Stretching the Buck

Those of us of the working middle class are likely to know the difference between living richly as opposed to living day to day. Those who are keen on stretching the buck and making sure all ends are met are in a sense living richly compared to those one day millionaires who must wait for payday to get something going. In this day and age of vain consumerism influenced by that capitalistic theory of putting more money into people’s pockets to encourage spending to supposedly invigorate the economy, many people are in danger of overextending themselves to that addiction called acquisitiveness. Why do we acquire so many things? They say that more than fulfilling need, people acquire things for bragging rights and showing off to their peers. It then follows that the more friends and kin you have to brag to , the more likely you’d acquire things left and right and bury yourself in debt. A loner who has no friends and immediate family and lives alone would have less compulsion to acquire things because he does not have anyone to compete with. Other than our human frailty, banks and credit card companies are the main culprits, the pied pipers of doom, luring people into the buying binge, burying them in debt. They are vultures that won’t stop biting until you’re down to the bare bones. If you happen to max out your credit card limit in a large casino in Vegas, you can go to the casino back office and have your credit limit extended for a few more hundred bucks so you can continue playing. I’m not clear on how it works but someone is calling the risk for the extended credit and making money on the ludicrous interest charge. Call that bleeding you out until you run dry.

If there are spendthrifts, there are also misers. The misers are easy to spot and they come in different shapes and sizes. There are people who stretch the buck because they don’t have much and I have nothing against people who tighten up on spending to put their finances in order. There are those dyed-in-the-wool cheapskates who would stretch the buck until it rips. They just don’t fancy spending for things, not if they don’t have a discount coupon or the item is on red tag sale. They would walk miles to avoid paying parking fees. And there are those who can afford the finer things in life but choose to tighten up on the money and run around to freeload on friends or family for that matter. One wonders if these people are not only mired in the business of stretching the buck but in the game of one-upmanship as well. They always play to be materially ahead in the game. These are the bunch who would show up at a potluck party with dish cooked out of stiff, freezer-burned meat from the deepest part of the ice chest, stuff that’s earmarked for the garbage can. Not only that, if they are a party of four they make sure they bring food good for two people. Have you ever seen people who are deft at putting someone in a spot, shamelessly asking for things or favors that would put one in an awkward position to refuse? What’s up with this kind of attitude? In times of plenty, why would one behave in such an irritating manner? Why must one look at the world strictly in terms of losing and gaining material things? Beats me!

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14 Responses

  1. it pays to watch out for the expenses, and quit the unnecessary ones.

    parasites do that – taking advantage of someone else’s bounty.

  2. Bing, there are those who can afford but have the nasty habit of taking advantage of people’s friendship. I think it is extreme selfishness.

  3. Those people are the worst.They feel that they deserve to be treated fairly but themselves aren’t too keen on sharing.

    Reminds me of someone I know from college who loves to have people help him, but refuses to lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed. He even brags about it! What an A-hole! πŸ˜€

    As for overspending, yeah, blame it on those credit card companies who come up with slick ads to lure people into debt.

  4. I know someone who bought this expensive car even though she could barely afford it. She’d rather work long hours than spend more time with the family just to be able to make the monthly payments.

    I just watched this Dr. Phil show today where there was this woman who is deep in debt and now buys everything with her credit card. Dr. Phil explained that if you are paying only the minimum payments on your credit card, you will end up paying 5 times over of what you would have paid for the same items if you paid in cash. For example, an $83 sweater would cost you about $500 by the time you paid it off. Pretty shocking, eh?

  5. Sngl – not keen on sharing; that’s the bottom line – selfishness

    Niceheart – ultimately paying $500 for a $83 sweater – that’s more than enough incentive for anyone to stretch the buck smartly!

  6. omg, how funny is this post?!!! I am very aware of those parasitic types!

  7. Getting rich is not the be-all and end-all in life. ENJOYING life is. That’s why I don’t see the point of hoarding money and not living life to the fullest. A miser leads a pauper’s life and ends up giving his/her money to uncaring relatives or to government, worse to a cat (I heard this story before). Isn’t this sad?

  8. Irrealis – the parasitic type might be suffering from psychological disorder for all we know. Pinoys are generally very gracious though and are always willing to return the favor when you give them something and it doesnt matter what economic bracket they belong to.

    Abaniko – true indeed.. Spendthrifts and hoarders are in fact lumped together by scripture as abominable and sinful. I would temper living life to the fullest with the virtue contentment to set it apart from self-indulgence and extravagance. When u think of people leaving their estate to their cats and dogs or the probate court to decide who gets what, it makes you wonder why people amass such wealth and leave it up for grabs?

  9. At times I believe that nowadays, humans are somehow being hypnotized by the bombardment of commercialism. Everywhere you go–on TV, radio, the newspaper, the net..even while you are just walking on the street—our eyes are injected with ads and billboards that say “BUY!!!” or “SPEND!!!”. Maybe, its time we re-educate ourselves and we must learn that we don’t always have to buy all the time…

  10. True Major Tom, re-education is key. Some companies in North America are offering financial counseling as part of their employee services. Mostly consuting companies are hired to perform this function. It makes a lot of sense because the well being of the employee has direct impact on his productivity.

  11. Hi, Chuckie, er, BW! πŸ™‚

    Here’s my personal spending rule: Live WITHIN your means.

    As for credit cards, I never did like them. I always paid in cash while I was still in RP. But now that I need to buy some English books and software online, I have no choice but to use my VISA card. But I always make it a point that every purchase is necessary and within the budget.

    There will always be thick-skinned ‘parasites’ around us.

    Happy weekend!

  12. Hi there sis. I like that rule. In fact if we must change oir lifestyle to live within our means we should do it. Unfortunately the passion for acquisitiveness encourages us to live beyond our means and you can throw in that unholy collusion with the banks and credit card companies who are always insisting that you borrow money to make your credit look good.

    Havent been blogging lately as I was out of town doing a project in la belle province – Quebec. It’s always refreshing to go somewhere where culture and language are different. I feel more encouraged to learn French esp when you are doing work or business in Quebec.

    Have a nice weekend too.

  13. BW, study French na! Tapos, practise tayo online, hehe. It seems I’ve forgotten my French na. 😦 When I went to France two weekends ago, I had a hard time talking to two French girls whom I saw on top of a snow hill. Pero they said my French was okay naman. I think they were just being nice. πŸ™‚

    Have a nice week! Blog on!

  14. BW, update! update! πŸ˜€

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