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?


The McKay's said...

Hailey, you're adorable. I'm more like Ben. I love expensive things :) First of all, there is NOTHING WRONG with wanting to save money. You shouldn't apologize for it! And it sounds like you're good at finding amazing things for cheap prices, so I don't think you should stop that! But, when you get a fun gift card to an expensive store, just embrace it! remind yourself it's "play money" because it is JUST THAT (since it was given to you). Buy yourself something fun, something you know will last forever and something that can be a night out shirt so it doesn't risk getting ruined by the kiddos. You deserve it! And post a pic of what you decide on :)

Molly said...

This post cracked me up. I can totally relate to everything you said:) latte bowl and all. I had a $50 anthro card in my wallet for over a year... every time I went in there... I was all stressed because even choosing one of the cute but cheaper items in the store... I would still have to shell out another $50. I ended up using it on a bunch of knobs for an old dresser I fixed up. lame.

Hailey said...

Ha ha the irony is, I probably don't end up saving that much money. I just have more cheap crap. :) I hope I'm not coming off as ungrateful. It really is difficult for me to spend a lot of money on clothes. But thanks for your support, Erin! I do need to bite the bullet!

Jewels said...

We are SO kindreds!!! Dude, I am this exact girl. Not only am I super cheap, but I too feel the need to tell anyone who compliments me on my cheap fashion find where I got, when I got it and how much I paid for it. I adore items from Anthro and j.Crew, but seriously - who has $278 to spend on nude heels? I always hear how if you spend more money on things it's better quality and will last longer, and in some cases that's true. I have purchased things at Banana (see? not even that spensy in some circles and it's like the brass ring to me) that I have lasted me for years, but I love the $4 v-neck tees I can get at Forever21 and I'll wear them until...well, until I can't anymore.

You are in good company, my dear. Someday we'll go to Target or H&M and we'll do some real shopping. Just don't be surprised when you hear me murmur, "Man....$14? That's a little steep".

Beeswax said...

I found Melanie wandering around the anthro not buying anything with her gift card. so I think she's like you. I am not. I won't spend 70$ of my own money on a t shirt, but I have no problem with gifts. Actually, it's my favorite. Just haunt the clearance closet, and you'll come up with something great sooner or later.

Also, I'm starting to become an old person. I want fewer, nicer things. I'm tired of wearing cheap shoes that don't fit my 10.5 AA feet, and so now I buy nice ones at Nordstrom or sometimes Zappos and wear them out. (Except for the 9 months of the year when I wear Old Navy flip flops, of course.)

Hailey said...

Kelly, it's true, I can't buy cheap shoes any more. It's a deal-breaker in New York. Your feet will hate you! I'm embarrassed to say how many pairs of $30 shoes I got at Nordstrom Last Chance when I was out there (just ask Melanie.)

Jenni said...

We need to live closer together and I'd break you out of that " can't stand to spend the gift card" feeling! Clearly I'm more like Ben in this regard. I love to shop and enjoy all things Anthro. I like a deal too though. I say spend money on what you love and want to last. If I find a pair of jeans that fit perfect and they're super $$$ I literally stalk them until sale. I've been known to pay full price for things as well but I think as long as you love it and see yourself wearing it a ton for years to come, it's totally worth it. Now go pick something out already, girl!!

bionictrout said...

The economist in me tells me that if something is on sale, something is wrong with it.

Lori said...

I totally understand, although I like to call it "Bargain Shopper!"

Target rocks, and if it falls apart, at least you only spent $10, not $70.

erin said...

Come visit and Ill take you to a British Anthro... after that youll think the ones in the states are a bargain! I want to see what you end up getting with your card :)

Kristen said...

Amen and amen. In this instance you are me and I am you. Get 10 cheap shirts for the price of one nice shirt? Me. People compliment me on my clothes and I say thank you and wait a split second to see if they want to know where I got it. If they don't ask, I blurt out "Old Navy on sale for $5.97". It's all about reliving the rush over and over, baby.

And what you said is also true of me. I probably don't spend less on clothes than the next guy, but I have double or triple the amount. The logic of "I love it and will wear it a ton" is lost on me. I get so sick of seeing the same things and hate to wear things often so getting expensive things won't justify it. I will still not wear it a lot because I have a rotation and I can't stand to wear things over and over and over. Things rarely get worn out before I get tired of them. So it makes much more sense to buy "cheap crap" because it is all lasting about the same amount of time anyway. Plus, if you like trendy stuff like me, it is out of style the next day and then what...you've spent a gob of money and it's useless.

Plus Anthro is not really my style. I think half of clothes look like a grandma's closet from the 70's. There, I said it. I do love their housewares though.

Hannah S said...

I can totally relate to you! I used to be a GAP snob (that was as expensive as I can afford....on sale with my rewards points) but their quality, esp shirts, has gone downhill.
I had a friend who bought two wardrobes for her children. The "disposable" outfits from H&M. It didn't matter if they got stained, ripped, etc bcse she could replace them for cheap. But then she bought them a few nicer pieces for special occasions.
I am super cheap too. And Tyler is for his everyday wardrobe. He still wears stuff from high school, over 10 years ago. BUT when it came to interviewing for jobs, he went all out and spent the $1000 for a suit and $60 for a shirt. Yikes. His closet is starting to push mine aside. He is like Ben....no touching at church. He freaks out. It's sort of irritating. Why spend money on a suit that you'll just mess up anyway? But sometimes I secretly want a nice dress....but I am like a child and manage to spill on myself at every meal so I can't justify buying such things.
My other dilemma, that I'm not sure you suffer from, is the "I can't eat out w/o a coupon" or "shop unless it's on sale and even better with a coupon or gift card". I spend hours browsing internet for coupon codes or deals.....so in the long run it might not be worth it. And then my experience is not as enjoyable knowing I paid full price. Am I retarded?
I totally relate to the coat situation. I proclaim, with pride, where I bought things, on sale. But it makes it awkward for the person who gave the compliment so I try not to do that so much.
Thanks for being so candid!

Hailey said...

Hannah, I'm the same way with online orders. I also refuse to pay for shipping! If I order something online, I will only do it if I somehow get it shipped for free!

Travis and Rachel said...

I would be so bummed if you changed how your heart beats!!! I think it is great! I do love the fact that Ben is the complete opposite all of this and had to chuckle at his comment.

Carina said...

Your heart would skip if I told you how much my new Kate Spade bag cost (I had to pool all my Christmas money to get it; Lisa spotted it right away!)

I used to be like you, and while I still love a bargain and hate to buy expensive things, I am SICK AND TIRED of buying a dozen crap shirts or shoes and then having them fall apart on me in less than a year. They don't fit right, they make your feet hurt, they don't wear well, they don't come clean.

I'm beginning to realize that buying fewer things that are more expensive (because they are well made with high quality components) saves me money in the end.

I'm not a teenager anymore, I refuse to have a disposable wardrobe.
(And anyone who shops quality will tell you that almost everything at Anthropologie, while beautiful and nicely designed, is utter crap quality-wise.) I have a few things from Target that have lasted, but most of their clothes fall apart and are so cheaply made that they wear out quickly and look terrible--it's almost single-use clothing.

The next time you hit a Kate Spade sample sale I will reimburse you. Swearsies. Let me put it another way--hand over the Kate Spade and no one gets hurt.

Carina said...

(p.s. Ben's comment wins.)

Kate said...

Hailey, I'm like you. I like my cheap stuff...but I covet expensive stuff, but can never make the jump to actually purchase it. I kinda hoard my money. It'll be July before I spend my Christmas money. Which makes buying expensive stuff harder, because at that point, I've successfully held onto my money, so how can I part with it so quickly?

Also, you're getting $20 Kate Spade purses?! Common'....tell Jake I need one, or you get me one and I'll pay you back. ;) I need one, especially for cheap. Haha.