fewer little pleasures in life to save all your money for some nebulous future-time … no.
What’s more, it gets worse the farther down the income ladder you go:
Also, something I read recently that struck me: some of the “Why don’t ‘poor folks’ save more money? Why do they spend their money on junk like lottery tickets and fast food and cigarettes?” is answerable by the fact that people who live in an uncertain and insecure world, who have always only known budget insecurity, are less prone to planning for a future that may never arrive — that people live in the moment because the future is hard to imagine, or something. And I can kind of see that. I think a similar thing was in play when someone I know who worked for a doctor’s office said that shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, they saw LOTS of people going off of diets (whether weight-loss or things like low-salt) because they figured, “The world’s ending, so what does it matter now?”
There’s a meme which obliquely addresses the “Why don’t” types: “Explain, then, why a burger is $1 and a salad is $7.”
And it goes even farther:
There are people like that: “Oh, spending on and having EXPERIENCES is great and wonderful and enriches your life! But spending on THINGS is a waste and just ties you more to material possessions.”
I have to wonder if any of them ever bought, say, a book.