I went shopping for a purse last week. My first mistake was to even set foot inside the Coach store. Oh they had purses, alright. Lots of them. And they were made with excellent craftsmanship. And there were about 4 clerks for every shopper, falling over each other to curry your favor. Wow.
The bags were on sale, most of them. "Only $300" on this group, and "30% off!" (off of what?) on another, and so on. I did find a few I liked. The one that was most exactly what I was looking for was a tiny little thing with an over-body strap and (sigh!) a dog leash clip and yet still came in at almost $70. Ouch.
It didn't pass the hungry baby test. (How many hungry babies could I feed for $70?) Or, as my mom was fond of saying, "Quid ad aeternitatem?" (What does this have to do with eternity?) It's not that this was the most expensive bag in the world, nor even of the whole store. It was really quite economical in Coach terms.
Even so, I have to put purchases in the context of wealth vs. status. Wealth (property, investments, etc.) provides for our future. Status drains our wealth and compromises our future. Status might make us look and feel important (until the next newest biggest best fashionable thing comes along...) but it does not sustain happiness nor security for the long term.
I ended up buying a Kim Rogers purse at Belk. With a sale and a coupon, I spent less than $20, and the purse does everything I need it to do, except make me "look" important. And that's ok, because I have a future. I have wealth.
What status-seeking (and wealth-compromising) behaviors will you forgo today?