Earlier this week Ninja over at Punch Debt in the Face wrote a post in which he wondered about how car dealers stay in business. He just couldn’t believe that so many people are buying new cars that so many car dealerships could stay in business. I completely understood his point. How could so many people be buying new cars when they are basically the opposite of an investment – they depreciate at the speed of light! Obviously, everyone buys reliable used cars that they drive into the ground, right?!
Wrong, of course. Wrong, wrong, wrong. While his post made sense to me, I’m sure it wouldn’t resonate with most of the outside world. As PF bloggers who live in a world consumed by talk of Roth IRAs, emergency funds, and Dave Ramsey, I think we all sometimes forget that most people don’t live like us. Most people think that debt is normal (and I guess if you define “normal” as “extremely common” it is), buying a new car is ideal, and that saving is something they’ll get around to later.
Another example: HS over at Our Debt Blog gets ripped to pieces by commenters when he overspends. He makes statements frequently about how he feels like he doesn’t spend any more than those in his social circle. But that’s the thing: I’m sure his spending is in line with his friends and family, but when he discusses it with the PF world it seems outrageous, hence the nasty comments he gets. Again, most people don’t live like PF bloggers and he (like all of us) is straddling both worlds.
I think this is important to remember because I sometimes find myself becoming overly critical of how others are spending their money. Like, I have a friend who I know is steeped in credit card debt but continues to eat out several times a week. I cringe sometimes when she talks about a new restaurant she tried last weekend, but I shouldn’t. It’s her life to live, her money to spend. I have to remind myself (again) that most people don’t live like PF bloggers.
Do you ever find yourself judging the spending habits of others? If so, does it bother you that you do so? How do you try to cope with it?