Rich Vs. Poor — Spending Money Emotions and Psychology

A rich person might be able to spend $1,000 per month, and a poor person might be able to spend $100 per month, so when they both try to buy something for $10, the experience is very different.

Reason 1: $10 is 1% of a rich person’s budget, and 10% of a poor person’s budget.  When you’re spending 10% of your entire budget for a month, you need to be more careful.

Reason 2: The rich person will be thinking: is this item worth the $10? Let me judge the quality of the item, and compare it to other items like it to make the best decision for myself.  Judging the item is a sign of being in control.

The poor person will be thinking: do I really need this? Let me judge myself to see what I deserve.  Being judged is a sign of being out of control.

Reason 3: The rich person will also be thinking: should I treat myself now to this item or later?  Or should I buy something completely different with this money like saving up for vacation or investments? Or should I save the money?

The poor person will be thinking: if I don’t spend this money now, some other problem is going to take this money away.  Saving is not an option because I have so many problems that are needs not wants that it’s going to be spent for sure somewhere.  I should seize this opportunity now to spend it and fix a problem right away.

Reason 4: The rich person is thinking: there are so many options that will improve my life and I just need to pick the right one for me.

The poor person is thinking: I have more problems than money to solve them so I need to pick the kind of problems I want to suffer through right now.

Personal Story: My mom and I grew up very poor, and my mom was always working so I grew up basically alone.  From 7 years old to when I left home for college at 18, I saw my mom for maybe 3 hours a week, during which it would just be work and not talking or quality time.  As a result, I would try to spend as little money as possible so as to reduce the burden on my mom so that she might have more free time to spend with me.  For example, I would starve myself every day to save money.  Then, when my mom notices she has spare cash, she would go and make an impulse buy and blow through the cash and it would make me so angry because I was starving every day for the hope that maybe I could get another 10 minutes with my mom, and my mom would just spend the money that I helped her save on material things, and I would continue to not spend any time with her.

This is why I hate negotiating price.  I know that I could fight someone for another $1-$5, but I also know that $2 per purchase adds up to $200 over 100 purchases.  And $200 could be two month’s budget for some people.

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