Since my days growing up a (spoiled) only child in an upscale neighbourhood, I’ve always had expensive taste and have grown quite accustomed to the finer things in life. Being the kid on the block with the pool and the private school education really did wonders for my false sense of reality. Now, as an adult in an ever-changing economy, I have to face the harsh realization that money does not, in fact, grow on trees (sorry, spoiler alert!).
I knew I was predisposed to having expensive taste when the only “sport” I had ever been into was horseback riding. With my fancy riding crop in toe, my dad would dedicatedly send me off to the stables every Saturday morning to hob-nob with the equestrian elite. As we pulled up to the outbuilding in our circa 1990’s three-cylinder Chevy Sprint, surrounded by the perfect French braid wearing, highfalutin horse crowd, I felt completely gratified that I had finally found my people.
When all my friends were wearing Robert Munch inspired snowsuits to school, you wouldn’t have caught me dead in anything that didn’t look the part (don’t ask me what part I was trying to play in grade 6). My parents just chalked it up to being “picky”, but I was really just a covert snob. To me, those kids looked ridiculous all bundled up- like the Michelin Man’s even uglier cousin. I even refused to wear winter boots that weren’t $200 purple Candies, which my mother drove five and a half hours to another province to buy. I only wore them once, and I am still reminded of that to this day.
Flash forward to my college years when I developed a love of concert-going. Purchasing a ticket in the nosebleeds just for the sake of the experience wasn’t something I did very often. If I was attending a concert, it was floor seats or bust…open my bank account. I don’t regret exchanging glances with Nick Carter or listening to Steven Tyler literally screaming Dream On in my ear, in my mind that was money well spent.
I don’t know where I developed exquisite taste in clothing and accessories, but for some reason, I have always had a thing for labels and name brands. When I was young, it was more about status and fitting in, but now I usually purchase higher ticket items simply for the quality alone. I don’t think I’ve ever carried a handbag that didn’t have a name burned into the leather which is ironic since I usually don’t have any money to fill it with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not poor by any means, but I definitely live paycheck to paycheck, like 80 percent of people pinning their best boujee lives on Pinterest.
The way I justify my spending on clothing and accessories now is by using the ever so logical “cost per wear” theory, which I’m sure was invented by a woman hiding shopping bags from her husband in the back seat of her car. You can easily validate purchasing a high priced item just by using this simple math calculation (this is the only time I have ever applied math to real life by the way):
Cost of Aritzia Scarf: $80
Wears per week: 5 which equates to 240 wears per year
Cost per wear calculation: $80 divided by 240 = $0.33 cost per wear
They practically paid ME to walk out of the store with it! You have to admit, it makes perfect sense. So, next time your boyfriend or husband questions your spending habits, whip out that calculator (or your boobs, either or).
Out of pure necessity, I have always had a job (or two…or three) which lead me to having pretty much a full supply of disposable income growing up. And it was awesome. Being able to literally buy whatever I wanted at any time was something I definitely took advantage of in my youth. Having been fortunate enough to move back home as an adult, has also afforded me to splurge on life’s little luxuries (you know, like groceries), and I sure as hell won’t be letting this opportunity slip through my fingers without having something to show for. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, whilst living at home, I’ve managed to secure some savings and even some investments (like, new me, who dis?), and even though I don’t necessarily have to worry about money, I still do.
Being able to dress well and also pay my bills feels like a huge privilege but money doesn’t always buy sense (see what I did there?). As much as I’ve learned about money over the years, which has been a lot, I still manage to let my magnetism to shiny things, and my expensive taste get the better of me from time to time. Blame it on being an only child, but I’m used to getting what I want, and once my mind is set on an article of clothing, a trip or a kayak, hell hath no fury. Whether you call it determination or just plain spoiled, come hell or high water, I will be kayaking on it. Sometimes that even means paying my credit card just to clear some space to make my next purchase. We’ve all done it, don’t judge me.
I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to create a budget and failed. I’m not terrible with money, but I suffer huge FOMO when it comes to lost purchase opportunities and I don’t really like the thought of my money being tied down. There must be a reason that people line-up outside of a Kate Spade outlet; if I don’t do the same, will I regret it for the rest of my life? It’s time for my excel spreadsheet and me to start seeing other people, preferably at the mall. Most people have a bucket list filled with adventures and achievements, mine is just a compilation of famous malls I haven’t visited yet. Lately, I have been trying to keep better track of all my bills and monthly payments, but that’s basically just to act as a constant reminder that I don’t have that Kardashian-Jenner-West money.
I have gotten better at curbing my luxe spending, and have been trying to find happy mediums when it comes to choosing places to shop. I am now a frequent consumer of outlet malls and off-price retail stores such as Winners and Marshalls, but nothing compares to Target. The basic bitch holy grail of bargain shopping experiences. If we still had Target chains in Canada, my friends and family may never see me again. Quality meets discounted prices (which, once converted from US dollars don’t seem like that much of a bargain anymore), and don’t even get me started on their incredible dollar bins. Surprisingly, I could spend $100 on an article of clothing, and the pieces in my wardrobe that I still receive the most compliments on are the $20 ones I’ve bought at Target. Go figure.
Making sure that I don’t lose my designer shirt on a frivolous spending spree, is sometimes easier said than done, especially when it comes to food shopping. Instinctively, I still prefer to shop the well-groomed grocery store aisles of places like Goodness Me or Loblaws flagship stores, but sometimes you just have to give your bruised red pepper from No Frills a loving home in the crisper for the sake of saving a few bucks. Having grocery shopped as a single person for a few years now, I’m still quite shocked that I can end up spending upwards of $100 per week on food. Half of which I probably end up throwing out. If I didn’t have to eat, I’d be laced in Chanel!
Stemming from the fact that I assumed I’d be living in my luxe castle on the hill by now, I guess I spend money on material things to fill a void. I remember having a collection of housewares that I kept in a box in the basement of my childhood home, saved for when I eventually moved out. I did end up moving out. But then I came back (I did this a few more times). And my boxes of housewares still remain in the basement. Hoping that one day I’ll be trading in my designer handbags for designer area rugs, I revel in the fact that every effort I make to live my best life now, will eventually lead to an actual better life (with gleaming hardwood floors and ship lapped walls).
As I make the shift into responsible adulthood, I like to think that my champagne taste has both equal parts Christal to Moet. l still live amongst the bubbles but my designer purse strings are still intact (for the most part). One week I could be living off eggs and the questionable container of Greek yogurt in the back of the fridge all because I made a single trip to Sephora. And the next week I may be topping up my RSP with the extra money I picked up while waitressing part-time. It’s called balance people.