Like any other kind of power, it is addicting and very much pleasurable. People do tend to abuse it sometimes, though it could also be used wisely and for a greater good. I first heard this power on my economics subject. It is every consumer’s power, our purchasing power. It is defined as consumers’ ability to purchase merchandise or services, usually determined by income earned through employment, investment, business or luck like inheritance. The less dough you’ve got the less power you can exercise. You can be an impulsive buyer or a supah-shopaholic resulting to abuse of your power or you can be a wise spender and once in a while do some charities. It’s a power that is mostly under our own control.
I’ve had this power in almost all possible phases:
“ZERO” – simply put, you got no money to spend. You ask for it, most of the times from your parents whenever you’ll buy something (especially when we’re just kids). Or you’re jobless with no emergency fund and have become a bum for quite a while. =) When you’re a freeloader, then you have no P power, or at least, it has been put on hold, at rest but soon it can be recovered and regained, depending on you. It’s a power withheld by you and only you can reclaim it.
“LIMITED EDITION” – school days. It’s your allowance, say within a week. You got to live with it no matter what. My money as a student usually goes to fare, food, paper, internet rentals, photocopying, and food again. =) Any surplus? I just stash away for rainy days! Students have rainy days too ya know. For example, a friend’s birthday, a museum visit, a must-see movie or a must-buy something (gift or reward to oneself) and an extra fare during rainy days.
“IDLE / WAY OVER TOO TIGHT” – On my first year of work which I did not enjoy that much, I deprived myself of spending such “hard-earned” salary, to the point of not using any of it to enjoy & pamper myself. I didn’t want to buy anything back then, especially for myself. I over saved? I didn’t enjoy my earnings, by choice, so what happened? I burned out, stressed myself out. If you must know, I have used up my savings after going jobless for 3 moths, after that ever tiring the first job.
Another indicator that you are in this phase is when relationship problems start to boom. Unreasonable thriftiness – some friends won’t like this, especially when trying to have some fun. You’re the big KJ – no sense of fun whatsoever. Spouses and children won’t like it either. The basic concept, you can’t take your money to your graves man! Remember, I’m talking ‘bout consistent, recurring, habitual “unreasonable” frugality as the problem. Prudence itself is not, it’s actually a good attitude to be prudent (for rainy days especially).
“ABUSIVE” – big time spender! Payday? – withdraw, hit the mall, spend half of it all, almost a routine.
Taking shopping therapy as an excuse for spending and swiping all those cards. Proudly claiming to be a shopaholic and a SALE guru. Abusing your purchasing power means spending beyond your means, endless non-sense spending, tirelessly swiping cards, countless impulse buying, no personal accounting and NO SAVINGS ACCOUNT, or if there’s any, NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES for a SIGNIFICANT period of time. Bonuses, incentives are nothing but a ghost story. You forgot you exchanged your time, effort and talent for the money that you are giving away.
Been guilty of this stage, it just felt so good to buy something new for myself. I always reason out that I worked for the money anyway. Oh well, been there but not for so Long, just enough to share with anyone that I’m someone who’s been there & learned her lessons well. Maybe not in terms of terrifying debts but in the discovery that spending selfishly and unwisely did not make me genuinely and longer than 1 week happy. There’s a lot more things in which I could use my money that would’ve made my happiness lasts Longer, much longer to tag it as real and valid.
“UNDER CONTROL” – a peaceful phase I must say. No huge credit card debts. Enough savings for any surprise emergencies. Owning things you need, you use, you wanted and love and you remember buying! Whenever I’m confused whether to spend or not, I ask myself, how many of my hours or days, effort and talent would it take before I can buy it? If that’s still worth it, I’ll happily buy it. Instead of thinking in monetary terms, I first convert the money I ought to spend into something intangible and irreplaceable of me (time, effort and talent). That way, I am able to use my P power reasonably. Since then, the power within me has been totally under my control.
How about you? How’s your power handling? =) I do hope that you are still in full control of it. Recession or not it’s nice to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own spending!
“Losing control of the power within you is too dangerous, not just to your surroundings but most especially to yourself. A power on the loose can be destructive, self-destructive.