About a hop, jump and a skip away from our studio apartment is the largest outdoor shopping mall in the world: The Ala Moana Center. Jason and I hardly shop here, as it is filled with stores such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Anthropologie, and basically every single high-end name brand store you could possibly think of. Really, the only time we go to the mall is to peruse through Big Island Candies and enjoy the delicious samples of high-end chocolate and shortbread cookies.
Last week, our friend Meg was visiting from Boston. Meg thought it would be fun to go to all of these high-end stores just to look around and see what they are all about. I hadn’t checked them out at all since we moved here, so off we went.
At first, we walked into moderately high-end stores, like Express and Ann Taylor. I absolutely love the dresses at Express, as well as basically everything else in the store too. Of course, I hate the price tags in there, so I only ever shop the 50% off selection and only for very special occasions.
Unfortunately, there were no big sales the day Meg and I went shopping, so I did not buy any of the cute dresses that I tried on. I loved everything that I tried on, and I was starting to envy the people who were making purchases in this store. Meg had a great quote that we shared a laugh over: “We have great style, we just can’t afford it.”
After we finished playing around in Express and Ann Taylor, we moved on to the higher end stores. Louis Vuitton was our next destination.
There in Louis Vuitton, we did not have the same envious feeling as we did in Express and Ann Taylor. $3,000 for a handbag. WHAT?!! I would buy a nice used vehicle with that money! Or significantly reduce my student loan debt! Or, if I really needed a handbag, I could find a much more practical one at a discount store for $10 and do something much more useful with the other $2,990! –Nerdy thoughts, I know, but for real. $3,000 for a handbag is completely outrageous.
It was hard for me to believe that people could spend so much money on materialistic items merely for the sake of owning a name brand. I tried on a pair of very simple flip flop sandals at one of these stores that went for $300…and they were as hard as a rock! They were the most uncomfortable pair of flip flops I have ever put on my feet in my entire life. What a waste of money when so many better options are available at a much lower price.
I started to look around at the people shopping in these stores. Many of them were wearing articles of clothing and accessories from these high-end stores. From designer shoes to fancy accessories, so many people were completely decked out in attire that could easily be valued at more than my vehicle (granted I drive a moped, but still!).
My feelings of envy had completely faded at this point. These people had been completely fooled by the marketing industry, and were in over their heads in the consumer world. These people most likely have high incomes, but they probably do not have much in savings and investments. How could you possibly save and invest while simultaneously throwing buckets of cash away at stores like these? Chances are, if these people care so much about their appearance to shop at Louis Vuitton and its close rivals, they probably care about boosting their status appearance and demonstrate this through their vehicle choice, house choice, etc, and throw their cash carelessly into these revenues as well.
Many people love the idea of becoming rich. However, the concept of “rich” can vary greatly from one person’s view to the next. If you want to be rich like we do, then you think of being rich as having a lot of money in savings and investments, and being rewarded with the lifestyle of living well below your means for the reward of financial independence. Another more common view of being rich means buying fancy cars and living in a giant mansion—but this kind of rich is just materialistic rich. This definition means rich with things, but not rich with money (because most of it gets spent). Let’s keep one thing straight: you can’t retire early and keep up with thousands and thousands of dollars of payments each month that come with this kind of “rich” lifestyle.
My feelings of envy faded because this is not lifestyle that I want for myself. It will not allow me to reach my goals. Having a fancy handbag will not make me happier than being financially independent and living my life the way I chose with my friends and family close by. Decide what kind of rich you want to be. If you want to be my idea of rich, this blog can help you out immensely. If you want to be materialistically rich, this site isn’t going to help you out at all. If you want to be materialistic rich, you better head down to Louis Vuitton right now, because those handbags are waiting for you to make a purchase!