The social pressure we put on ourselves

Sunday, May 18, 2008


image by CaptPiper

Recently, Trent over at the simple dollar posted about how he and his wife won't put up a clothesline in their backyard because of the negatives due to societal pressures they perceive, such as lower property values, and the scorn of their neighbors, even though it is the more frugal choice. They figured it would take 89 loads to break even with the cost of installation. I am sure they would hit this number some time this year also.

This post popped into my head during church today. I usually prefer to wear jeans to church since if I were to dress up I would wear the same clothes I wear 5 days a week. It is the weekend, I do not want to wear those clothes. However, I feel guilty every time I get to the parking lot because I see that a large number of people are dressed up and I perceive that they are looking down on me because I am not dressed up like them. I have no clue what they are thinking. They may be looking down on me, But I am willing to wager that far fewer of them care than the number I imagine. After all, I am there to worship, not put on a fashion show. This is also one of the reasons that I don't go to the same Church as my boss, and the vice president of my division. These people dress very nicely every day in the office, and I believe that they are also the type to dress very nicely at Church. If I went to their Church, then I would feel even more pressure to spend more money on even better clothes. I would probably be promoted faster if I went to their Church, but should Church be associated with networking? I don't think so, so I don't go there.

But would Trent's neighbors be mad at him if he put up a clothesline? Possibly, but they might like the idea also and decide to put one up. If all the houses have respectable looking clotheslines, would the property values go down? What if they used 4x4 painted posts with lights on top, and a retractable line in between, and maybe even a small garden around each post? Would that increase property values due to better landscaping?

The point is that are there as many societal pressures as we perceive, or are there other people around us, who think like us, but are also afraid of their neighbors and what they may think?

On a side note, Trent brought up the point about how many frugal ideas have been associated with being poor, and how the frugality of the WWII generation has been lost since then. I waned to point out that my grandmother's old house was so frugal that it had an exterior door that opened almost directly to the clothesline. This door was only 4 feet away from sliding glass doors, so its only purpose was to make taking clothes out to the clothesline easier.

3 comments:

luluga11 said...

There are lots of pressures all around but it is up to us to stand up to them.

I am the only one in my circle of friends who does not drink alcohol and I usually get made fun of when we go out. I maintain my stance because I have seen too many of my friends drunk and doing things they regret.

I also get teased sometimes for being frugal....by the same people who have no idea what their credit scores are and what an emergency fund is...and who can only pay the minimum on their cards because they have been late so many times that they are paying the default rate on all cards.

Don't let the pressure get you down.

Rocio said...

I find it very interesting that most people will cite the bible to condemnand judge others but they forget about the part where it says to not dress up for God.

It is truly inspiring that you would want to just enjoy your relationship with God without there being any more to it.

basicfinancial said...

Thanks, rocio! I agree with you about the whole judging thing. I think there are many people who judge and forget about that part of the bible.