I read a great blog post recently about how there’s a jealousy of a different kind when it comes to spending. Instead of feeling bad because you’re not making enough or spending enough to keep up with the Joneses, you might feel bad because you’re not spending less and bring more frugal like the Smiths!
In case you didn’t click over to read the blog, I’ve quoted my favourites bits, here:
“I don’t feel judged when I read that someone builds her own furniture or sews his own clothes. I admire the ingenuity and file away the idea for possible use in the future.”
“When you read what other folks do to save money, don’t feel judged. In real life, listen to what others are thinking or saying, but don’t let their notions bring you down. They’re not you. They aren’t living your life. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, just as you have yours. Make the most of what you have. Do what works for you. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare your Present Self to your Past Self. Your goal is to constantly improve your own life, if only in little ways.”
“When I post a tip or technique at Get Rich Slowly, I’m not saying you’re a financial failure if you don’t follow it. I’m simply trying to share ideas that have worked for others, or ideas that have worked for me. Apply the ideas to your own life in your own way. Or don’t. Take what you want and leave the all the rest behind.”
I love this! It ties into my last ‘When to Splurge’ post, and one I wrote way back when about Scholastic books orders and how I would never buy a kids book new. When you write about money, the reality is that some people will feel ‘judged’ because what they put in the splurge category might be something I put in the save category.
I'm here to educate, enlighten, and inspire in my posts, not to judge - I hope I'm hitting the mark."
When you write about money, you can be a bit of a mood killer at parties. People I talk to assume that just because I strive to be frugal and make smart choices with my money, that I never splurge on anything and only buy the lowest priced item available.
Someone will be talking about their vacation and then turn to me saying, “I’m sure I shouldn’t say this in front of you, but we’re staying right on the resort instead of going with a cheaper place,” or “We’re so bad – we still owe on our student loans but we’re buying a bigger house.” Or the friend that admitted he spent $80,000 on a brand new truck. I have to admit – my jaw dropped on that one (and I’m usually pretty good at hiding my opinion).
I’ve always tried to explain that there can be room for these things in every budget because the point isn’t to save every penny you make until you’re too old to enjoy it. The point is to be honest with yourself about your goals, and how your actions right now affect those goals.
So when a few weeks ago I read an article about how smart spending includes splurge and ‘frivolous’ items, I was thrilled! In this article they asked folks in the frugality and money-advice business what they splurge on, and what they would never buy.
Here’s a few of their answers: Jeff Yeager, author of The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door splurges on high-quality flower bulbs, Bontrager bicycle tires, Dewalt power tools and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. He wouldn’t buy a cell phone, bottled water, a gym membership and “green” household cleaners.
J.D. Roth, author of GetRichSlowly.org and the book Your Money: The Missing Manual splurges on a top-of-the-line Apple Mac laptop, his monthly Crossfit membership, and travel and travel gear. He doesn’t like spending on cars, clothes and recurring expenses.
Here’s just of few of my splurges and saves:
Glasses and sunglasses (they’re on your face – everyday!)
Kids clothing (because they wreck them)
My shoes (because I always seem to wreck them)
Groceries (I keep a spreadsheet to know a ‘stock up’ price when I see it)
My six-year-old pairs slim fitting Justin Bieber t-shirts with flouncy skirts and wildly patterned tights. My three-year-old wears only dresses, the fancier the better. Even my 22-month-old has a distinct sense of style – she demands comfy zippered sleepers day and night. Me? I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to clothing.
The problem is two-fold. First, I’ve been baby-making for seven years. I’ve gone from 135lbs to 215 lbs and now hover about 20 lbs above my goal weight. I’ve been buying clothing for seven years to either accommodate a growing belly, or hide a not-shrinking-rapidly-enough belly.
Second, I’m cheap. I hate wasting money, and therefore don’t like to risk dropping a chunk of cash on a shirt my kids might ruin with their sticky fingers or I might shrink or grow out of a month or two after purchase.
So I pick up shirts here, jeans there, for $6, $15, $45, $70. Some $5 shirts get 20 to 30 wears before they’re done, while a few $70 blazers or dresses are worn just once. There’s no plan to my spending and certainly no style!
One of my favourite authors and bloggers is Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom. She recently posted about creating your ‘mom uniform’ – building a wardrobe based around a few pulled-together looks.
Then I found a great article right here on Yummy Mummy Club to help me cull my current wardrobe, and I started browsing websites and blogs (I spent a lot of time on http://www.aintnomomjeans.com) to get an idea of what ‘looks’ would look good on me. I’ve narrowed it down, and I’m excited to have a purpose to my clothing shopping as I head to San Francisco this week for a conference (with a little outlet shopping thrown in).
I’m hoping that by creating a real sense of cohesion in my wardrobe, I’ll save money in the long run!"