Pinnacle, Dolls, and the Consumerist Undertow

Earlier this week, I purchased Pinnacle Studio 18 Ultimate. One of my goals for this year is to start making Youtube videos. Whether this happens remains to be seen, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile.

As I am delving into this, it is hard not to feel a little overwhelmed. There is so much that this software is capable of doing that there are hours of training tutorials. As I mentioned yesterday, I took video of my little cousin’s birthday that I had hoped to do a basic edit on and post highlights from. This is easier said then done as I am still trying to learn how to use this program.

It is hard work-buy-consume-dienot to wonder if I should buy a desktop for large file projects like video editing. My only computer is this laptop which is a few years old and already has roughly 70-75% of it’s storage space full. Running this program seems to go very slowly and I do not yet know if this is normal or if it is because of my computer. This can be a potentially very expensive  hobby (somewhat disheartening to now be seeing the software being sold online for half the price I paid for it at Best Buy – on sale)to get into and I want to refrain from going out and spending money without doing proper research first. I can safely say that between video equipment and dolls, I’m going to need very strong will-power to continue trying to save money instead of spend it. Ebay

Resisting the urge not to get sucked in feels like an uphill battle. My self from 3 years ago would be shaking her head and scolding the way me from today spends money (which me from 3 years ago also had less of). It started innocently enough – Once I started working at my current job and could afford it, I invested in a new car for myself (after having driven a 20+ year old rust bucket with hit and miss reliability for 8 years). This seemed a reasonable purchase and still feels like a good decision 2.5 years later. Then I moved into a house where I started cooking less and eating takeout more (small, shared kitchen space, spending less time at home, etc). Then after I got my Lammily doll and came down with doll fever, I’ve been spending increasingly more money on doll related stuff – ebay will be the death of me, I have a “watching” list a mile long. At some point, early last year, I started allowing myself to spend this money “because I deserved it”. The fact that 2015 was a particularly stressful year for me personally did not help, as these purchases also acted as a sort of retail therapy – a momentary burst of happy feeling to counter an ocean of despair. Despite knowing better, I did this anyway. Because it was easy and because I could.

spending

A screenshot from my Mint.com account comparing spending in 2014 and 2015 for “shopping”. The amounts aren’t as important as the striking difference in spending habit. 

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Reflections on Socio-Economic Status

Scrolling through Facebook this afternoon, I came across the following Slate article: When You’re Poor, Life’s Little Annoyances Actually Ruin Your Life. Reading this, I find myself reflecting on my own life – my background, my life choices, privileges I’ve been afforded, and how easily my life could have been very different.

equality-and-equity

Socio-Economic Status, or SES, is basically an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. And this is relative. As a nation, the United States is fairly well-off. As well, our perceptions of where we fit along that spectrum will vary based on where we are compared to those around us. This accounts for why sometimes people who seem to have a much higher SES can still feel they have less if they are surrounded by others who have even more. This is why there are Americans who complain about, say, not having a tech gadget while there are many other people (including fellow Americans) that are starving. Chances are the guy upset about his tablet doesn’t have as much interaction with the guy that can’t afford to keep his utilities on.

There is a running joke between my boyfriend any I that anything over $30 is a major purchase. This is because we come from different SE backgrounds. I grew up in a series of trailer homes and other rentals, moving around frequently. My parents divorced when I was young, so I was raised by my single mother and her parents. I went to public school and was taught to stretch money out by repairing, recycling, or doing without. On the other hand, my boyfriend’s parents remained together, they owned their own home, and he was able to attend a private high school. He doesn’t do much in the way of repairing or recycling. As a result, the ways in which we view and spend money tend to be different.

On the other hand, my own adult life is so different from that of my parents that I run into the same thing from the other side. When my mother was my age, she had 2 children (I was 9, my brother was 5), was separated and on the verge of divorce, driving some beat up vehicle, and working whatever job she could just to make ends meet. While she had some college, she had never graduated. My life went in a different direction. I have my BA, I’m fortunate enough to be working a job I like, have never married or had children, and have the income and credit that allowed me a buy a new car with all the warranties and a maintenance package.

I’m not really sure if there’s a point to be made with any of this, but, this is what is going through my head at the moment. I’m thankful to be in a position where I have (so far) successfully done better than my parents (which, I am led to believe, is every parent’s hope for their kids) while not taking that for granted. I’m cognizant of the fact that, while I have worked and continue to work hard, there is no such thing as “self-made”. I grew up in a home environment that valued reading and education, I had adults that were able to help me with my homework, I had access to resources via the local libraries and schools that were paid for with tax dollars, I was eligible for need-based financial aid to go to college, and there are plenty of privileges I’ve had and things I haven’t had to worry about because I’m white, cis-gendered, heterosexual, and happened to have been born in a time and place where women had relatively more rights and freedoms.