I have a couple more items that I know that you probably already spend a significant amount of money on and that I didn’t want to point out earlier because I know you’re going to yell at me. But, dagnabbit, these items are WANTS and you really have to think hard if they are worth the money you spend on them. It’s probably better to ponder this and make a decision before you buy them because it will be impossible to give up once acquired. Damn you, feelings and emotions!
Diamond engagement rings
I’m not married. I’ve never been married. I’ve never even been close to the concept of being married, so maybe I’m not allowed to have an opinion on this, but I have an opinion on this and the more research I did on this subject, the more confident my opinion became. Diamond engagement rings are an unnecessary expense and you shouldn’t buy them.
Companies are masters at telling you what you need to feel complete and one of the most successful brainwashers out there is the diamond industry. A little over a century ago, human beings scooped out only a few diamonds a year from riverbeds. We like diamonds because they’re shiny. In 1870, our species realized with glee that we could mine diamonds if we dug around in specific spots in the earth. Burrowing wasn’t cheap, so investors got together to finance the digging and, to their amazement, they started gathering tons and tons of diamonds. I picture the investors excitedly telling their wives how much money they were set to make off this new venture.
But then a problem occurred. The mines were too fruitful and too many diamonds appeared. The more diamonds the world had, the less people were willing to pay for them. So, the investors all got together, in what I can only assume was in a dark room, with a long table, and evil cackling throughout. The investors decided to control every aspect of the diamond industry, from the mining, to the distribution, to perpetuating the inaccurate perception of its rarity, to its astonishingly successful (and global) advertising campaign equating diamonds, and only diamonds, acceptable for marriage.
They gathered excellent ad men and began to convince people that diamonds were love. They insisted that, if a boy was sweet on a girl, he would buy her a diamond ring and surprise her with the gift to signify their love for all eternity. The bigger the better. The more diamonds you had on the ring, the more you loved her. Diamonds, you see, are forever. Diamonds are symbolic and you can’t ever sell or otherwise dispose of them because they are sacred to your emotional bond.
I don’t like the idea of a possibly evil cartel with a skewed interest in selling me shit telling me what is sacred to my emotional bond. Diamonds are supposedly very valuable, right? Okay, try selling your diamond. If you buy gold as an investment (another shiny object we humans get from the ground), you might make some money if you sell it at the right time. Unless you own one of the approximately 50 rarest and finest diamonds in the world however (which I promise you that you don’t), your diamond ring is not an investment.Jewellery stores won’t buy it back for anywhere close to what you bought it for and individuals won’t pay as much for an old diamond ring from some schmo on the Internet while superstitious folks scream “bad karma” while backing away slowly. The only people making any money off old diamond rings are thieves because even if they sell it for $1, they make a profit.
I think this rant is getting too long, but I can think of more negatives. Consider the possibly horrible conditions of the person (or child) who dug that diamond out for you. Realize that you’re signalling to vagabonds that you likely have money to steal. And personally, I just finding wearing rings uncomfortable. Using a few months of your working life to buy a diamond ring is a stupid idea.
But I argue both sides because I’m trained as a lawyer or something. Okay, so what’s the positive in buying a diamond ring? They’re shiny and pretty. I agree that diamonds are shiny and pretty, but you can get them in forms that are not ring-like for much less. And you can get other gems that are shiny if you do prefer ring-like. I own diamond (and ruby and sapphire) earrings that I quite like, but those earrings weren’t decadently expensive and earrings are one of my indulgences.
The only real reason that I see for buying an expensive diamond engagement ring is because it’s easier. You won’t feel any social pressure if you simply succumb and buy a ring when you propose like you’re “supposed to.” Sure, you are most definitely enlightened and you completely understand and agree with everything I’m saying. You read the research I linked and you wish that you could stop this stupid perpetuation, but other people, most importantly the other half of your union, won’t understand. It’s only a few thousand dollars.
If that’s your only reason though, seriously, buy used. You’ll get a much much much better deal that way. Don’t be superstitious. Be practical.
Put down your pitchforks, people! I love pets. Pets rock! I will most certainly have at least a cat and probably a dog when (if?) I settle down in one place again. Whenever I visit my parents and remember our family cat Daisy that passed away a couple of years ago, I subtly try to persuade them to adopt a new cat by saying “You guys should get a cat.” I beeline to a pet when I see one while visiting people’s houses. I had a foster cat that I adored when I lived in Chicago. I’m just saying, they’re expensive, yo. Pets are entirely optional, and as much as it pains me to type this, pets are a want and not a need.
If you’re reading this while sitting next to Megatron — your adorable fluffy cat that you’ve had since she was a tiny kitten and that name was hilarious — you’re going to think I’m crazy and cruel. She’s been with you through so many of your heartaches and so many of your joys and she is a member of your family and you love her more than you love me. I know. You’re not going to get rid of her. Debt be damned.
The pros of getting a pet are easy to come up with and why you probably already have one. There are likely health benefits like lower stress, possibly longer life, companionship, exercise if you walk the dog daily, unconditional love, a snuggle buddy, a babe magnet, a conversation starter, and happiness.
I love pets, but they are expensive. The initial acquisition cost, food, health care, toys, housing, and other accessories quickly add up. The costs are also unpredictable if Megatron gets sick. So please, calculate and consider the costs of getting a pet BEFORE you go out and fall in love with her. Sentiment and emotions make us human. I like to think that the ability to plan and consider everything also makes us human.
Want to read the other articles in this series “Spending habits draining your net worth”? Click on a link below.
Article 1 – cigarettes, pop, interest on depreciating assets
Article 2 – cable, coffee, meat
Article 3 – books, music, movies
Article 4 – cars
Article 5 – television set
Article 6 – expensive cell phone plan
Article 7 – lottery tickets, manicures, late fees
Article 8 – crap I spend money on