I made a mistake today and I can admit it. Right now I’m in the market for a new car and I started shopping around. When I found and designed what I wanted I posted it to the “internets” and out came the hate. “You been talking frugality and not spending money and you are going to buy a $60,000 car?”.. is what he said. “Lease, not buy, brother”.. was my response. Either way, posting it to the “internets” goes against a principal I have learned to live by. That principal is, lay low.
That being said, my ONLY mistake was showing it off, NOT buying or looking to buy one. Why? Because living a good life is only foolish when you overdo it. That is a point that I want to drive home on my blog. On here we talk A LOT about not spending money, not being wasteful, stashing and saving and stashing some more. Unfortunately, people, being the binary beings that we are, took that as never spend money and never enjoy life. That wasn’t what I was saying.
Where did this idea come from?
This is a principal that I pulled from probably the top five books I have ever read The Jewish Phenomenon. The principal states that you have to be prudently frugal and selectively extravagant. Here are some of my favorite quotes from that chapter for context:
- To accumulate wealth, you have to learn how to save and how to spend wisely.
- Jewish spending habits can be described as a balance of selective extravagance and prudent frugality.
- The common Jewish sentiment is that “I do not like to throw money away but when something is important to me I want the best”.
Saving was not and end to itself but rather a means to an end: to go into business for oneself or to enable ones children to go into business or enter a profession
- Everyday frugality can have a profound long term impact.
- For Jews, money is a tool for survival. Without money Jews view themselves as naked to their enemies.
- First comes education then comes money then comes material things.
What does it mean to be selectively extravagant?
When I speak on frugality I speak on not spending money wastefully. If you have a pair of Gucci shoes, you don’t need more. If you have a Rolex, you don’t need more. This wasteful spending is what keeps us chasing the new hotness and forever being broke as more new hotness replaces the now old hotness. Being prudently extravagant will kill you financially. I watched it happen to my father.
Selectively extravagant means that since it is Easter I can take my wife to Fleming’s. Being ignorantly extravagant is adopting Fleming’s as the lifestyle. See the difference? The thing is that selective requires contentment. You can have nice things just know that it will soon become the old model. If you care about the quality you shouldn’t care if its the new model. This speaks to seeking admiration via luxury items that we spoke to in an earlier blog post.
It’s one thing to buy a quality purse or shoes, its another to adopt it as the lifestyle “all Gucci everything”. This is what I meant when I responded to the Rick Ross tweet about Gucci shoes. He already has a million pairs, chill brother, you don’t need anymore, I don’t care how many jobs you put in the hood.
Another example is the vacation culture on the gram. It’s one thing to take a vacation, its another to “stay trippin”… Unfortunately, the high that people chase via consumption or trips usually goes away soon after they get back from the trip. There are studies that show that after you buy or fly away you soon go back to the same feeling of emptiness you had before the trip. This is why people plan the next trip on the flight back from the current trip. This is why you can’t stop buying. The feeling is always fleeting.
Prudently frugal means?
Prudently frugal means that you live lean, a way that I have learned to live so that you can afford to enjoy nice things on occasion but more importantly you can afford to stash money for the big play and for protection. Prudently frugal means wearing that nice outfit you already have instead of spending $200 on a new fit just to impress the Easter haters and one uppers.
Where we struggle is in rising our lifestyle to the level of our income. This creates a lifestyle where we are prudently extravagant and only frugal when its impressed upon us. To each his own but I choose to live at the bottom of my means while enjoying a few nice things, selectively.
I have to stop sharing so much
The problem with oversharing is that people hear you talk but they don’t know the foundation upon which you speak. People hear you talk but they haven’t read the ten books that are the foundation upon which you talk. For example, people hear “don’t spend money” and they interpret it as “don’t enjoy life, don’t ever buy anything”. No, there are things I value that I will put money into and then things that I know I can sacrifice in. For me, that is clothes, entertainment, bottle service, sneakers, jewelry, however, I like cars. I am sure if you look at your life you can find similar areas.
So don’t worry about what car I buy man. Dame Dash would not approve of you counting someone’s pockets brother. That’s not what we do in Harlem. Just know that I operate from a place of principles and instead of jumping down my throat telling me what I said, ask why I chose to do what I did. It will help you learn as opposed to merely making assumptions. I can’t believe I even responded to that anon.
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Be great, invest well,