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.