I don’t often talk about shopping or things I buy on the blog. Other than the fact that I don’t want to focus on “stuff” here, the last time I talked money and shopping, the comments took on a life of its own and quickly veered toward the ridiculous till I had to shut the comments down. Long time readers may know this incident as “Paralegal-gate”. Truth is, bloggers often get judged on things they buy, the money they spend, the price point of products they post, or the perceived priorities that they place on their spending. I see it all the time. Even if it’s not said outright, you can bet somebody out there is thinking something. But we’re all human. I’m sure we’ve all had envious (and maybe judgemental if we’re being honest) thoughts of one kind or another, so shopping or products I covet rarely ever become blog posts (for all you know, I am a hoarder of expensive shoes and I have a closet full of Rachel Comeys and Jimmy Choos, ha! Nooooo).
After we came back home from our trip, I took a walk around the city by myself a few days later after my morning meeting. It was 60 degrees and the weather was glorious. I had been really good about not spending money after putting myself on a spending freeze for a while, but I bought a few things while walking around and it felt nice. Sometimes I think about what life was like pre-kids when Mark and I didn’t have 2 extra little people to support and I wonder what we did with our money. We ate out a lot more, that’s for sure. I booked things like facials and frequent haircuts. We went out at night, we traveled, maybe not necessarily more, but to farther places overseas. I definitely did a lot more walking around, popping into stores and shopping, just like I did last week which seems like a treat these days when it does happen. Without any responsibilities, spending money came with no regrets, but we weren’t thinking about the future either.
Certain things like healthcare costs and college tuition for the girls can still keep me up at night, but while our strict budget have loosened since I started this blog (thankfully we are at a different place income wise than where we were 4 years ago), we’re still careful with our money and our overall spending habits haven’t changed much from the time when every single penny counted. Those years taught me how to economize and make savings a priority even when we were broke when we first became parents (we collected loose change and dollar bills in a jar and put that in our savings once a month for 2 years when that was all we could save). These are lessons that I’m grateful for because those are life adjustments in priorities we still choose to live by. While I would love to eat out more, get pedicures, treat ourselves to daily lattes and pastries, or buy nice cosmetics and candles, these are things, for example, that we’ve decided we can live without in our daily lives. And we don’t really miss them. We’d rather spend our money differently like our yearly summer trips to the West Coast, which really only have been a recent thing, or save as much as we can for some sense of security. This is what’s important to us, but for some people, those pedicures, lipsticks and lattes might be necessary splurges and is important for them. Only we can decide what is right for each of us.
Mark and I are definitely not “young people” anymore. As much as I would like to think otherwise, our feet are planted firmly in adulthood, but I also think we’re at an age where we really should enjoy the payoffs of hard work – with no regrets. It’s been interesting to see the arc of the last 10 years. 10 years of so much change and addition to our lives and so many shifted priorities. Sometimes it scares me to think that these are considered our prime earning years. We have a good, fairly modest life and we’ve made enough money to support that life so far with some frugal planning and hard work, but sometimes I think, “this is it??” (still waiting for that genius million dollar idea to pop into my head…) “But how will we ever retire? How will the girls go to college?”. Like any normal person, I sometimes do envy the vacations that other people take, the apartments they live in, the perceived lifestyle that they may have, but then I think to myself…what would we do if we had more money? What would I spend it on, what would change? Would our problems go away? Other than feeling more secure and maybe having more freedom to do things, which admittedly is huge, I’m thinking maybe not as much as I may think. You’ll always have more and make more money than some people and you’ll always have less and make less than others. It’s what you do with your particular situation that matters. I’d like to think that we have just what we need right now.*
Because you’ll ask, here’s the stuff I bought: Orla Kiely for Uniqlo scarf ($12 bucks!); enamel bracelet from J Crew; ceramic berry basket from Anthropologie; Striped shirt from the sale rack at Madewell.