Don’t be Embarrassed to Save Money

Thorstein_VeblenThorstein Veblen was an economist and sociologist who coined the term “conspicuous consumption” several decades ago.  Conspicuous consumption: spending money just to publicly demonstrate wealth or status.  The flip-side of that, I guess, is being embarrassed to appear as if you don’t have money to spend.  Logically, it seems ridiculous — especially to anyone trying to save and invest from an ordinary income.  But I can tell you, it affects me and perhaps many other people.

I can remember, at times, feeling just a tinge of embarrassment as I sat down in the workplace cafeteria and was getting ready to eat the lunch I brought from home.  In fact, there were times when I ate my lunch at my desk instead of going to the cafeteria and letting everyone see that my lunch consisted only of a couple hard-boiled eggs or sardines, crackers, and a flask of homemade iced tea.

Can you imagine that?  What was I afraid of?  That my friends, people I have known for years, might make some comment about my what I was eating for lunch?  How absurd is that?

Luckily, one day when I was getting ready to have my lunch at my desk, I suddenly came to my senses and said to myself:  Stop being stupid.  No one cares what you eat for lunch.

I went downstairs to the cafeteria, sat with the regulars, and had a perfectly normal, enjoyable lunch.  No one said anything about my meager fare.

There’s a lesson in that.


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