by Afiya J. Watkins
From the outside looking in, it would appear that Felice has a perfect life. She is a stay-at-home mother of six children, lives in a large suburban home and drives a new car. The glamorous blonde also treats herself to weekly manicures, tans and monthly hair extensions. When she steps out of her home, she looks the part of a kept wife whose every whim is being satisfied by a wealthy husband, but in financial matters, looks are often deceiving.
What many don’t know about Felice is that she is on the verge of financial ruin. Living a life of conspicuous consumption or as many refer to as “Keeping up with the Jones’ ” is taking a major toll on the mother of six and her husband, Phil. Like millions of Americans they are living a lifestyle they cannot afford. Although Phil brings home $5,000 or $6,000 a month, their expenses are almost three times that amount per month. Felice says she starts each day at a popular coffee chain, which adds up to $300 to $400 a month. She also has maxed out all six of her credit cards and has resorted to secretly using her husband’s cards for cash advances. She is able to hide this fact since she is the one who pays the bills.
Felice spends nearly $60 a week on beauty treatments admitting that her husband is unaware of the exorbitant cost of these luxuries. “I take care of the bills, so my husband doesn’t realize how much money I’ve spent on hair and nails and extensions.” she states. Felice estimates that she has spent a staggering $34,000 just on the cost of hair extensions in the last two years. At home, Felice says she’s spent around $5,000 on silk flowers. She also commissioned murals for almost every room of her house, which average $2,000 to $4,000 each.
Felice immensely enjoys shopping at the mall and online but states that she is frequently left feeling “depressed” from the debt that she’s incurred. It was only until a caring neighbor became so concerned with the family’s financial problems and wrote into The Oprah Show that Felice begin to take a serious look at her habits and admit to herself that she was out of control.
As Oprah touches on in this YouTube video, overspending, conspicuous consumption and the need to impress outsiders are all inextricably linked to self-esteem and how we view ourselves. Felice says she’s ready to stop living outside of herself. “I wanted people to like me and I was the only child and I got anything I wanted,” she says. “And I kind of have been living the same way with my kids.”
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