The irony here is that while you would think I was learning about hard work and money, I really wasn’t. I was learning how to be a consumer, and I was thinking about what I wanted to buy next. And instead of putting money away in a savings account, I was spending money on low-quality clothes with high-quality price tags. Sometimes when my mom would compliment me on an outfit, I would tell her how much it cost, and she would say, “Wow. You probably could have made it for a lot less”. I would reply with something like, “yeah, but who wants to sew?” and be on my way. This lasted for a very, very long time. And then one day I realized that I was stupid.
For the past several years, I have been living the life of the poor person that I am. I have been living well within my means and still, I am struggling to make those two ends that seem galaxies apart, meet. I am thirty years old and I feel that, financially, I am an infant. And while I have a plan, and I know that it will not be this way in a couple years, I find myself looking through store windows and wanting. And yet…other days I prefer the simple way I live…I find comfort in wearing the same clothes over and over and over until they have holes and lose buttons. And even then, I hide the holes and use safety pins to keep things closed. I feel like I’m doing something good and I take a little bit of pride in re-using things and recycling and living without the excess. It’s kind of thrilling, really. At the same time, it reminds me of my age…and how I am about the same age my mother was when we shopped at Kmart. And now I understand why.
However, last night I was at the mall, and I found a dress for $16. Of course, this was a great deal, so I bought it. Then, I went to Express because they were having a clearance sale, and I found a shirt that I liked. When I looked at the sale price, it was $30. When I held the shirt up to the light, the cotton was so thin, I could see through the material. I knew there would be a hole in the armpit after a few washes, and it probably cost the company 20 cents to make. But that teenage girl that still lives inside got the best of me, and I wanted it. I rarely go to the mall anymore and even though $30 is quite a splurge for me, I bought it (I am still having some guilt, in case you hadn’t noticed). As I was leaving the store, I heard my mother’s voice in the back of my head, “Honey, you could have made that for a lot cheaper.”
I need to buy a sewing maching.