Frugal Confession: I Bought A Pair of $600 Louboutins & I’m Still Frugal

Christian Louboutin Nude Pumps

 

I recently bought a pair of Christian Louboutin nude pumps for over $600.

 As I admit I own a pair, I feel a sense of elation:  I finally bought the shoes I’ve been swooning over for nearly two years.

Simultaneously, I feel a sense of embarrassment:  I’m a frugality blogger and recent graduate and seriously spent over $600 on a pair of SHOES. WHAT?

Here’s the deal…the shame comes from the fact that I spent nearly 2 months’ rent on a pair of designer shoes.

Two months’ rent? Yep- that’s right, I live with two roomies in a less than ideal neighborhood in Chicago.  My room has a curtain (no door),  and I have to walk 4 blocks to do my laundry.  I also have to walk several blocks to get groceries without a car.   I got my school books from the library and when I started blogging, my “fun” budget was $80 a month.  I worked my arse off for the past two years and still sometimes barely scraped by.

I do NOT live a glamorous lifestyle-  how in the world could I justify such a rockstar purchase? 

One of the biggest mistakes newbie frugal people make is being cheap.  To be a truly frugal and savvy person is to pick and choose where you put your money- where to be “cheap,” and where to spend like a rockstar.

When I signed my lease last year, living cheap was a priority- the easiest way to cut costs was to have a low rent, no cable t.v. and lowered utility bills.   I knew that if I stayed put in this less than ideal location, I could save at least $250 a month.     That money would bring more joy and be better spent on beer, cute dresses, gifts for loved ones, and yes- to save up for shoes.

For the past two years, I chose to take out as little as possible in student loans, to work my butt off with side hustles & to put money aside for a frivolous pair of shoes.  Those were my choices, based on my priorities, I have no regrets.  If someone makes fun of my small apartment or mocks that I don’t have an elevator, I know that I designed my life around priorities and the situation is temporary.

I waffled on this purchase for months-  I knew the shoes would be over $600.  As a frugality blogger who also loved fashion, I felt like a fraud, a phony.  But again, I made choices that resonated with my values and propelled my goals and dreams.  I saved in certain areas to splurge in others.  I didn’t know when the opportunity to get the shoes would present itself, but I knew I wanted to be ready when it did.  

In April, I was invited to NYC for a book launch party and with some free time, I walked myself to the Christian Louboutin boutique in New York City, got buzzed in (yes, they have to buzz you in!)  and had made my decision within minutes after trying on several heel heights.  While the decision was quick, the process was more deliberate and steady minded- I was ready.

I had pictured wearing a pair of Christian Louboutins for graduation for months and months.  I imagined walking to receive my diploma, with the red heels peeking out with every step towards my acceptance handshake.

Let me reiterate- this fantasy of mine also involved the reality that I would just have finished my degree, meaning- I’d still probably be tight on money and preparing to pay off student loans.  I knew I’d have to make it happen since the money wouldn’t magically appear.  Even though I saved up for the shoes-  I thought of the times I’d felt the sting of embarrassment when people saw my less than glamourous digs or I had to lug groceries home in the snow.  

I transformed that shame, guilt and worry into hope for the future…Not only had I saved for these shoes- I know if I could achieve this goal (even with really hard work) I could achieve anything that mattered this much to me without fearing judgement or what  should matter to me.  I only will focus on what does matter to me.

 The shoes were not only a culmination of hard work and saving-  they were proof that if I could afford a pair of exorbitant designer shoes that were bought and paid for be ME (not a sugar daddy, magic windfall or Lottery Ticket)  I had the grit to do this again and scale it.  

 

Where To Get The Money:

  • Examine any packages you’ve signed up for to see what you can opt-out of.  I saved $1200 a semester by opting out of a student health package most of us didn’t know was tacked on to our tuition.  See if any “bundles,” come with hidden costs- this applies to phone, cable, or housing packages.

 

  • Be honest about your goal.  Whether you keep it quiet and save on your own, or simply tell family/friends about your  crazy purchase and ask for donations in lieu of gifts, your tactic is up to you.  If this purchase is what your heart yearns for, funnel all extra cash towards it.

 

  • Go on a diet.  Challenge yourself one month to cut just one recurring expense- restaurants, movies, or trips to the salon.  This isn’t about deprivation, but challenge yourself to prove yourself that this major purchase is worth it, and if you have to drop $1500 on it, you won’t feel like a jackass and the guilt won’t matter.

 

  • Sell or side hustle.  I sold what I could on Amazon to make money and free up the space for these shoes.  If you’re going to buy something amazing, make room for in your life.

How To Justify Your Rockstar Purchase:

  • You’ve planned for this big purchase by recreating equilibrium in your spending-  to purchase a vacation package for next summer you’ve cancelled your cable or gym membership to curb the cost.
  • You’ve put away 10-20% of each paycheck to make the silly purchase.

 

  • Though it’s expensive, this item has been your obsession for more than 6 months & would make you insanely giddy for more than 5 minutes after purchasing it.

 

  • You’re planning to maximize this purchase for everything it’s worth.  Either it will make you money, alleviate a problem, satisfy a long time yearning or you’re planning on caring for it like a heirloom piece.

 

  • Do you want quality or quantity?  Are you willing to give up your nickle-and-dime impulse purchases for one big spend?  To buy a designer jacket it may mean no more impulse buys at Target, but is that worth it to you?

 

Rockstar purchases don’t have to be designer shoes-  but it really is anything we feel we’re not “worthy” of spending… saving up for your dream wedding when you’re feeling pressured to save for something else you’re not thrilled about,  new glasses that flatter when the ones you have “work just fine,” or a fancy dinner for date night when you know it’s cheaper to cook yourself.  

Being happily frugal  is your unique special sauce, make frugality work for you.  

Have you ever had a rockstar purchase?
How did you make it happen?

Comments

  1. says

    I’m so happy for you! Louboutins have been my dream shoe for awhile now and I was totally planning on getting myself a pair as a congratulations on graduating present :)

    • says

      This made me LOL- glad I’m not the only one who had this idea. They really are great shoes, but part of the experience of going to the store, trying them on and making a grounded decision on an amazing trip to NYC is what sold it.

      Congratulations on your graduation, what will your degree be in? Life is about celebrating, so I hope you make it happen! :D

  2. says

    Big bucks! But, if you can afford it, why not. I struggled for a month to buy a pair of Tod’s shoes on sale for $280 from around $380. I finally pulled the trigger and have enjoyed wearing them almost everyday for months now.

    Bullish!

  3. says

    So good! This post has inspired me to be able to do the same. I hope I can sometime soon! You have to find a way to “treat yo’self” (LOL) sometimes, even on a budget. Congratulations on graduating!

  4. says

    Good for you, girl!!! You totally deserve those red soles, and I know you will make them work for you!

    Take loads of pics of the beauties at graduation!!!!!

    • says

      I graduated less than a week ago, so the pictures are on FB & FB (Facebook and FrugalBeautiful) on a post I put up…on Monday I think? I wore them and felt like a champion, it was awesome! I have never owned such pricey kicks in my whole life…not bad for a girl who got gifted a pair of $1 Jordache shoes from her dad on her Bday as a kid, haha!

  5. Janine says

    I love this post! I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that one of the biggest mistake people make is being cheap. I think it’s do important to prioritize things. You can have anything you want, just not everything.

    Great post!

    • says

      Thanks so much Janine! By being smart with your money and going for “maximum joy” even for the crazy purchases, eventually the success you have can be grown and scaled- but not all at once. Pick your battles! :) Thanks so much for the positive feedback, I was a bit nervous admitting to the world that I had bought these shoes!

      • Janine says

        Well they are absolutely stunning shoes, and you deserve them. You worked hard! Congrats on graduating :)

  6. says

    You go girl! While some people might think spending that kind of money on shoes is crazy, I actually agree with your decision (even though I’m a PF blogger too). Like you said, it’s all about priorities. I’ve spent thousands (yes, thousands) of dollars a year on hotels, flights, entertainment and other “non-essential” traveling expenses. Plus I bought an iPad that cost about $600 on top of having a new laptop and new iPhone. So it’s really just about what YOU want to spend YOUR money on, and if you can save to make it happen. Congrats on your purchase! You deserve it.

  7. says

    Hi, you did great on the Louboutins! No need to defend yourself, I also think being frugal doesn’t necessarily equate to being cheap in everything but it means being smart about your purchases and saving up for the rockstars. I’ve been lusting for a pair of Louboutins too, sigh. But for now, I need to figure out how to save and budget for a trip to Peru at the end of the year for my friend’s wedding which will end up costing ~$2k.

  8. says

    I LOVE this post! Louboutins are nowhere on my personal “rockstar purchase” list, but I think it’s great that you saved up and purchased them with no guilt or regrets. Last winter I spent $60 on a copper-bottomed teakettle. Now, $60 isn’t $600, but I still felt kind of ridiculous spending that when I had a perfectly good teakettle already. However, I drink about a million cups of tea per day AND use my kettle to make coffee in the French press. I consider it a worthy investment. I think it’s all about responsibly spending your money in ways that make you happy!

  9. says

    I completely get it! I recently graduated, and got my first ‘real’ grown up job (even though I am already a grown up), and I splurged and bought a Michael Kors Hamilton Tote. That was a few months ago, I finally just used it last week! I was feeling so guilty! But I was drooling over it for over a year, and it was going to be my treat when I got a good job. (See I am still justifying it)! Congrats on your awesome shoes! You now have me thinking about how nice those would look walking across the stage next month ;)

  10. says

    I’m sorry. . . you did what wrong here? Isn’t the whole purpose of being frugal to have the resources to enjoy what you want in life?

    I think it’s admirable that you maintained a frugal lifestyle and yet could splurge by carefully budgeting for a big ticket item that gives you so much pleasure. I think you did GOOD! Enjoy the shoes!

    Nancy

  11. Shell says

    You certainly have a right to spend your hard earned money on what you desire. I just think it’s sad when, as a society, we have learned to equate happiness or satisfaction with things. I’ve been there, done that and moved on. I’m just saying!

  12. says

    Congrats on your purchase! I’m a 39-yr old mom of three and separated from my husband. You are so right when you mention the pride in buying this yourself! Keep thinking that way and you will reach many goals. Right now, I’m the sole breadwinner in my house. As a pr person, I have to look sharp and fashionable without breaking my budget. In my case, I try to save up for high end/designer jewelry and nice handbags. They really can make a $10 outfit look so chic! Every time I look at any piece of jewelry I’m wearing I’m reminded of how much I enjoy them. Some people love eating out (I rarely do) but being able to save and enjoy for these little luxuries makes my day. My other vice is taking the kids on long holidays to fancy beach resorts or trips which I’m able to do by carefully setting a budget and watching offers and deals. Happy graduation!

  13. Jaime says

    Well I personally think there’s nothing wrong with shopping or if a purchase makes you happy as long as it doesn’t put you into the poor house. Personally its important to feel good about oneself. If CL shoes does that for you then awesome. Honestly who is anyone to judge you?

    Since you’re a new graduate its important to buy quality items that will last you and not spend money on cheap stuff that will fall apart immediately. Society does judge us by our appearances so I do think its an investment in having a quality wardrobe. Shoes included.

    ;)

  14. Rosie says

    I feel you, too many frugality blogs are about saving fifteen cents on milk… but what about those of us that want something special or don’t want to spend five hours couponing for groceries? Shoes are worth it.

  15. Maggie Stewart says

    This is such an amazing post!! I myself am just now starting to save for a pair of Louboutins. I agree with everything you say in this post. I can’t wait to feel that deep satisfaction of knowing I saved and made a wise purchase that will last me for a long time! Congrats and enjoy :)

  16. Jessica775 says

    I’m not at all a shoe girl. I stumbled upon this blog looking for some money saving tips for cosmetics. I currently don’t own any and thought I might get some…but can’t afford department store prices or brands.

    I have been reading this blog every day since because the articles are so reasonable and practical.Even those of us who don’t want any CL shoes can relate to this article, because the underlying theme is about the importance of being honest with yourself and cutting expenses where you need to cut in order to save for something that you truly want…that will be truly special to you.

    I will admit I actually am not so much frugal but a bit of a cheapskate most of the time, and even I get irritated with so many of the frugality books and sites that act like nobody is ever supposed to do anything special for themselves or their family or friends. That doesn’t seem like it would work in the end. It seems like it would make a person so miserable, they’d either just give up even trying to be frugal at all or they’d wind up going on a spending binge in an attempt to make themselves feel better…with all the problems that can bring.

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