I have had to cut back on my spending simply as a matter of necessity. In late summer of 2010, I moved across the country to start graduate school (expensive!) and I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel there for awhile just to get by. Though I desperately needed to revamp my wardrobe ( read: city life in a new climate changes EVERYTHING!) I simply couldn’t afford it- and honestly, as a writer about frugality who was trying to convince other young women to think seriously about their finances and save some moolah for their future, it was hard to justify any triple digit purchases in the name of “looking good.” Needless to say, though my work pants were saggy and ill-fitting, and my jeans didn’t flatter my figure I thought I could just…you know...deal with it.
The sad fact of the matter was though- I looked awful and felt pretty bad too. My change in lifestyle necessitated a change in wardrobe. My whole life had changed, and my wardrobe was still stuck in a time warp, and to top it off- it simply didn’t fit. My jeans (read: low rise doesn’t work for curvy girls!) fit/didn’t fit in all the wrong places and would fall down when I walked. My work clothes were showing some serious wear and tear and didn’t exemplify the new understanding of professionalism I hoped to convey, so I was in a frugal fashion funk.
When I was getting ready for the 20-sb Summit that was taking place in Chicago, I realized that I was dreading meeting people because I didn’t have anything that fit the occasion (classy but casual) or even fit my newly slimmed down body. Here was an amazing opportunity to meet other bloggers doing what I was doing, and I was embarrassed and ashamed that I ran a blog called FrugalBeautiful.com and I didn’t even have slacks that fit right or jeans that were age appropriate.
I knew something had to be done, so I forgave myself ahead of time and allowed myself to buy a few pieces that would fit the bill: Classy, Comfortable and Gorgeous.
This is the dress I wore to the opening social sponsored by Murphy-Goode Winery (btw, it was great, thank you!) at the Crimson Lounge.
I was so glad I invested in a dress because it was swanky and I got so many compliments!
I also got two pairs of Express Jeans which are NOT low-rise and are great for curvy girls (yay, adult jeans!) and some fabulous Steve Madden flats with adorable bows… on sale of course!
Did I feel guilty about it? Yes and no. Did I hate to spend money when I wish I had reached a consumerist zen or could rock a burlap sack and still feel confident? Well, yes…but did I forgive myself and buy something that I truly loved, that fit like a dream, that was on sale and made me feel professional, put together and totally fabulous? You bet your @$$ I did.
I have learned the hard way, you have to embrace what makes you happy- let go of the shame and fund what brings you bliss…the frivolous and the frugal.
I want to take this time to remind everyone reading this, because lord knows, I the blogger of this fair site, had to be reminded of it too- that frugality is a mechanism to live your best life, not to deprive yourself just to save a buck. Frugality clears out the clutter and helps you focus any income you have to things you truly, wholeheartedly get excited about (yes, even if it’s jeans that finally fit or Betsey Johnson earrings) while still putting that little extra saved towards your sustainable future.
So, when you “do frugal,” don’t let it mandate how you live your life or spend your money. Use your frugal to fuel the beautiful. Whether you are beautifully frugal in the fact that you can take thrift store creations to create a gorgeous vintage wardrobe, or you save up to buy a designer handbag that makes you just glow with excitement, neither is better than the other- they’re just different. Being beautifully frugal is about focusing your money to fund things you truly love, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
So honestly, I don’t care what anyone thinks about my brand of frugal- you shouldn’t either. Put your money where your heart is, and your frugal tactics will be so much more powerful. You won’t mind cutting back in certain areas to fund others. Don’t feel guilty if you insist on using expensive shampoo or like me, you just couldn’t STAND your wardrobe anymore and needed an update- this is exactly why we are frugal: spend less on the other stuff to better fund your bliss **(and of course, fund your future by putting some cash aside for retirement!)
Previously I would have gotten ill over the idea of spending $80 on a pair of jeans. For a time, that’s what I thought “frugal” was- but I was wrong. When you do frugal right, you wait for the perfect pair of jeans, at just the right cut (and on sale) to come along, and you buy only the best pair that hugs your curves and makes you feel gorgeous, even if they are categorized as “expensive.”
Frugal is the new beautiful, and here at this blog, frugal is getting a facelift. It’s going to be modern, stylish, totally your own unique, tailored money management tactic to get whatever you want in life (yes, even if you insist on expensive jeans!)
So, how do you do your frugal-beautiful? What do you use your unique frugality for?