This post is part of the one day blog event “The Spectrum of Personal Finance.” In this event, comic book nerd Brian of My Next Buck, will discuss 8 different emotions (taken from the Green Lantern comic series) and relate them to personal finance. Here at Consumerism Commentary we will be looking at Avarice. To view the rest of the event look at the bottom of the page to see the other blogs hosting articles.
Conspicuous spending and greed have played a large role in bringing us to the current fledgling economy. People overextending themselves and buying things they don’t need (too much house, too much car) are stories that have been replayed over and over in the media and are nothing new. It’s the items which return almost no tangible value after purchase that we should be weary of.
There is nothing wrong with expensive items. I recognize the difference in value between a Ferrari and my Hyundai. However, regardless of your income, there are items which scream that they exist solely for someone to be seen owning them.
Today I’ll outline a few items that I have seen over the years that have enormous price tags and exemplify conspicuous spending but don’t bring much value to their owners – except for the fact that they like owning them.
- I am Rich App – The $999.99 iPhone app entitled, “I am Rich” stirred up lots of controversy last year. The app itself flashes a computer designed ruby on the screen – and that’s it. The app is no longer for sale, but a similar one has been released just recently for $99.99 under the name “You are Rich.”
- Diamond Studded Sauce Pan – One of the most expensive undertakings a homeowner can undertake is refurbishing their kitchen. If you are feeling the need to add a bit of glamor to your kitchen, check out this $78,000 saucepan. With about 2.0 lbs of gold and 200 diamonds, you can cook your way to retirement as gold slowly appreciates.
- iPhone 3G King’s Button – I love my iPhone and wouldn’t want to live without it. I even think I should spend a bit more to get one that is a bit larger. However, I am not one of the ones that feels the need to carry around a jewelry store on my phone. While the gems and metals certainly add to the aesthetics of the phone, it seems overly extravagant to carry a $2.5 million phone that can become a small paperweight if you accidentally drop it into a puddle.
- Amex Black Card – The Amex Centurion “Black” Card is maybe the one item on this list that does carry a significant amount of value beyond just having one. However, at $5,000 up front and a $2,500 annual fee, it’s an expensive card to whip out when shopping at Costco (a paradox in and of itself).
- TRI Golf Ball Marker – Golf is one of the most expensive sports in existence. Even with such a high cost, it’s a very serene experience. Think of what this $10,000 ball marker could add to your day at the links. Even Tiger Woods doesn’t have this item, as he uses a plain old marker to mark his ball.
The devil’s advocate would say that people wanting to spend an exorbitant amounts of money on items like these would stimulate the economy. They would be correct. In fact, there are several stories of people who can afford luxury goods are altering their conspicuous spending because of the recession. This hesitation to purchase luxury goods is aiding in the slow recovery.
We see goods like these everyday. Some make us stop and shake our heads, and others make us stop and think “maybe someday.” What are the conspicuous goods you have seen others possess?
For further reading of the Spectrum of Personal Finance Event, please see:
- Fear at Bargaineering
- Hope at Budgets are Sexy
- Avarice at Consumerism Commentary
- Willpower at Debt Free Adventure
- Death at Free Money Finance
- Compassion at Get Rich Slowly
- Love at Mrs. Micah
- Rage at Poorer Than You
To view a recap of the event, check out the Spectrum Roundup at My Next Buck.
Updated January 1, 2018 and originally published November 24, 2009.