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.
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.
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.