Saturday, May 31, 2008

Middle Class Dreams

Recently there was a meme question bopping around the intenet: "What would you do if you had a billion dollars?"

Most of the answers I saw had answers like: buy a bigger house, travel, start college funds for the kids, give to charity and friends.

What was interesting was that there was no real mention of drastic life style changes. Mainly things that would make the current life someone was leading more comfortable. When it comes down to it it's hard to picture a life style extremely different than your own.

But juxtapose this with a recent very highly-publicized and hotly contested divorce going on in our state involving our former governor (I won't give more details than that - if you know who it is you know all about it; if you don't - trust me, you don't want details). The former first lady is complaining that her life style has gone dramatically downhill now that she does not have a $51,000 monthly budget. She has to shop at the Gap now instead of Nordstroms. She had to give up State Police protection, a driver and two summer houses at the store.

Excuse me - but the Gap is a store we buy stuff at when we want to splurge a little bit - or if they have good sales going on. And $51,000 a month? I can't imagine how to spend that much money in a month.

My husband pointed an item out to me in an ad today - a $249 remote control. It has an LCD screen. I don't know what else it does. Make dinner for you? I can't imagine spending nearly $300 for a remote. Heck, I'll get up and turn the TV off manually (if you can find the power button on these new TVs)

There must be people out there who looked at that remote for sale and said "ooh - must get, it's only $250 this week." Maybe these are the same people who by the 72" TVs that they need a whole room devoted to.

Maybe the thing keeping me middle class is not a lack of money - but a lack of imagination.

(I think it has a lot to do with lack of money)


Barb, sfo said...

I'm with you. Those daily updates on that particular custody battle are scary. Especially when you think that there are women out there fighting for a couple of hundred a month so they can buy Cheerios for their kids.

It's not so bad to be happy with what you have--and not to want SO much more.

Obviously you have figured out that it's not things that make you happy.

PJ Hoover said...

Didn't you post about $1000 truffles?
So there you go. I'm sure you could eat 51 of those babies a month.

Christine M said...

Yup - $1000 truffles - but the case is gone from the supermarket now. Either they sold them all or they weren't selling. So - no more truffles, I'd have to find another way to spend that money.

And Barb, I agree with you about that custody and divorce case. It's really crazy.

PJ Hoover said...

You could web order truffles for yourself and all your friends!

Christine M said...

PJ - you'd be good at being rich! See - you thought of that right off - get those dang truffles from the internet. That can be your first purchase when your book hits the best seller list!

Ellen said...

Well stated!

I am also tired of reading about the divorce proceedings you wrote about. Since my husband has been involved in politics for many, many years and he knew about the former governor's preference for years, I can't figure out how she didn't - unless her head was in the sand. Even I knew about it when he was running for office - and I don't pay too much attention to politics.

Yes, it would be nice to have $51K at my disposal each month - I could donate a large chunk to my local St. Vincent DePaul program, help a few people I know with tuition to the local Catholic high school, upgrade the CCD program at my parish and maybe fund a trip to a third world country to do some housing construction. But as far as buying more toys, well, I think I have enough thank you.

Christine M said...

Ellen - what you speak of was one of the worst kept secrets in Woodbridge. The whole thing is a circus.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Years ago, I got one of those things in the mail that said I was eligible to win 8 million dollars. So, I went around asking people what they would like me to get for them with my winnings. One friend requested that I buy up some wetlands. Ever since then, it's been one of my dreams to buy acres of swamps and woodlands and just keep them safe from development.