You've touched on something that I could write a book on, or perhaps several books. Of course, there are many books on the subject already.
I am not of Scottish ancestry, and I think the bit about the "frugal" Scot is a bit of an ethnic stereotype, but perhaps with some truth behind it.
I grew up in a house where my parents had grown up during the Great Depression, and I heard about the deprivations of this constantly. My parents were always very conservative with their finances, and lived well below their income. They were always fearful that my father would be thrown out of work (he never was, and held a middle management executive position), so lived as if they had to have savings to endure a long bout of unemployment (having the trauma of the Great Depression linger in their consciousness). My folks moved from PA to Long Island, NY and bought a 3 bedroom house, the first house they owned. They took out a mortgage like everyone else. But I later learned that they had enough money in their savings account at the time they bought the house to have paid cash for it.
You are also talking to someone who drives a 21-year-old vehicle.
There are lots of books on budgeting, financial planning and frugal living I could recommend to you.
On the other side of the ledger, let me say this. There is a lot to say for "social acceptance" in our society, and a lot of "social acceptance" depends on things like the clothes you wear, the car you drive, your appearance, etc.
Now, if you read more books about the rich and how they conduct themselves, and I particularly mean the "old money rich" or people who not only have money but have had it in their families for some time (as opposed to the "new rich"/nouveaux riches, who are often show-offs), you'll find that they often purchase "classic" clothes or "classic" cars and the like, i.e., things that are timelessly in style and that can be kept for a long time and will always be in style. So they don't necessarily spend a lot of money on these things, they are just very careful about what they buy.
I guess another way to put this is that there is a "happy medium" involved in purchasing and owning/maintaining things like cars and clothes.