When does it pay to NOT have nice things? We always hear people saying, “Don’t buy Starbucks, make your coffee at home instead.” But that isn’t the problem I see when working with people on their finances. It’s the large fixed expenses with binding contracts that hurt people the most.
For example, the county I live in has an almost 4% personal property tax on the assessed value of your car. You’re literally paying a higher tax each year just because you have something nicer than your neighbor (not to mention the higher maintenance costs associated with a Range Rover compared to a Toyota). Congratulations to you.
Larger/nicer homes come with higher heating/cooling bills, more costly/frequent repairs, and more expensive/time consuming maintenance.
Then you have your Gucci purse or Rolex watch that will ruin your entire month if it gets scuff. Think about all the mental capital associated with those items compared to a purse or watch you throw around without care.
Don’t get me wrong, buying nicer things over cheap things can be better in the long run. For the price of replacing that cheap item you’re better off with the premium one. But there is a fine line and most mid-tier items will do the job for most of you out there. There are also people who care immensely about their home and want to splurge because they spend a lot of time there. And just the opposite are the people who are on the road or spend a lot more time in their car so they splurge there. But each person needs to assess these tradeoffs. You can have anything, you (probably) just can’t have everything.
If you have the funds – splurge on that car. If you have the mental capital to not care – scuff that watch or purse. If you want to grow your wealth more intentionally – think about your wants vs needs and what truly drives your happiness.