I’ve always been a relatively frugal person. Not so much that I have a massive savings hidden away for a rainy day, but enough that I can spend money on the things that matter most to me—like going to the occasional concert festival or spending a summer studying abroad. Life’s no picnic if you’re always taking the cheap route, so why not drop a few bucks on the luxuries every now and then?
As a result of this philosophy, I’m constantly making deals with myself. If I drive to work today and pay for parking, then I can’t eat out for lunch. If I get this fancy shampoo over the cheap stuff, then I’ve got to get the store brand cheese. Most of the time these little sacrifices don’t save me more than a few bucks, but they make me feel better at least.
Now that I have a big-girl income, though, I wonder if I can’t have my cheese and eat it too. Don’t I deserve to finally try out that weird Yes! To Carrots conditioner, and maybe even get the shampoo to match?
This whole mindset shift began when I moved into my new apartment in St. Louis. The apartment itself costs more than I normally would spend, but it’s in a good area and has brand new appliances (a washing machine that gets my clothes clean? #What?) and a deck for my plants to live on.
When faced with the task of furnishing the place, my instinct was to just get everything from Craigslist. My boyfriend convinced me to at least look at some real stores first. I did, and we ended up buying a new couch-loveseat set, table and chairs, and bed. Everything else we got from Craig.
My reasoning that day was that at some point you just have to take a deep breath and break the cycle. I’ve worked my ass off through years of schooling, and somehow successfully found a job within the timeframe I set for myself. So, I deserve to own some nice things for once, right?
I keep having to remind myself that for once in my life, I’m actually making money and not immediately giving it all to the University of Missouri. True, I still have massive student loans to pay off, but we’ll talk about that another time. For now, I’m happy to bask in the luxury of not feeling obligated to pinch pennies. Those poor little buggers could probably use a break, anyway.