McMansions aren’t just critiqued on an architectural level. Another argument is that owners of such homes are not frugal with their money:
As a gift to the institution that gave her so much joy, the former school teacher left $2.5 million to the Council Bluffs Public Library…
Cook supported the library financially throughout her life, thanks in part to money inherited from her parents, who also passed on their love of books and learning to their daughter. As an adult, Cook would stop by after school let out. She taught from 1964 to 1997 at Norris and the now-closed Bancroft Junior Highs in the Omaha Public Schools system. After retirement she spent even more time at the library, volunteering with the Friends of the Library organization…
He said Cook maintained the wealth she inherited through an unassuming lifestyle, spending her money wisely while living in a modest home on the west end of the city.
“She lived frugally. She didn’t have a McMansion,” her attorney said. “She took care of her money.”
In other words, people who buy McMansions spend lavishly. Such homes are testaments to their money, perhaps through their size or bad design. In contrast, people who are good with their money (and can donate big sums to the local library) live in unassuming houses. They don’t feel a need to show off their money with a big, flashy home.
Of course, these are broad generalizations. Cases like these reinforce the idea that not spending on a big house helps lead to more long-term wealth. Someone who had $2.5 million to donate to the local library could have easily afforded a decent-sized McMansion near Omaha and still have had $1.5+ million to donate. I think the idea is that buying a McMansion is a sign of broader spending patterns but this is not necessarily the case. This is a good example of citing McMansions as shorthand for other undesirable behaviors.