Six years ago I was unemployed and on a very tight budget. Looking for something to occupy my time between interviews I started making videos on YouTube. I called myself ‘Miss Budget Beauty’ because I intended to talk about makeup and had very little money. Everything I talked about I had had for years or had bought on eBay to ‘haul’. For a little while this worked for me but once I got a job and had a bit of spending money again my budget changed and so did my content. At the time YouTube was still finding its feet, nobody was branding themselves and I had no idea that the moniker ‘budget beauty’ would prove to be so restrictive in the next few years of my accidental career.
It took me quite a while to realise I’d created this box for myself and if I wanted to stay in it (and keep my audience) I would have to adjust my attitude. It did get silly at one point with certain viewers chastising me for recommending Revlon which they didn’t class as ‘budget beauty’ and I think that’s when my defensive ‘I’ll talk about what I like’ phase kicked in but a couple of years ago I took stock and decided to make a change. I created a new channel, Diary Of A Spendaholic where I felt that I could post anything that didn’t fall under the budget beauty header. That channel has evolved in to a bit of a catch all for everything from vlogs, to stationery, outfit videos, and then of course, luxury items.
Part of why I created the channel and called it what I did was because I’d developed a little taste for high priced handbags and wanted to share them but didn’t really have anywhere to do that. I discovered a whole world of luxury YouTubers with completely unattainable lifestyles through researching new purchases and loved the escapism of watching their closet tours. I did however sense a theme of resentment and general negativity in the comments of these videos which I had no desire to draw my way. It can be tricky to talk about expensive purchases without seeming braggy or spoiled. Nobody wants to discuss money so if you play down the cost then you don’t appreciate the item and in turn don’t derserve it (spoiled) but if you make a big fuss about how expensive it was then you’re most certainly going to be tagged as braggy.
There is a stigma attached to those high price tags that I’m not super fond of. A very good friend of mine recently described me as (and I’m paraphrasing but you get the jist) liking my designer bags but having a heart of gold. I know that that comment came from a good place but to break it down she felt that she had to clarify that I was still a nice person even though I spent money on expensive things. I’m guilty of it myself, if a friend tells me she’s met someone who owns X that we’ve been coveting for years my first question is ‘do we hate her?’ – I’m obviously being sarcastic but what I mean is despite her having the money to spend on that thing we can’t afford is she still someone we could have a laugh with or is she a rich b*tch? Your handbag says more about you than you might think!
Although I don’t think I’ve changed personality-wise I know that my income has directly affected my perspective over the years. I had a friend who had wanted a Mulberry handbag for as long as I’d known her, she finally got one and I thought ‘I could never spend that on a bag’. Shortly after we were shopping and she took me in to the Mulberry store to see another bag she had here eye on.. ANOTHER ONE? I thought, at this point it was getting ridiculous! I remember this clear as day and whenever someone makes a negative comment about my personal spending I try to put myself back in those shoes. It’s all relative, I once thought a Topshop handbag was a splurge and that wasn’t all that long ago. I totally judged people for spending thousands on handbags and shoes but that’s because I didn’t have thousands to spend on handbags and shoes and I thought there would be so much more I’d rather spend that money on if I DID have it.
In six years my situation has changed completely, I still appreciate a bargain and I don’t have unlimited funds by any means but I can justify occasional luxury purchases. The most common comment I see is ‘I’d rather have a holiday’ to which I would respond, what if you could have both? Nobody knows anyone elses behind the scenes, I’ve seen people accuse instagrammers of having Sugar Daddies because they travel all the time, I’ve seen others be shamed because there are starving people all over the world and they are showing off a £3k handbag.. that person could be donating huge amounts to charity.. nobody knows and it’s not our place to ask. Do I still wonder how people afford what they do? Of course! But I try not to judge someone because they’ve chosen to wear their money, whether that be a £50 foundation or a £500 pair of shoes.
HOW DOES SOMEONE’S SPENDING AFFECT YOUR OPINION OF THEM?
special thanks to the tweeters who helped with this post