I learned a very important lesson while in high school. I come from a middle class family who seen its ups and downs financially. I played tennis and because I played tennis I ended up transferring to high school that would give me a better chance of getting a college scholarship. The high school I was supposed to go to was filled with students from low to middle income families, but this new school had students from low to super high income families. The crazy part is that I could not tell which students came from upper income families. Why you ask? Well that is where the lesson comes in.
The students who had wealthy parents did not flash the money their parents had. They dressed in cargo shorts with holes in them. Wore flip flops that were worn out. Wore regular t-shirts that were really plain. The cars they drove were over ten years old and made noises that help you know they were coming down the street. Everything about these students said "I am just trying to survive." LOL. One day I found out that I was being tricked and these students had parents with a lot of money, but they spent their money differently. I had to do a project about the 1920's with a group of girls in the eleventh grade. We decided to be different and do a video for our project, but we needed somewhere to film. One of the girls suggested we meet at her house after school. We followed her in her old car to her house and when we arrived it was a mansion! Come to find out she was the daughter of one of the president's of a local private college! The house was the largest home I had ever step foot in and it changed my outlook on money while I was in high school. After that day I started seeing the real wealth of other students at the school and how you would never know it unless you went to their house. My mentality with money stayed on the right path because of this experience until I went to college.
When I went to college everything switched. I went from not caring about name brands in high school to feeling that I needed to have names on my clothes from top to bottom. The atmosphere in college was one where your worth and importance was determined by the kind of clothes you wore. It didn't matter that your parent's home was a mansion, if you did not dress like you walked out of that mansion then you didn't exist. I became a victim of this mentality even though my parents had no more money during my time in college than they did when I was in high school. In fact my dad had died the summer before I started college so now it was a one income household.
No one cared about that. All they cared about was how I looked and I made sure I didn't disappoint them. I searched discount outlets near and far and bought as many name brand clothing as I possibly could. Not because I really like the clothes, but because I cared about what people on campus thought of me. I completely forgot about those wealthy high school kids that dressed like they slept in their clothes the night before. I was deep into keeping up with the joneses and for four years of college and to be honest a couple of years after I spent a lot of money for the compliments of those around me. Not one time did I ask myself "why do I even care?"
As I look back I wasted a lot of money just to hear people say " I see you!" For them to say "is that Coach?" I loved to see the look of amazement in their eyes. I completely forgot about the money lesson I learned in high school. The lesson that those wealthy people didn't care about name brands because their mutual funds were making money off those brands not the other way around. They didn't care about new cars because they understood that cars depreciate and they only pay for things that make them money. They didn't care about impressing you because they didn't get to where they were financially by trying to impress those around them.
Think about what you are spending your money on and why? Do you say that you are buying a high price item for yourself to feel good, but yet when someone compliments you on that item your happiness goes up a thousand percent? Would you be fine shopping at Goodwill or being the one that brings a modest gift to a kid's birthday party. When you get to a point that you don't care what other people think you will be able to pay off debt. You will be able to save large amounts of money. You will be able to pay your student loans off. You will be able to travel wherever and whenever. You will be able to start that business. You will be able to leave that job you hate. You will be able to do what you want!
Being $50,000 in debt will change your perspective. When your back is against the wall financially you can care less about what people think because it is about survival. I am free from that thinking I had in college and now I know it has freed me up to live the life that I really want.
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