As I think I have mentioned before, growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money. We did okay, and I never went without the things I needed, but sometimes the things I got were . . . I don’t want to say crappy because I feel like that’s a bit of an insult to my parents but . . . maybe a little lower on the quality scale than I would have liked.
Now that I’m older, the frugality I grew up with has actually proved to be a good thing because, as an adult, I do seriously think about everything I am doing financially. I worked 30 hours a week on top of my class schedule to pay for school and I managed to graduate without debt. I made sure I had enough savings to cover my first couple of months when I moved out on my own. I keep the charges to my credit card minimal – never over $250 – and if for any reason I have to go over my assigned credit card budget, I work out a repayment savings plan and pay everything off in three months*. I am not a good debt person, so I do everything I can to live within my means and I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it, especially considering how tiny my salary is**.
However, constantly fretting about the bottom line gets a little frustrating/exhausting . . . and then there’s the issue of cheap versus durable. Sometimes, you’ll come across something that is a perfect marriage of cheap and durable and that’s awesome . . . but a lot of the time, cheap is also kind of a code word for $h!tty. And then you find yourself thinking “Why didn’t I just shell out a little more money from the start instead of pissing away money on something crappy?”
I have been thinking about this more and more lately as we get into the colder weather and I need to buy cold-weather appropriate clothes. This summer, I continued on with “Operation: Don’t Look Like A Schlub,” took the opportunity to spruce up my summer wardrobe and things went pretty well. I laid out a decent chunk of change, but I upgraded a lot of things and I felt pretty natty while doing it. I wore many dresses and skirts (and miniskirts which is new for me) and I ended up not only feeling better about the way I looked, but getting hit on like crazy which was a new and weird experience for me since I am not much good with the flirting***. So now that it’s getting colder, I wanted to keep things going and I’ve been investing in some new fall dresses, tights, skirts and accessories to help me stay warm and generally look like more of an adult. Now that I am a manager at work (shocking I know!) that means more facetime with clients, and consulting on jobs wearing ripped up pants and old faded t-shirts is kind of not impressive, so new things required . . . and one of the new things I need is a pair of boots.
Now if you don’t know me in person, which most of you don’t, let me just tell you up front I have gigantic feet. Unfortunately for me, I have always had gigantic feet, even when I was a little kid. The first time my parents brought me winter boot shopping, I screamed so loud when they tried to jam boots on my feet that they left the store in shame. They were in fact so embarassed by my caterwauling that they refused to go back into ANY shoes store that winter and instead of buying me boots, they taped mittens to my feet for the entire season, earning me the nickname “Monkey Baby.” (Do you see how much I love you, bloggerinos, to tell you such a stupid and embarrassing story?)
Anyway, the big foot problem has only gotten worse now that I am super-tall. While I get that it is better to have size 11 feet when you are 6’1″ so you don’t fall over, it creates a vicious shoe shopping cycle:
– I hate shopping for winter boots so I don’t go until it snows.
– By the time it snows, things are pretty picked over, so I have to get whatever fits me.
– Because I don’t want to blow a bunch of money on something I am being forced to buy, I buy “cheap boots” meaning they cost around $100 and are generally nondescript.
– Because they are “cheap boots,” they last only one season and die a horrible premature death.
Last year was in fact one of the most awesome years bootwise as the ultra$h!tty boots I bought in November died in February. Not only was I superpissed off that the boots got a hole in them after only 4 months of wear, but for some reason, shoe retailers had decided by that point that no one require boots anymore, so when I went to buy a second crappy pair, all the shoe stores had were flipflops. In Canada. In February.
Please let the stupidity of that sink in for a moment before moving onto the next paragraph.
So thinking ahead to the colder weather, I started wondering why I piss away $100 every year (or sometimes $200 if the first set of crappy boots dies) on something I don’t want and don’t like and it’s making me think about alternatives. Obviously, mittenfeet are out****, so what if I got boots I actually liked? What a novel concept! And after some digging around and talking shoes with a few people, I found these . . .
I am not a shoe person, but I have a major shoecrush?shoeboner?shoegasm? over these shoes. They’re prettier than most things I own . . . the only problem is, they’re like $500. Before taxes.
*BTW, that noise you just heard, somewhere off in the distance? Was my head exploding.*
So yeah, I’m feeling kind of torn about the whole thing. On one hand, I could get some kick ass shoes that I really like after a lifetime of hating shoes, but on the other hand . . . Five. Hundred. Dollars.
What say you, blogging audience? Is it better to buy regular boots that are cheaper but will need to be replaced or buy adorable boots that cost a bundle but will last a long time? When do you go practical and when do you go pretty?
*I had to do this once for my late June wedding but by the end of August, everything was squared away again.
** No joke, I recently found an old pay stub and what I made as an administrative assistant back in 2004 is approximately what I made on my last publishing paycheck this year. Also note, I have been working for this company for four years so this was after multiple raises.
*** I am not good at being hit on. Any time a stranger flirts with me, I automatically turn around and look for the hot girl behind me.
**** Or are they?!? 🙂