• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Do you consider yourself "too materialistic"?

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Inspired by the "too many cars" thread, a semi-serious thread :)

Do you consider yourself excessively "materialistic"? Are you a consumer drone, the hero of the American economy? Or are Gandhi and the back-to-the-earth for simplicity's sake movement your icons?

I am way too materialistic and not very "spiritual" (agnostic). I hate the thought patterns that make me do things like "want" a V8, overpowered luxury car like an Audi S4-or to read architecture magazines about houses I can never afford or should never need.. But, will that ever change? I don't know :)
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
I often pass on things that I want due to the costs and realization that those things are not necessities. However, when it comes to those things that I really want, I conquer.

Right now, I really want a computer notebook and I will eventually get one. Oh, hell, I'm not fooling myself. I am materialistic, but not too damn materialistic!
 

tsc

Cyburbian
Messages
1,905
Points
23
i may be materialistic... but not for the excessive cars... just shear procrastination due to the fact that I hate the process of selling a car.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,984
Points
29
I becmome less materialistic every day. But I do have lust in my heart for certain toys. But these are not the toys mainstream society says a successful person should have. Thus, I am getting more comfortable with a disconnect with pop culture.

The real question is could you mentally survive if you had to start over if all of your stuff went away one day?
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,387
Points
25
el Guapo said:
The real question is could you mentally survive if you had to start over if all of your stuff went away one day?
Am I too materialistic? Yes. In our recent move I learned that I own more stuff than I think is either reasonable or necessary.

Could I survive if I had to start over? Probably, but it would not be fun.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,287
Points
44
I'm not a slave to fashion but I enjoy new clothes. I enjoy eating out in nice restaurants. On a regular basis I drink expensive California wines. I occasionally smoke Cuban cigars (thanks Canada and the internet). None of our two cars (with the exception of the 1970 truck with the snow plow), is older than 3 threes. I suppose that places me in the materialistic column.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,137
Points
35
Materialism

I have two kids (ages 6 and 4). I last saw my own materialism the day my wife first told me she was prego. Now life is entirely about the kids and how I can prepare them for the future.

I never thought I'd like being in this position, because I was very materialistic. But it really is much easier.

Anyway, I never saw a hearse with a luggage rack.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
PlannerGirl: I bet you are not a "Charter Subscriber" to Dwell magazine like I am :( Part of that side of me is the wannabe architect that lies beneath many planners' cold bureaucratic exteriors. :)

El Guapo: I sorta agree with you a little bit. A lot of my materialism is not really tied to "standard" consumer stuff. I don't want a big screen television (hell, I refuse to subscribe to cable-I hated writing that $35 check each month), I don't want a really BIG house (just a nice arhcitect-designed one), etc. I buy a lot of artsy things that I find cool. I buy way too many books and CDs.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
Maybe with some things....I drive a nice, fully loaded Accord because I didn't want to buy another junker car (I had never spent over 2000 for a car up until this point.) I couldn't afford a new Accord, but I wanted things like a V6 engine, leather interior, etc., so I bought a used one instead of a more practical new Civic. I didn't need leather seats and power everything, but I really wanted it, which is pretty materialistic, I suppose.

I also find myself looking in awe at better cars like BMW 3-series, VW Passats, and Audi's thinking that I would like one of them as my next car. Do I really need an 8 speker system and a navigation system? No, but it is nice to dream.

I also have problems with electronics and gadgets. If I see something really cool, no matter how much I don't need it, I find it hard to resist. Some recent examples:

An in-dash mp3 player.
A wireless MP3 transmitter that allows me to play mp3s from my computer to any stereo in the house.
Outdoor speakers for my deck.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I don't know if I am materialistic or not. I think I may be, but don't own much or really want that much, so it is hard to tell. It is also probably a function of where I live.

What I do know is that I either buy exactly what I want or nothing at all. The main thing is that what I usually want is expensive, and I'd rather wait then suffer buyer's remorse.

Here are some juxtapositions in my life.

1) Own about $10 000 in bikes that I paid cash for, yet drive a 10 year old car that was a write off/repair.
2) Don't own a VCR or DVD player or computer.
3) Own 2 chairs for the living room a dining room table and 4 chairs.
4) Have about 50 pint glasses in my collection, yet only have silverware for 4 people.
5) Own over 1000 books plus another 1000 comic books
6) Own about 200 CD's and 200-300LPs
7) Only art I own is a signed vonnegut print.
8) house is not done, even though if i did not buy books or CD's for about 2 months it would be.
9) The total I owe on my house is probably less then anyone else's mortgage payment for a month.

I can go 2-3 weeks without buying anything, other than food without any problem.
 
Last edited:

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Living in this area has made me more materialistic than i thought i could ever be. That and who I have dated.

I live in the trendy part of Arlington
my car is 3 years old and im looking for another
i have 2 computers
my dogs eat high end food and go to a puppy resort when i travel.
the dogs eat hand made cookies from a "Shoppe" for dogs in a trendy part of Old town.
I have all sorts of trendy electronic "stuff" and want more

though i am proud to say i dont own a TV

I drink my various drinks from Starbucks and talk stupid politics stuff at the Barns and Noble down the street.
my personalized tag has my sorority letters on it.
I shop in Georgetown
I wear designer parfume
my body products come from a trendy little place in Chicago
Though it was a gift my watch costs more than my rent
I eat out more than in
I go to snoby outdoor classical concerts at Wolftrap and drink my South African or Chilaien (sp?) wine.
I get my hair done at a "Salon"
I tan at a snotty place
i have 3 leather coats, 3 fleece jackets, a ski coat (bought just so i could go to Vail) etc etc

i own Burberry and wear it proudly

*hangs her head* next thing ya know Ill marry a republican and Ill be doomed ;-) But I did stop dating the BMW driving lawyer..is there hope for me?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
That's quite a library. I am in awe.

I've gone through a bad patch of overspending (which I periodically do), so my buying days are over for a few months :)

Plannergirl: I am in awe of you, as well. Not quite Burberry, but Banana Republic is not as cheap as I should dress. (Dammit, their new dress shirts just fit better!). I like yuppie coffee drinks, too.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Compared to most people my age, & socio-economic background - no. I'm not into cars or clothes. I do lust after certain hobby things I can't afford though. I grew up with much less stuff so I think I would fare well without it.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Forgot this one, and PG's comments made me think about it. Have a 150 bike computer, but don't own a watch.

My book collection is almost 20 years in the making. I started really young buying books with my allowance and money I earned from odd jobs. Same with the records, however, I left them at my parent's because I can't afford a turntable I would like, nor do i have the space for them or a good stereo.
Some other juxtapositions.

The shoes I am wearing today are 8 years old, but have been resoled and healed 8 times at least and were pretty expensive when I bought them.

I have no problem spending $20 on a pair of cycling socks.

Oh, and all of the prices are CDN$$

I'll add another, i like good soaps too.
 
Last edited:

Duke Of Dystopia

Cyburbian
Messages
2,713
Points
24
I have lots of toys and hobby's. Love each and every one of them. Materialism is a good thing that a person should not feel guilty of. The problem comes when it is the be-all and end-all of life.

After military service, a person figures out what they really "need" to subsist on. Everything else is just fluff. I have strong belief in something outside myself as well as a desire to acquire a lot of crap for no good reason :) The two things are not incompatible.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
No, I'm not materialist... How dare you think of me in such way, you know, I really need the rolex, and the expensive clothing, trips to Europe and Caribean. :p ;)

No... I'm actually a cheap bastard :-} Though I like some special tastes, as long as I'm not paying ;)
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
I consider myself materialistic but not "too." I love to buy quality clothes, accessories, etc. at bargain prices. No, you probably won't see me in a thrift store but you will see me at a one day sale or sifting through the final clearance racks at the mall. I'm not afraid to mix Walmart clothes with my Ann Taylor clothes and I do carry what some may call ridiculously expensive purses.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I don't think I'm overly materialistic. Although I wish I had a nicer car (more for the reliability/gas mileage reason), I scoff at a monthly payment. I'll just keep driving my little truck until it finally dies.

In my adult life (until I moved to Edmonton) my materialism played second fiddle to my wanderlust. If I was still single I'd probably still live that way: simple living, exotic vacations.

I think my materialism will come out more when we buy the new house. I grew up in very nice houses, and I have definite ideas about what I want in my 'dream home'. I don't need a large house, as long as it has the amenities I want. Like... someday I want an ensuite bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. I want french doors in the living room that lead out to a deck and spa. I'd like a solarium so I can grow the plants I miss so much from So. Cal. I want a wet bar and a pool table... Okay, so maybe I am materialistic after all. :-C
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,038
Points
23
Yes and no. Bought a new car so I could save on gas mileage and repairs, but kept the old one, which is nearly paid for. Used to work at Ann Taylor, so I have a wardrobe that is 60% their stuff-but about 4 years old. Shop obsessively at Target, including groceries. Buy my doggies fancy dog food--and both dogs were free rescued hounds. Live in an old ranch house filled with a mix of hand-me-downs, Target, and IKEA furniture--but really want a Phillipe Starke chair. So, a mix, like most of you, looks like. Yes on the things that count, like good food, books (3,000 and counting, but worked at a used bookstore for years), music, and dogs. No on almost everything else.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Yes, but I tend to pick and chose what I am materialistic about. I don’t care about cars or clothes and such; and they do not impress me. I would rather spend my money on travel or eating at really nice restaurants. Buying art or gourmet food, coffee etc…, the things that make “me” happy, that "I" enjoy, not just to impress others.

I would also rather have a crappy car and a crappy boat that just a one nice car. More items, less quality. So does that make me more of less materialistic?
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
24,889
Points
51
how this for being cheap or frugle,
when I moved all I had was a roll-away cot. I made due for a couple of years before i bought a bed.
or
I have a 10 yr old car with only 115,000 miles on it.
or
have a 15 yr old tv without a remote.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Planderella said:
No, you probably won't see me in a thrift store but you will see me at a one day sale or sifting through the final clearance racks at the mall. I'm not afraid to mix Walmart clothes with my Ann Taylor clothes and I do carry what some may call ridiculously expensive purses.
I can get better stuff at the thrift store than at Wal-Mart...
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
Only on some things. I like driving newish cars but not expensive cars. I never got close to spending 20K on a car until I got the CR-V this year. My house is 1200 s.f., built in 1957. I lived here 6 years with a harvest gold fridge that came with the house, and finally got the dream fridge a few months ago. I'm just looking at replacing the hideous drapes.

I used to buy tons of books, but now mostly use the library, altho' I love to buy cookbooks.

I rarely eat out, but I send my son to a private school, and buy him too many video games. But I have only a $99 bike.

Hardly ever buy new clothes anymore, and will actually wear dockers knock-offs from Wal-Mart. I only buy dresses at the mall, but only on sale. I buy expensive make-up because it's the only brand that doesn't give me a rash.

Guess that's about it.
 

Rem

Cyburbian
Messages
1,524
Points
23
I get a sense of materialistic satisfaction when I buy fishing rods/reels, wine and tools (not only power tools).

I don't think you can be a little bit materialistic. We might try to play it down by referring to how cheap or utilitarian the items we buy for pleasure are. Truly non-materialistic individuals are hard to find. Those I've come across seem to be in the middle of an experiment.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
5,902
Points
31
No, I don't think so. I don't shop and buy new things like most people do, and I'm always looking to reuse something that some one else is replacing. We drive, and keep, used cars and live in an old house. We spent more money this summer that we have in years. Leaking, old sewer lines must be replaced. I bet the plumber is more materialistic than we are.
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
29
I don't know. I tend to think 'materialistic' means you value things "too much", which is not exactly about how much stuff you have, per se. Some years ago, I had neighbors whose only child wore jeans that didn't reach his ankles and had big holes in the knees, but they bought 2 brand new cars that year. I would say they were materialistic.

Our car is 12 years old and missing most of the paint, which was scoured off when we lived just south of Death Valley. To me, a car is transportation. Period. But we have 4 computers because my husband and I are both college students (and we take online classes) and we homeschool. So, that is utilitarian -- it is goal-oriented, not thing-oriented. Books are also not about valuing things but about valuing knowledge.

I do not think I am materialistic because I very casually give away furniture and stuff to charity when it no longer serves my purpose.
 

oulevin

Cyburbian
Messages
178
Points
7
Being the poor graduate student has me thinking about this all the time. I've never considered myself materialistic, but I do like being surrounded by and having nice things. This means while I don't have a huge wardrobe, the clothes I do wear are fashionable (but NOT signature brand). And while the most expensive thing in my apartment is my computer system(bought in 1999 before prices went way down), the second is my library ot textbooks. Third is my collection of framed art. Everything else is $100 or less.

Like others, most of my disposable income goes to what Richard Florida calls "experiential" expenses -- meals out, travelling, concerts, and other shows --the memory-making spending that lasts much longer than any material good.
 

The Irish One

Member
Messages
2,267
Points
25
I've been unloading this last year

I've had a thought process in the last 2 years. I don't want to have to buy stuff anymore. I do want a piece of property in rural parts and I want a good strong solid education that will last a lifetime. I'm getting the education. I've been getting rid of a lot of crap I don't want in my space anymore. This crap I speak of is still treasure but It's time for me to move on. Sort of a nomadic sense has come over me.

In the last year I dumped atleast a $1300 worth of books and $500 of cd's on the library. I'm happy to say 99% are on thier shelf and off of mine. Some got thrown into the sale bins which is cool it just benefits the library.
A lot of decent clothes I gave to the salvation army.

Last week I went through my books again and found about 40 more that are going, going gone.

I have about +/-2000 stamps (mostly South American) I'm looking to trade off for cash.

all videos are going to the library.

Getting rid of more clothes.

Trying to sell a Sierra Designs tent -it's either a Clip 3 CD or Clip Flashlight CD, can't remember.

I'm open to giving up the computer.

my bed sucks and I'm getting something way more nomadic -like the floor.

Things I must have! and refuse to give up!

I have a Toyota truck ($10,000) I live in SoCal and usually I need a car.

I have 2 bikes worth maybe $1100

A piece of crap classical guitar (13 years old)

A crappy bass w/ a decent medium sized amp (both are 13 years old)

All of my Grateful Dead cd's, Jerry band and other live music.

my less than medium sized boom box.

Camping equipment such as backpack, stove, pots, sleeping bag, and my new panniers for a bike tour.

All maps

The Almanac of American Politics (book)
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
29
Hey, Irish One, I embraced a nomadic lifestyle when I married a soldier.

I always have a box near the front door for 'donations'. The next move is just a matter of time. My bedroom furniture is filled with books and papers. I have a tiny 2 drawer piece of furniture near my closet for my socks, undergarments, and sleep shirts. The rest gets hung up and my husand needs more closet space than I do (and has a bigger dresser).

If my Stuff is not something I really use and it is not important to my lifestyle -- like going to college, homeschooling my kids, etc -- than I will eventually ditch it. I don't have the time and energy to dust a bunch of meaningless crap. I have a life to live.

My kids and husband used to think I was the Wicked Witch. But they eventually discovered that traveling lighter really is a better way to live.

Congrats.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
el Guapo said:
The real question is could you mentally survive if you had to start over if all of your stuff went away one day?
Dumb A$$ its called divorce and I dont recomend it.

That said, I dont surround myself with useless materialistic things. But the things I do have are nice things. Kind of on the level that PlannerGirl layed out --

-Pet resorts when I travel
-Dot eat out often but when i do its not Shoneys, its a good trendy place
-Rather buy kitchen gadgets at the gourmet store than at walmart (who knew I needed a pastry brush?)
-Rather have a used european car than a new korean car
-Hair cuts at expensive salons by queers
-Never let a friend see you write a check
-Dial-up is soooooo 20th century
 

Queen B

Cyburbian
Messages
3,179
Points
25
My thoughts are
Materialistic = got to have the best at whatever the cost.
I do like things but I like getting the best deal even better. I will hunt and sift and dig for that deal so although my home is full of antiques most are not in perfect condition but have love marks.

But I have a 5 piece antique bedroom set with armior (sp?) that I stole for $300 and just found a Lane Cedar chest that matches it for $13. My husband never tells me no, when the sentence starts "honey I found this deal"

I have remodeled with the goal of $100 per room and have definately come in under $200

Through a few ended relationships I have walked out on many things and as I get older I find that I have some things that I really want to keep but prefer less clutter than I had previously.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
Yup Chet your right, divorce took everything i had and im still using furniture my parents had when they were first married and stuff other folks did not need. It looks fine, it works why buy new?

I get stuff that makes ME happy screw what other folks think. No one in this world is gonna spoil me so Im gonna do it.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
PlannerGirl said:
im still using furniture my parents had when they were first married and stuff other folks did not need. It looks fine, it works why buy new?
Absolutely why buy new!

My bedroom set belonged to my grandparents and they got it as a weeding gift (except the mattress eww). I have their china too.

My dining room set belonged to my mother, except the buffet which came from an heir of the Kohler company.

My mother gets new living room furniture every 2 years, and takes turns giving the "old" stuff to me and my sister, so I never have to buy new. My parents are notorious for buying stuff, getting over it, and giving it to us (including dogs).
 
Top