I take pride in not being a hypocrite. Usually. But there is one aspect of my life where I sometimes demonstrate a split personality. Spending money.
Overall, I would describe myself as cheap thrifty. I’m generally not a big spender. I’m certainly not a recreational shopper. But conversely there are certain items where price is (almost) no object.
Like shoes. I have bad feet so I wear expensive shoes. To me, this is a necessity; it isn’t about fashion. And I really don’t have all that many pairs lining my closet. But the ones I wear every day, or to exercise, cost a pretty penny.
And fruit. Not that I don’t try to buy what is on sale, but if I want fresh fruit, I am willing to pay for it. Usually. And while I try to buy our meat when it is on sale or at Costco, I don’t go meatless to save money.
I am also split when it comes to generics. My kids and I have been trying to convince my husband for years that some generics are just not as good as the real thing name brand. But, that said, in many items, food and otherwise, I have no problem using a tried and true generic or store brand. Ketchup – no. Tissues – no. Frozen or canned veggies – yes. Graham crackers – no, no, no. And the list goes on.
But even where I splurge I am thrifty. I am a big comparison shopper for example. And after many years of hearing it said over and over, I have finally overcome my discomfort and dipped my toes into the “everything is negotiable” waters. Not for all purchases, mind you. Just for the big ticket items and things like travel. Every little $10 knocked off a hotel room counts! And for one trip, I kept checking rental car rates and eventually canceled and rebooked with the same company as the only way I could drop my price almost 50%!
I am very cheap when it comes to entertainment: we rarely go out to the movie theater or even rent DVDs, instead reserving them from the library. But then again, I splurged on a Tivo. Hmm. And I splurge on magazines, but I save by subscribing. And I don’t buy books but save by again either getting them from the library or reading the many that my mom hands down to me. And we don’t go out to dinner very often anymore. But once a month or so we join friends for a restaurant meal where we hardly look at the prices.
So how does this relate to healthy living. It doesn’t, really. Except when I think about how I feel about spending in that area of my life. Like a gym membership. Right now I don’t have one, but when it gets too cold to ride my bike outside, I will once again prepay for six months worth of exercise classes, a bit of a splurge, but cheaper than paying as I go. And fortunately my gym of choice happens to be the least expensive one in town! Years ago I splurged for several sessions with a trainer, to get a jump start and learn about proper form. And when our treadmill broke this year I encouraged my husband to buy himself a new one. To me, that was well worth the extravagance. But most of my workout clothes are old and worn, and most were purchased at discount stores. I tend to only buy new ones when I have a trip to the spa planned – and then I might treat myself and loosen the purse strings a bit. (And in case you missed my spa posts a few months back, that trip is a tremendous luxury that I don’t actually pay for myself!)
As for clothes, because what yo-yo dieter has not thought about the money spent on clothes, I am downright cheap! I only shop for new things when I have too, which typically means some event coming up and there is nothing in my closet that will work (or that will work AND fit). And I don’t like to spend a lot on what I do buy. Maybe partly because in my mind I am often buying a size that I hope won’t fit me in the future. But I can say that someday when I have maintained my goal weight for a reasonable amount of time, and am clearly off the roller-coaster, I am going to splurge on some fabulous clothes, starting with a pair of designer jeans. Maybe. Or maybe my inner stinginess will kick in and I just won’t be able to overcome years of frugality. Time will tell.
Okay, reading this back, I think I would have to say I am selectively thrifty:) What about you? Big spender? Tightwad? Split spending personality like me? What are your splurges? Where do you save? Penny for your thoughts!