The Shame of Higher Prices


About the feeling we get when we face prices we can’t afford


Each and every one of us has had at least one situation when you spotted something nice you wanted to buy, and you see the price tag, and then the odd unpleasant feeling rushes from within, overpowering you. It is something between guilt and fear, but I would most likely describe it as shame. But why? What is behind that shame..?

There are various situations where we get into a shop, a restaurant or simply take our kid out and we want to buy something or pay for certain services. Yet, at the same time, the majority of us gets stuck with the anxiety of how much it will cost. Usually, when we get to see the price tag on certain goods we start to frown, as for people with kids, it gets so frustrating for kids themselves because it creates a gap between what they want to have and play with, and what they actually can.

The point here is not the inability to buy everything you want, for that makes us and our kids spoiled. But the accent is on the feeling of shame, guilt, and fear when we face the prices that seem unaffordable, no matter what we are.

It is not about the price actually. It is about our pocket – the viewpoint from which we see a price on the shelf. It is the thing that creates the gap. It is the thing that creates uneasiness and fear and shame of not being able to buy something, and the constant threat of not having enough money, therefore labeling the product by “out of the question” status.

The problem is not in the price but in our inability to afford to pay that price, yet we would like to have a certain thing very much. Therefore, it creates an intertwined collision of our abilities opposing our wishes. The wish meets the inability to afford and provide the good we want. That is the root of the feeling of shame and fear we get to feel when facing goods we want with higher prices.

If we had enough, we would have been neither afraid nor ashamed. But the problem does not derive from someone’s inability to have more. It happens to all of us to have less than we want. The problem derives from the lack of input in having more money than we possibly think we can. Cos, yes we can. But the amount of money is not defined by outer capabilities, but by things we do, defined by whether doing something that we like or something that we need to like. Between these two the difference is vast. Whether you are living your life story the way you want to, or you are counting down those boring working hours in someone else’s. So, by doing what is in you, what you like, not what the society and the system like you to do, you are crossing that gap. In other words, the things that are in you will cross the gap between abilities and wishes, opening your resources to make yourself, as well as your kids, limitless. As for doing things in order to just pay the rent – it is a mere survival, but that is out of the scope of this article.

So, to conclude the message – the problem does not lie with high prices, but with the low amount of money in your pocket. And that derives from your attitude toward yourself, whether you do things you like and believe in, or something you need to do to survive, usually walking someone else’s path. So, don’t be afraid nor ashamed when you see an expensive price tag or a high bill with things you want to have, for it is not the goods are expensive, but you chose your life is cheap.


“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”   Epictetus

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