In today’s world, many aspects of life are considered necessary or expected, but are they worth the cost? From expensive weddings and lavish gifts to daily habits like coffee and tobacco, many people feel pressured to spend money in ways that may not align with their values or priorities.
A Redditor asked what cultural norm destroys your savings? and here are the top picks:
1. Being A Bridesmaid Or Groomsman
“Last year, my sister asked me to be her maid of honor with only two months’ notice. I live across the country. The total spent between clothing, plane tickets, hotel/car rental, five-day food, and entertainment for my kids was around $2,500. I ended up using most of my tax return.” a user said.
“I think I’ve spent ten grand being in weddings in the last eight years.” another added.
Shifting the focus from lavish gift-giving to spending quality time with family during holidays can reduce financial strain.
“Christmas and other holidays of the like, you’re expected to spend $100+ in gifts for every family member even if Christmas is the only time you’ll ever see them. Solutions? IDK, I feel like we need a fundamental culture change and opt more for spending time with family.” said one.
“As my large family has gotten older, my siblings and I now pitch in money to take a vacation instead of buying gifts together, like renting a cabin or air BNB. Much cheaper, and we get to enjoy the memories.” a user shared.
Asian cultures often prioritize status symbols and family support, causing financial pressures and conflicting priorities.
“In many Asian cultures, there is a lot of pressure to drive a nice car and own a big house to show your “status.” There is also pressure to support your family and help out poorer relatives. And then they make fun of you for being frugal and working so much, but when they need money, guess who they call. Events are expensive–birthday parties, weddings, Christmas. It’s all for show and all for status, but that’s just how the culture is.” a user said.
4. Smoking Becaue Someone Is
Tobacco use can be a costly addiction, draining finances over time. “I love tobacco, and it’s so normal, but man, a day’s worth of dip is like $3.” said one. “Tobacco use can have a significant impact on one’s finances, as the cost of daily use can add up over time.” another said.
While weddings are a unique celebration of love, exorbitant expenses can be financially draining. Prioritizing financial planning and realistic expectations can reduce costs and improve long-term financial stability.
“Weddings are such a money dump. I hear married couples repeatedly say that if they could, they would invest most of the money on their wedding for a down payment on a house.
I don’t think we should stop celebrating weddings because love is a beautiful aspect of life we should celebrate, but the excessive amounts used to meet certain expectations is absurd.” said one.
“This is why we bought our house before having a wedding. When my nosey Catholic family asks me where my ring is, I show them pictures of my house and tell them I live there.” another said.
The pressure to attend college immediately after high school can lead to excessive student loan debt without clear career goals.
“The expectation that you must go to college immediately after high school even if you’re not sure what you want to do. Now I am stuck paying $570/mo for the next 12 years because of the loans I had to take out.” a user shared.
“My family was pissed when I said I wasn’t going to college immediately. Six years later, I still have no idea what career I would want to dump $50k on. So happy with my choice, even with the occasional feelings of inadequacy.” another shared.
Makeup can be expensive, yet social expectations can make it feel necessary.
“Makeup is a big one. It’s unnecessary, yet if I don’t wear any, people ask me if I’m sick, if I look tired, etc. I run in hot and cold streaks with makeup, TBH, but it’s one of the few things I’m willing to spend a little more on to get quality products.” said one.
“Potential solution: if you don’t want to wear it, don’t. As you said, people will ask if you’re sick or tired, but that’s because they’re used to seeing you with it on. I haven’t worn makeup in almost a decade and saved for mascara on special occasions, and I don’t get comments like that. The contrast between your made-up and naked face throws people off.” a user suggested.
“Coffee. Everybody seems to have it, but I see it as completely unnecessary. This is despite waking up at 5:30 am each day and sometimes only getting 5 hours of sleep.” a user said.
“I haven’t overslept for anything for the last ten years, and all I do when I get up is drink some cold water to wake up. Everyone I know that drinks coffee is addicted to it and has to try to keep their addiction in check actively.” another said.
9. Traditional Gender Roles
Traditional gender roles can create financial burdens in romantic relationships, with men often expected to pay for expensive dinners and gifts.
“Men have to buy partners expensive dinners and gifts.” said one. “Communication and understanding each other’s values and expectations around money can help navigate financial burdens in relationships.” a user suggested.
10. Pet Ownership
While pets bring joy, they also come with financial responsibilities such as food, vet bills, and damages. Owners must also commit time for walks and playtime.
“Pets; there is some benefit, but between food/litter, toys, vet bills, and the damage they do as well as the time it takes to walk them & play with them…I’m just not chomping to have more pets in the future.” said one.
“My cats are the biggest reason I won’t have kids. They already take so much time and money; I can’t imagine a child, and I feel like the benefits are similar anyway.” said another.
11. Going To The Bar Because It Is Expected
“I noticed many of my friends are drawn toward bars and I dont understand why. We will be having a great time at someones home, and a few people always start calling to go to bars. I understand the single people are looking for love, but I know couples that are dying to get a beer ‘out‘”, said one.
What do you think about these expectations? Should we re-evaluate our priorities and make different choices?