Random Saturdays – When did $100 become cheap?

I was disappointed (yet again) this week when my latest O Magazine newsletter contained a link to an article on fashion finds under $100.  Apparently, you can get an entire dress for $30, but the matching belt is $99…and that’s only if you use the special code…and the belt doesn’t even come with fireworks or anything.  I don’t consider that a fashion find.  I realize that probably makes me sound like a cheap skate (an accurate assessment), but  I was born in the 1980s with the financial sensibilities of someone born in the 1890s, so get off my lawn!  Also, I grew up kinda poor.  We were technically middle class, but my parents were terrible with money.  (They’re good people and I don’t begrudge my parents anything, despite the amount of angsty ’90s rock that I love.)  It just means that I will always have Poor Person Mentality.  In fact, I’m proud of it.  It’s wasteful to spend $100 on a pair of trousers when you can get them for $15 in the clearance section of Old Navy.  I know that there’s a difference between the materials used, the quality of thread used to sew seams, etc.  However, if you are patient, you can get good deals on quality clothes at a variety of stores.  Plus, a small price tag doesn’t have to equal low quality clothing.

Such a deal!

Such a deal!

I’ve also heard the theory about “investing” in basic pieces that will last years.   I wear the same clothes for years and years, but I still don’t “invest” more than $30 on any single item of clothing and no more than $50 on a coat or shoes.  Most people get tired of their clothes after a year or two.  Most of the people I know get tired of their clothes even sooner (or they gain/lose weight, get stains on the clothing, tear holes in the clothing, etc.)  Furthermore, think about what it means to “invest”.  If you make $15/hr (that’s an average of the “all occupations mean”, and the two ranges for the top 10 non-nurse occupations from the 4th para. of this 2011 report from the U.S.  Dept. of Labor, not completely accurate, I know, but this is my personal blog), then you have to work a full eight-hour day to buy that $99 belt (think about income tax, sales tax, any gas spent going to the store, shipping costs if buying online, time spent shopping, etc.)  So when I think about buying anything, I always think, “Was  this worth X hours of work?”  I have yet to see a pair of pants worth a full day’s work, much less a belt.

That being said, if something is handmade from socially and environmentally responsible materials, I will admit that the product is worth more than something that is made out of kittens and sewn by children in a sweatshop.  That does not mean that I will pay $99 for a belt, but it does mean that I won’t bitch about it as much.


3 thoughts on “Random Saturdays – When did $100 become cheap?

  1. I completely agree – I have trouble spending more than $49 for anything, even if it’s something obviously worth more than $49, like a sofa, heh. I’d have to really like that sofa.

    • I’m dealing with my cheapness right now, in fact. I have huge calves, but have been wanting a pair of brown riding boots for years. I don’t need them for horseriding, but want them for looking at them and being happy. Even the boots made for wide calves are usually too small for me. A friend found a pair at Nordstrom Rack this week for $70. Now I have to decide if, even though that’s a good deal on riding boots, if it’s worth it to me. Afterall, I just splurged on a $12.99 wallet at Target that will fit into my new purse that another friend got me for Christmas. (When I write it out like that, my wallet doesn’t look as splurgetastic.) I think I’ll go see if they even have the boots in my size first, and if they do and if the boots feel good, then I’ll get ’em! Thanks for the advice, Cathy! You really know how to talk some sense into a gal!

  2. Pingback: Random Saturdays – Big Expenses | The Scarlet Loser

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