I'm probably never going to make a lot of money. And that's OK. I mean, I guess I never really expected to. I don't really need a lot of money. And what exactly IS a lot of money these days? Apparently, much, much more than I make.
I don't remember ever being very materialistic (Mom - correct me if I'm wrong - yes I just gave you permission). Back in the mid-80' when preppy was all the rage, I do remember wanting a piece of that alligator and little polo guy on the horse. There was an off-the-rack Izod and Ralph Lauren store over on Sterling and War Memorial and every once in awhile Mom would buy me a name-brand shirt so I could have the little logo on the front like my friends. No matter that it was irregular - I certainly didn't care. No one knew the difference.
I look around this house now, and probably the most expensive thing that I alone have purchased is my laptop. Sure, I have a couch and chair from my marriage, and the boys have their bedroom sets, but that's about it. My bedroom is a misfit hodge podge of 1) an armoire that goes with my oldest son's baby furniture set, 2) a Thomasville dresser hand-me-down from my parents, 3) two end tables that were my dad's when he was a boy, 4) an antique sewing table that my parents refinished and 5) a headboard from Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
In my post-college days, I had a series of apartments that I used to say were furnished in "late Grandma", simply because most of the furniture was courtesy of my mother's mother who passed away. And as I sit here now at my lovely little ReStore desk, I see no reason why I would want to get rid of perfectly good furniture when it's still usable and in good condition.
I guess new stuff is nice and all, but I just don't know that it's worth the money you have to shell out for it. I don't have a flat screen TV. I have a JVC beast that sits just perfectly in my oak entertainment center (a luxury purchase when we were living in Leavenworth). If I got a flat screen TV, it wouldn't fit in the entertainment center. So... why get one?
I kind of feel the same way about cars. As you may or may not know, I finally traded in my 2001 Honda Odyssey for a 2010 Chevy Traverse. TO THIS DAY I still feel a little guilty driving a new car - almost embarrassed. Like, the Honda wasn't good enough for me. Not true. But it was a wise financial decision based on how much money that Honda was about to cost me versus starting over with a (nearly) new car. (I mean, WHO buys new????)
Same thing with the clothes I buy these days. There's NO reason to pay full price anymore. Do you REALLY need to? I have to brag a little here... I have been looking for a fun little dress to wear in the evening after my wedding, but refuse to spend more than my wedding dress ($100 on the clearance rack - and no, I didn't know that when I tried it on, and yes, it's to die for.) Anyway, I stop in at Wannabe's - you know, that little consignment shop on Willow Knolls? Guess what. Beautiful, strapless, fun little White House, Black Market sundress - $16.99. Ladies? You and I both know what that stitch of clothing would retail for. I felt like I had won the lottery.
Speaking of lottery, my kids think I'm insane because I wouldn't want to win it. I tell them, "I guess if I could pay your college tuition and put something in my IRA toward retirement, I'd be OK. But I'd give the rest away." I mean, the more you make, the more you spend, right? I was unemployed for over a year and made it - barely. But made it. So it can be done.
And yes, I splurge. It pains me, sometimes, though. I think Coldstone Creamery is way too expensive, as is Culver's and Five Guys. I'm more of an Avanti's kind of girl - decent food for a decent price, thank you. And no, you won't see me at any of those cute boutique stores where a pair of pants is $170 and a blouse $200. Good Lord, that's like wearing a car payment.
How I figure it is that I either missed the memo saying that the field of journalism would NOT be a super-profitable career, or I did get it and just didn't care. I do know this - I love what I do and I am thankful for what I have and I don't wish for more. Now how many people can say that???