Terry Pratchett had a really perfect explanation for one of the many reasons why it’s more expensive to be poor than to be rich:
“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of ok for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”
By this model, one reason the rich are so rich is because they manage to spend less money… and not just on boots.
For those not familiar, and getting not too spoiler for context, Vimes gets to know the daughter of the oldest, wealthiest family in the city and has lots of occasion to observe the habits of the rich. He goes on to observe how wealthy households never throw anything away – they buy top quality and use it forever/pack it for the next generation.
The bad financial choices (buying the $10 pair of boots every year when the $50 pair will last a decade) are not truly choices, good or bad. They’re the only option.