Big week this week… Lots of fun events happening, our dad is coming in town, we are making major moves on the apartment, AND it is my birthday on Sunday. My twenty-fifth birthday. I’m pretty calm about the whole situation… I love birthdays and this one in particular feels really exciting. I don’t have any fear about getting older – just lots of excitement and the prediction that 25 will be my best year yet.
So since this is technically a big birthday (halfway to 50, quarter of a century, etc.) I’m thinking about treating myself to some sort of gift. Am I the only one that finds it perfectly okay to splurge on myself? Maybe it’s because I don’t shop all the time that when I want something a little pricy I just get it and don’t think twice… I was pondering this notion over the weekend and it dawned on me that I have never “waited” for someone to give me the things I want or pay for them for me – and I realized this is because of my parents and how they taught us about money.
Growing up, my siblings and I never got an allowance, never got money for gas, and started paying for all our own clothes and extracurriculars as soon as we were in high school. All of us worked weekend jobs while in school and full time jobs during the summer so we could save up for the money that would get us through the upcoming year. Even in college, we didn’t get allowance until we were Juniors and living off campus (therefore not eating the dining hall food and doing beer grocery runs instead). Surprisingly, this “provide for yourself” mentality didn’t bother us… I think we felt lucky enough to be going to private high schools, driving cars our parents paid for, and going to the out of state colleges of our choosing that we weren’t resentful or bothered by spending our own money. Our parents also made us feel very special on our birthdays and Christmas – something I think a lot of our friends may have raised eyebrows at but clearly didn’t understand that it was our twice a year spoiling.
Bottom line, we grew up with a real concept of money. We knew how expensive it was for our dad to educate us and we knew that it was a privilege to have our mom buy us our dresses for high school dances. I’ll never forget being in college and one of my friends saying that she couldn’t imagine buying her own designer jeans… I don’t think I was even annoyed hearing that – I was just shocked. I bought my own underwear! And my own jeans, haircuts, running shoes, make-up, etc. etc. Knowing that it was my money I was spending made me acutely aware of every purchase I made. Yes, I might have a bit of financial anxiety (see Toast Talk no. 2) because of the responsibility but it made me a smart spender. It also allowed me not to feel guilty when I bought myself high-ticket items.
I think I might have talked about this before, but Sally is the sister that shops on the reg and I am the one that saves and then allocates lots of my chips on a few items. I have noooo shame in treating myself sparkly jewelry, expensive handbags, or fun trips. Who else would buy them for me if I didn’t? Why should I expect to have someone else buy me the things I really want? Ew, that just sounds bad. I think long and hard before I spend and I take my time weighing whether I need the item in question or not… There are also times when I will think “maybe I will put this on my ‘Christmas List’ instead of getting it right now,” since I often feel like the brat that has everything; but most of the time, if I want it and I can’t stop thinking about, and it’s within reason and my budget – I buy it.
Here’s the other thing: I don’t splurge because I’m thinking “you only live once,” I splurge because I genuinely think I deserve to. And that’s not a bad thing! If I was doing it once a week, that might be bad – but a couple of times a year (if that) is healthy, according to me. I get such a rush of satisfaction knowing that I saved my hard earned dollars to buy something I love and will use all the time… The items almost have more sentimental value because they represent a point in time or a goal that I personally achieved. When I moved into my first apartment after graduation I got gorgeous new bedding. My first bonus check led me to buying my old Canon Rebel camera. Last year for my birthday I bought myself this Dana Rebecca necklace. When I started my current job I got another dainty sparkler. To mark this milestone birthday I have my eye on this beauty of a handbag. What do you think, friends – am I worth it?
(Image via Viva Luxury)