Pop quiz time! Please answer Yes or No to the following 10 questions.
- When going out, do you use taxi cabs almost exclusively?
- Do you spend a lot of money on makeup each month?
- Do you shop often, but complain about never have anything to wear?
- Do you “need” to buy a new outfit for every occasion?
- Does your boyfriend or partner pay for most dates (or just in general)? If you don’t have a boyfriend or partner, does this responsibility generally fall on your parents and/or friends?
- Does “hair maintenance” have its own line item in your budget?
- Do you get pedicures, manicures and other types of spa treatments more than once a month?
- Do you only frequent certain types of neighbours for drinks and dining, especially if they’re higher end?
- Do you often say, “but I deserve this!” while ringing through a new purchase or expense?
- Do you even have a budget for living expenses?
If you’ve answered Yes to at least 5 of these questions, then congratulations: you are a Princess! If you watch Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s Princess, then you probably have an idea of what this post is about. If you don’t, then maybe you should.
Like many of you, I kind of resent the fact that the term “Princess” gets such a bad rap these days, especially since we’ve had some kick-ass princesses in our lifetime: the brave and kind-hearted Princess Diana, the dependable and classic Kate Middleton (OK, so she’s a Duchess — but close enough!), and unofficial princess Jackie O. All of these women have their own sense of strength and style. Some day, I’d like for the word “Princess” to once again refer exclusively to these kinds of badass women.
Alas, in the 2000s — the age of consumption — a new breed of princess has arisen: the ordinary woman (or man!) like you or me, who thinks that they’re extraordinary enough to demand and receive special treatment from everyone around them. Essentially, this means that they take from more than they give to those around them.
Perhaps this individual is constantly borrowing money from you, or, knowing that you’re not a Trump, still expects you to foot the bill whenever you dine out or grab drinks together. Perhaps this is a person who constantly runs up their (or their loved one’s) credit and store cards without bothering to pay off anything, ever. Maybe this person believes that, despite pulling in an average salary, she deserves to frequent the same hair salons and spas as the city’s affluent population and celebrities (who often get services comped, in exchange for word-of-mouth advertising).
Does this sound familiar to you? Does this sound like you? Believe it or not, you’re far from alone. In fact, I believe that this “Princess Complex” is becoming a near-epidemic in today’s modern, ultra-consumerist society. As I’ve mentioned before, less than one generation ago, many indulgences such as spa days, manicures and high-end widgets were considered a luxury, not a necessity. Heck, even just a few years ago, those razor-thin flip cell phones were considered top-of-the-line products affordable to only a fraction of the population. Now, all of a sudden, I can’t live without a certain touch-screen smart phone, and neither can my tweenage cousins!
In next week’s post, I’ll go over why the “Princess” act is counter-productive to building financial stability and long-term wealth. In the post after that, I’ll provide strategies for dealing with the Princess(es) in your life; if you’re one yourself, I’ll tell you how to adjust your attitude for everyone’s benefit. Until then: See if you can spend the next week avoiding the idea of “crowning” glory!
Written by M. Alice Allen