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about competitive austerity

(52 Posts)
ColeensRealBile Tue 16-Oct-12 09:05:48

Is it just me or does anyone else get this?

Since having DS, I've spent a fair bit of money on the usual stuff and have been known to go a bit crazy every now and again. But whenever I tell certain friends about this I get a lot of 'oh you're mad to buy that rattle, we just filled a bottle with lentils and she loved it' / 'weaning pots? are you CRAZY? We just collect all our old crunchy granola yogurt pots and use them instead' / 'what? you actually paid for your pram? We've got Sebastian's granny's vintage Silver Cross, it's so much nicer than the ones you get at Mothercare.

These people are mostly considerably better off than me, but I'm made to feel a fool and a chump (do like that word!) for spending my money when I could just be breaking out the egg cartons and sticky-backed plastic. I don't judge them for their choices but personally I love buying new things for DS. Is this a new MC thing? I get the feeling they think spending lots of money on baby stuff is a bit chavvy. Or just not the done thing in The Current Climate.

Wait till they see the Fisher Price monstrosity I'm about to order!

Oh..ok AIBU to not actually give a shiny shite and continue to spend my money on multicoloured tat as I please

LFCisTarkaDahl Tue 16-Oct-12 09:09:39

I think what you're describing is people attempting to be middle class - whether they are or not is irrelevant, if they're telling you it's because it's how they want to look.

They want to look like they don't buy shiny new, it's irrelevant whether you prefer shiny or not.

I like old and new grin

mercibucket Tue 16-Oct-12 09:13:11

Have to say I'm with them on the weaning pots

mercibucket Tue 16-Oct-12 09:13:11

Have to say I'm with them on the weaning pots

FredFredGeorge Tue 16-Oct-12 09:14:23

Spending loads on baby stuff has always been "chavvy" hasn't it? Nothing to do with austerity or the current climate.

NumericalMum Tue 16-Oct-12 09:16:06

I find it hilarious in the naice area near where I live how everyone pretends to be hippy and shop at the farmers market over the weekend before going back to their million pound houses and taking their kids to private school and of course their jobs in the city. You can't admit you own a car or buy your food from a supermarket without getting a shocked face back.

BobbysBeardOfWonder Tue 16-Oct-12 09:16:07

Maybe they just don't buy into all the baby crap that's marketed at parents. Half of it is unnecessary IMO.

PostBellumBugsy Tue 16-Oct-12 09:16:17

Tell them you are boosting the economy! grin

ColeensRealBile Tue 16-Oct-12 09:20:36

merci but the only yogurt we eat in my house is Frubes and they're no good for decanting purees into, init

struggling100 Tue 16-Oct-12 09:27:38

It depends a bit on the context, and on your attitude to cash.

If they're just doing it in a holier-than-thou fashion to make you feel bad... then YANBU. I think you should give them a bit of a taste of their own medicine though - when they talk about going on a wonderful spiritual vacation in a yurt somewhere in Central Asia, tell them how they could have put a tent up in the garden for free and saved the totally-not-climate-neutral longhaul flight. :D Do it nicely, in a jokey way. Hopefully they will get the message. :D

However, they might just be (insensitively) trying to help you. Have you ever complained to them about not having too much cash? I have a friend who comes into my office and whinges for an hour a day about how much she HATES her job, but how little she can afford to leave it. She's in tears constantly, even though she's paid a very very good wage for not doing all that much. Yet she owns 2 houses, drives 2 sports cars, and is dripping in the most expensive jewellery... but can't sleep at night because she has friends who are better off. I have to admit, her self-pity gets old pretty fast. When she tells me that she envies my position - on a lower wage, with a lot less material wealth - I do feel like saying 'Well, I live in a small house that I can afford, I drive an old car, and I don't own a Cartier watch... but I'm not in tears every day at work either. Maybe if you sold your second home and your top-of-the-range Mercedes, you could afford to give up work and do something you actually enjoy with the most valuable thing you own - your time?' I don't say that, of course, because I know I should be more compassionate... but there are times when I really feel like it. #firstworldproblems

ShatnersBassoon Tue 16-Oct-12 09:28:27

I've encountered this. Relatively well off people being extremely proud of bagging a load of secondhand clothes on Freecycle. It just doesn't seem to be in the spirit of things to me. Let someone in genuine need have those things. I know if they don't get them it will probably just be someone who's going to flog them at a car boot sale, but still, I feel a bit sorry for the (imagined) needy person that missed out.

I was watching that Kevin McCloud thing last night where he's making a home of sorts from unwanted materials, to demonstrate how much useful stuff is wasted, but it made me think 'Well do it for someone who actually needs this shizzle, rather than for your comfortably-off self".

struggling100 Tue 16-Oct-12 09:29:11

Sorry, I hit 'post' too early... the point of that rant was that you can't spend tons of cash and then moan about not having any, and then expect people not to point out the discrepancy. grin

Cromwell44 Tue 16-Oct-12 09:29:32

I love the term competitive austerity - it is a MC and a MN thing, alongside the 28 meals from one chicken competition. Those who really are too broke to buy stuff tend not to lecture others about it. Buy what you like, don't apologise, enjoy yourself - tell 'em you're too lazy to make it yourself wink.

Snog Tue 16-Oct-12 09:30:38

Buying a load of unecessary tat is surely nothing to be proud of so I get where your friends are coming from.

It's more creative and green to make rattles out of lentils etc and also more fun imo. Why not try playing their game for a while, maybe you will be converted?

Babies after all care nothing for "stuff"!

PostBellumBugsy Tue 16-Oct-12 09:31:11

OMG, you eat frubes? Why do you spend your money on frubes, when you could be making your own yoghurt?
Haven't you got a cow & a milk maid in your back garden like me? FGS, get the chef to put milk on the Aga in a bowl, until it starts to curdle, get the gardner to harvest some hot-housed strawberries (you don't want any of that imported rubbish from the supermarket) and then get the chef to puree those and hey presto, you have your own home made strawberry yoghurt and not a penny spent! [irony emoticon needed]

stinklebell Tue 16-Oct-12 09:36:25

My neighbour is a bit like this. Tbh, I couldn't give a monkeys what she does, if she'd stop preaching to me about it.

I'm not up for nicking things from skips and taking stuff home from the tip that other people have chucked out

She's very proud of the fact that she's never bought clothes for her kids, and lectures me constantly if I buy anything new for mine - the free stuff that she's always banging on about is stuff mine have grown out of and I've passed on to her

Drives me nuts

stinklebell Tue 16-Oct-12 09:40:09

Oh, and she's not skint, very far from it. They inherited their house so they're mortgage free and her DH has a very well paid job

She's just always on the scrounge for something

Latara Tue 16-Oct-12 10:02:12

What's wrong with buying lovely new things for a baby??
If you have a low budget - well, that's what friends, relatives & baby showers are for!
Most normal people enjoy buying stuff for babies they know.
I love choosing little outfits for friends' babies.

As for toys made out of yoghurt pots - that's weird - don't they feel embarrassed for their babies to be seen with those 'toys'?? Just a bit skanky really.
And second-hand stuff is only ok if it looks like new IMO.

lalabaloo Tue 16-Oct-12 10:02:44

Stinklebell, I would be very tempted not to give her any more clothes and to donate them to a refuge or charity instead.

lalabaloo Tue 16-Oct-12 10:06:17

Oh and op YANBU, I like buying things for my baby too, either new or second hand. As long as you can afford to I don't see what it has to do with anyone else

Popumpkin Tue 16-Oct-12 10:14:13

It depends what makes you happier OP - to have money in the bank or to buy lots of nice new things for your DS?

If you like to buy things then great (so do I as it happens grin), but many people who appear to have lots of money only do so because they don't splash cash about & save hard. For example, there are always far more BMW's, Mercs, Audis etc. on our local Aldi carpark than old bangers.

Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about buying stuff though - your DS, your money, your choice!

impty Tue 16-Oct-12 10:25:29

Well having been dirt poor when my dd1 was a baby I had to go the make do and mend road. But loved having new and old things for dd2!

Now I'm not so poor I still have that bargain streak in me! Lecturing others on how they spend their cash is always unreasonable!

You spend your hard earned money on what you want! Now my dd's are teens I long for the days when a pile of brightly coloured plastic was all their hearts desired!

Littlesurprise Tue 16-Oct-12 10:27:28

Aren't most well-off people so well-off because they inherited grandparents' house, daddy paid for university, etc... everything is already there, in place for them, so each generation can just slot in, and maintain their descendants' dues. And they can keep their wealth and status so long as they don't spend anything except on bare necessities like rifles, horses and flying tuition?

This is what my fairly wealthy titled ex always whined to me about. Poor little rich boy.

Perhaps they're jealous that you can spend the (perfectly normal, reasonable) way you do without endangering the clan's wealth cycle / reputation?

Laquitar Tue 16-Oct-12 10:31:16

It is not only about baby clothes. What about houses?

Those rich people in period houses with their 'rescued from the skip' coffee tables? £50 for a new kitchen with posh worktop and then 'oh we don't bother to replace the broken loo seat in guest loo because we don't really care about these things and as long as the house is filled with books' etc. Yes right hmm

lashingsofbingeinghere Tue 16-Oct-12 10:45:35

Well it may be posh to be frugal, but I say let's see more of it.

Sorry to sound po faced, but the world does not need to use up any more non-renewables for the sake of making giant ride on plastic snails for two year olds.

So yes to handing things on, making toys out of stuff you already have, borrowing and loaning equipment.

People, there is only one planet. We in the West are using resources as if we had a couple of spare ones. <Sermon over>.

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