Tuesday, February 07, 2012

You can take the girl out of the cheap, but...

Disclaimer: I am not trying to be appear ungrateful and insensitive in this post. I am truly grateful for the generous gifts I have received. I'm just trying to be honest about something I really struggle with. I do believe that I'm not alone in this.

Yeah, I'm cheap. Proud of it.

I was one of those people who used to drive to the gas station advertising the cheapest gas in the city limits. Nothing gives me a greater thrill than getting clothing for ridiculously low prices, or three boxes of cereal for the price of one. Nothing horrifies me more than feeling pressured to pay full price for something. And so you can imagine my dilemma when, for the second year in a row, I have been given a gift card to Anthropologie.

Yes, I know, I'm a spoiled brat. What female in America would complain about free money to spend at Anthro? Am I out of my mind?

Let me just back it up by saying that my mom's creed has always been, "My life's dream is to be able to walk into Target and buy whatever I want." So, yes, I am from Target stock. Target is my people. I simply was not raised at Anthro prices.

A tee-shirt at Anthro costs $70. A TEE-SHIRT. As I typed that, my heart actually failed me a little. What about a new pair of skinny jeans? Oh, that sounds fun! Oh, $160? Ain't no thing! Yeah, no, it is a HUGE thing. What the what? I'm sorry, but even if someone gave me all the money in the free world, I could not bring myself to pay that much for an article of clothing. I just.can't.do.it. Unless, of course, that article of clothing is going to clean my toilets. Only then would I MAYBE consider it.

So, you see my problem. I would rather have 10 adorable shirts that cost me $10 each than one t-shirt that will render me unable to ever even look in my kids' direction when they are eating, let alone touch them. Ben gets into this state at church when he's wearing his custom suit that makes me laugh inside. He deftly scoops all the crayon-bearing, snot-nosed children around him, maintaining a 3 foot perimeter at all times. Not me. I snatch up those Primary kids in all their booger and spit up and graham cracker crumb glory and get it all over myself in the process, because I know my sweater cost me $14.95 and it's not the end of the world. See? Cheapness=peace of mind+favorite Primary substitute teacher.

My cousin is a designer for Kate Spade. I would probably rather stick a needle in my eye before I'd even consider purchasing a designer purse, but make those bags $20 a piece? I'm all over it. But then I have to take it one step further. The cheap person's disease is not only restricted to buying cheap stuff, but they feel the need to tell every stranger on the street just how cheap it was. All the time at school, I get compliments on my coats. "Target!" I blurt out, as the person stares at me quizzically. But every once in a while, that other person will say, "NO way, I just don't believe it!" and that makes it all worth it. As for the Kate Spade loot, I should just smile mysteriously and say, "Why, thank you," when someone notices my fancy handbag. But no, I just have to yell out, "$20 at a sample sale!" and I just made myself nerdy cheap girl again (Ben gets so embarrassed. He loves to buy and wear nice things. Conversely, I'm embarrassed for him because of it. Our marriage is balanced.)

So, any advice? How do I get over my cheapness long enough to forget that $50 would go such a long way at H&M, but will only get me half a shirt at Anthro? I know what you're thinking. I should just buy some more latte bowls and be done with it.

Sidenote: With my Anthro gift card last year, I purchased a purse and shoes on clearance. Within a month, the rosettes on the bag were falling off, and the flower on my shoe fell off as well. I fixed them both with super glue. So much for better quality, eh?