Finance Expert Explains 4 Reasons Why Some People Are Able To Afford ‘Extra Stuff’ But

We all know that our current economy, even as it shows signs of improvement, is tough for most of us. So how come we see so many people going on lavish vacations and living social lives that seem more boom-time than bust? 

One financial expert has identified 4 deceptively simple reasons why some people are able to afford extras in this economy.

Despite wildly inflated prices, wage stagnation, a tightening job market and an abysmal housing situation, a huge proportion of Americans are still spending money like everything is hunky-dory. 

So much so, in fact, that The Wall Street Journal recently did an investigative dive into the matter and found that companies like Delta Airlines and Ticketmaster posted record profits last year even while most of us have been lamenting about the economic state of things. 

So what gives?

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Vee, a finance expert, and writer known for her YouTube channel The Broken Wallet, said that the reasons why some people are able to afford extras and you’re not ultimately comes down to four very simple distinctions.

1. Not everyone is broke — some people actually have a lot more money than they let on.

That may seem a bit too simplistic by half, but Vee said it’s all too easy to forget this, especially as we’re scrolling our social media feeds. “While it’s true that we all deal with the effects of higher fuel costs and higher food [costs],” she said, “inflation hits people differently.” 

This is particularly true right now when the substantial growth in wages that has begun to dent the impacts of inflation has been found to have mostly impacted the top 10% of earners, not those who need a financial boost the most.

But Vee went on to explain that myriad other factors like a dual-income household or geographic location impacting the cost of living, can make one person’s disposable income vastly larger than yours even if you’re in the same career or income bracket.  

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2. Some people just don’t care about going into debt. 

The second factor at play is also easily forgotten. A lot of the people you see online or in your social circle who seem to be living the high life are probably doing it all on credit cards. 

“You have to keep in mind that there are some people who just simply don’t care about having credit card debt,” she said. She then described how she’d recently gone down a TikTok rabbit hole of people talking about how much debt they’re carrying. 

“A lot of these people were walking around with five-figure credit card balances,” she said, “and the thing that was really crazy is that a lot of them didn’t care.” 

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What Vee witnessed is in line with what The Wall Street Journal discovered in its report. Many of us have become nihilistic about the state of things, and we’ve given up trying to even be good with our money or plan for the future. 

“They were like, look, you only live once. I’m going to have fun,” she said of these people. “And to them, as long as they were paying the minimum, they didn’t care about the balance.” That’s obviously not a smart way to manage your money, but it’s certainly relatable given the times.

3. Many people supplement their income with side hustles, gig economy work, or multiple jobs.

In short, not everyone is going to a single 9-5 job and living the high life. Tons of people nowadays are working more than one job. One recent study found that a whopping 46% of Gen Zers and 37% of millennials are doing so.

“[This] kind of goes back to the first point about ‘not everyone’s broke,'” Vee said. “I’ve heard of people who use their nine-to-five job for solely their living expenses, and then they’ll get a side hustle and they’ll use all of that money for fun.”

So while you’re scrolling through the highlight reel of their lives that they’re posting on TikTok or Instagram, they may actually be in the trenches working far more than it looks like in order to afford all those Eras Tour tickets

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4. Delayed gratification.

This reason why some people are able to afford extras is probably the simplest of them all. Some people are just good old-fashioned scrimp-and-save types and you’re watching them enjoy the fruits of all that penny-pinching.

Vee explained that these are “people who … don’t have a lot of disposable income to do what they want whenever they want. So instead they’re patient,” coming up with a plan, saving up some money, and then enjoying discretionary spending sometimes years down the line. 

Regardless, inequality is inherent to our economy, and that means the good times and bad are going to hit all of us differently.

What we see people doing on social media isn’t necessarily the whole truth. In fact, it rarely is. That’s one of the reasons Vee, along with many other financial gurus, have leaned into the “deinfluence your life” trend. 

It’s a movement toward tuning out the constant messaging we get, especially on social media, to buy, buy, buy and instead taking a more mindful approach that focuses on our needs and more meaningful discretionary spending.

This awareness isn’t necessarily going to solve your financial problems, of course. But comparing ourselves to others is one of the quickest ways to feel worse about our own situations and to end up making decisions that only exacerbate our problems. 

That high-flying life you see people living on Instagram and TikTok is only half the story. The more we can all focus on our own needs and resources and stop comparing ourselves to others, the better — and more financially stable — we’ll all be.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.

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