Saturday, May 2, 2009

Recovered Spendthrift

This afternoon I went out with a friend who came to town for a visit. She and I used to work together, back when I got paid in dollars and cents instead of kisses and hugs. We haven't seen each other in a couple of years and it was wonderful to catch up over coffee. Afterward, we set our minds on shopping (my all time favorite hobby). I picked up a few excellent finds for Cayla at deep discounts, while my friend paid top dollar for everything she saw. I mention this because it made me realize just how much I've changed. Change is often a gradual thing, and the one doing the changing doesn't even realize it's happening. Or so I discovered. While shopping, I guess my friend found it amusing that my mouth gaped at the $79.00 tee shirt she picked up, and my eyes were as wide as saucers as I quietly watched her try on pair after pair of $75.00++ jeans. Within a couple of hours I had witnessed her drop hundreds on a new wardrobe (a very cute, very stylish wardrobe I might add) for her upcoming vacation. Each time she turned over a price tag and caught the look in my eye she would say, "you have changed so much. You're not the Rachel I remember." And once she added, "you really are the quintessential stay-at-home mom now." And let me say, she wasn't condescending, she was genuinely sweet about it, and I found it complimentary. While I've always been somewhat frugal, there was a time when I would have thought nothing of spending several hundred dollars at one time on clothing for myself. I'd whip out my store credit card, swipe it through the machine, and smile as my treasures were bagged for me. But that was then..... .....and this is now. Not only did Cory and I spend the first 7 years of our marriage paying off serious debt that I'd accrued, but I found a new way to shop. Anymore, I think it's as much sport for me as it is shopping to find the best deals I can. In fact, whenever someone compliments something I own, I find myself compelled to tell them where I bought it, and exactly how much little I paid for it. It almost embarrasses me if someone thinks I own something extravagant, because I don't want them thinking I spent too much money on something frivolous. None the less, despite my very comfortable, fairly cute (and very inexpensive) outfit I donned for my trip to Nordstrom, I still felt like a fish out of water. What was once second nature to me, now felt like culture shock. I don't mind how much my friends spend on things. That's between them and their checkbook. But for me, I'm sticking with my 'find the lowest price tag' game! Having walked on both sides of the fence, the grass might not be as green over here, but the water bill is sure a lot lower :)


kim said...

I can relate to this post. I buy as cheap as possible and also feel compelled to tell everyone of the bargains I've found. i love to get the best deal! Definitely a sport! Throwing out the credit & living a cash-only life was the BEST decision our family ever made!

Clare said...

Your post gives me hope that if I keep working on it, one day I will give up my immature desire to keep up with the "Joneses". I have to remember that I have lots of friends and family who are more proud of my intention to get out of debt than awed by extravagant (wasteful!) purchases.