I don’t watch a lot of free-to-air TV these days, but the box happened to be on a couple of nights ago and I noticed a show called Britain’s Spending Secrets.
According to the host, Anne Robinson, people’s spending, “reflects who they are as well as who they want to be”.
She interviewed a range of people, including a single mum on benefits, who was on the verge of eviction because of her taste for expensive home appliances and brand-name groceries.
Another family, earning 100,000 pounds a year, chose to spend most of their income on home entertainment, gadgets, and Starbucks coffee.
Others showed a far more frugal approach to life – buying second-hand furniture and clothing, cut-price groceries, and making their own, or just making do.
People’s spending reflects who they are as well as who they want to be.
One of the key hooks of the show is that people absolutely love to judge others’ spending habits. Our spending reveals so much about who we are and what we value.
As Anne says, “it exposes so much about what lies at the heart of us“.
For a long time, my spending centred on keeping up appearances. Driven by the need to show the world I was on the way up, I overspent on clothes, shoes, handbags, furniture and homewares. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t buying Prada or Yves Saint Laurent, but I was trying to compensate for something I felt was lacking – confidence maybe? I didn’t get a good feeling when I handed over my credit card, I got that – oh sh%t, I’ve done it again, sinking feeling… Like it was a dirty little secret.
One thing I learned from that TV show is spending habits (and secrets) are as individual as we are. But when I look back at my life when I’m 80 years old, I won’t remember the shoes, bags, fridge or lounge suite I had when I was in my 20s and 30s. I’m going to remember the relationships, the holidays, the experiences.
That is what I want to lie at the heart of me. Not Starbucks coffee, shoes, and a lack of confidence to face the world just as I am.
What lies at the heart of you?
P.S. I wrote a bit more about shopping and spending habits in this post: How shopping can be more dangerous than dating Taylor Swift.