Hey Skint pals,
Hope you’re all doing well. I had an interesting conversation with some folks in my street the other day about house prices. Yes, one of those. You know how you can live in the same street as your neighbours for years without ever knowing what they paid for their house? Which is just as well really, since you’d be spitting blood if you discovered that they paid half what you did . . .
Anyway, when I bumped into this couple they were just going out to celebrate having paid off their mortgage. And because they’re so much older than me and have lived in the street for a long time I didn’t mind hearing that they bought their place for less than 30% of what we paid. Thirty percent!! Of course, I’m jealous as hell, but still, congrats to them for being smart/lucky enough to buy a family home before the boom.
What I found most interesting about our chat though was how proud they were to talk about how little they’d paid for their place. It got me wondering – why do we love to brag about bargains so much?
Seems to me there’s a real contradiction between the pride we taking in snagging a bargain and our need to keep up with the Joneses. Why, if we’re so very concerned about keeping up with those Joneses, so keen to show we’re doing well, do we still prefer to brag about a bargain than our wealth?
Maybe it’s because bragging about a bargain is a great leveller, whereas bragging about wealth is just unseemly. You can’t talk about buying antiques without sounding ever so slightly pretentious, but if you brag about just snagging a great furniture find from the street that’s fine, because anyone can do it. When it comes to snagging bargains, skill and luck are the most important two possessions, not money.
I have probably bragged about my gorgeous $2/£1 Pucci dress to the point of tedium. But I do it because I’m a tad evangelical about the joys of vintage shopping, especially at markets, and my bargain Pucci dress is a perfect example of how keeping an eye out for a bargain can pay off big time. I’d never have shared the price with others though if I’d bought it new.
Hard Times = Better Bargain Bragging
I’m guessing that the recession has made it more okay than ever to boast about getting a good deal, and less tasteful to tell people when you’ve just spent a fortune on fripperies. Of course, that’s only in the Skint circles I move in. I’m wondering if, amongst the super-rich, bragging about bargains is still shameful, still totally off-limits. Does one brag about using a promotional code to get free delivery on their super-yacht? Any billionaires reading this, I’d love to know. . .
Snagging a bargain is definitely better for mental health too: I recently came across a poll commissioned by www.Offeroftheday.co.uk, which asked respondents how they tended to feel when they’d managed to find a bargain. The most common response was ‘extreme happiness’ with 49% of the vote. However, when asked how they tended to feel when they’d bought something expensive, the most common answer, with 57% of the vote, was ‘extreme guilt’.
So, what more excuse do you need, Skint pals? Time to brag about your bargains! Tell us, what’s your best one ever? Brag away!!
And would you ever brag about an expensive purchase? Even in that sneaky ‘Sssh, don’t tell anyone. It nearly broke me but I couldn’t resist’-way? Go on, you can tell us!
PS – I’ll be away a bit in July and I’m looking at lining up a couple of guest post for while I’m gone. So if you’re a personal finance or lifestyle blogger and fancy writing a guest post on Skint in the City, drop me an email with a note of what you’d like to write, and we can take it from there . . .