When Rich People Call You Cheap
I ran into one of my golfing buddies the other day while waiting for a colleague. Greg the golfer is an every day fella who so happens to be worth north of $20 million dollars. I don’t know exactly how much he makes a year, but it’s likely at least $3 million during normal economic times. He’s a powerful man who deserves everything he earns, but sometimes he’s just vexing.
We got to catching up about the latest gossip on tour when he asked me if I wanted to grab a coffee at Starbucks. I told him I was good, largely because coffee hurts my stomach, not to mention I’m supposed to be waiting for my colleague at this exact spot and time to attend a meeting. Greg responds, “Of course not, you are so cheap!” in a snide, but joking sort of way. Unfortunately, every joke has a meaning, and being called cheap is one of the most annoying things to ever hear.
When we go golfing, Greg likes to spend $20 for a sleeve of Titleist Pro V balls, whereas I go for the $8 sleeve of Pinnacles. Sure, the Pinnacles are harder, and provide less spin control, but I’m no pro, but neither is Greg! The absurd thing is, I’m a 10 handicapper who regularly shoots in the low-to-mid 80s, while he’s a 20 handicapper who often times breaks 100. Some would even call him a hacker!
When we talk about vacations, he mentions the private jet he takes to Bora Bora, and I think, how nice. He then goes on to discuss the wonderful stay at the Four Seasons with his own outdoor hot tub and infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Thanks for making me so envious Greg! My staycation this summer can’t compare, I know. But, we still have fun all the same.
What really irks me is that Greg jokes about my spending habits when he’s worth so much more. A $5 overpriced latte to me is literally like 50 cents to him. And you know what? I still wouldn’t spend 50 cents on a cup of latte because it turns my stomach into a squeezed towel! I’ve grown up just drinking water because my parents never ordered any drinks when we went out. They taught me that beverages have the highest markups and to not be silly with money. Besides, all the sugar and junk they put in these concoctions is so bad for our health.
DIFFERENT PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT DESIRES
I don’t understand the folks who stand in line at Starbucks every morning AND afternoon forever waiting for a stupid cup of coffee. When I see a 20 person line, I keep walking because time is precious. I don’t get the people over 30 who still go out at night and spend $15 for a vodka tonic, when you can buy a whole bottle for $20 bucks, and make 25 of them on your own. The time for clubbing was in your 20s!
I place very little value on beverages which aren’t good for me. Is this so bad? Apparently to very wealthy folks who have no concept of money or time think so. If you ask me to pay a premium for athletic shoes, electronics, and fruit I’m very happy to do so. Good shoes prevent injuries and provide extra performance during grueling competition. I prefer an Apple over a PC because of the interface, aesthetics, and customer service. Meanwhile, if I find a delicious white puree mango, I’ll literally spend a hundreds of dollars and buy them all!
Everybody spends money in different ways largely because preferences differ. You can call people cheap, but that’s just ignorant because you are assuming someone else values something just as much as you do. Instead, be cognizant of what matters to other people and respect their financial decisions. The next time Greg calls me cheap, I think I’ll just test his pride and bet him $100 a hole straight up, no strokes. Might as well take advantage of the rich, right!
Readers, have you ever been called “cheap” by someone well off? If so, why?
How do you differentiate between “cheap” and “frugal”?
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”