Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Get the Balance Right

I'm going to say something that might be shocking - I'm not cheap. I am the black sheep of this Whoreder family, because I love splurging and will never be described as frugal. So what, you may be asking, am I doing here? Over the last few years I've been much more responsible with my money and spending choices. Before running out and buying something, I research it and try to get a second "do I need this?" opinion. And if I still really need to have it, I'll look for deals or coupons before committing to buy anything. Of course, I've had some slips, like spending my last $20 on a plate of Gorgonzola gnocchi instead of saving it for gas money. But for the most part, I've made a lot of progress. The biggest reward I've seen (aside from a healthier 401k) is a much improved credit score, from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me low 600s to the you-go-girl mid 700s. For the first time since... ever, I no longer have bad credit shame!
So while I'm learning to make better choices about not overspending, today I learned that the perils of underspending. I popped into my local CVS for Red Vine fix and got the urge to buy some new nail polish. I had coupons for two different brands, but rather than work out which was the better deal my eyes zeroed in on a bargain brand for $1.99 - huzzah! Or so I thought...

I skipped out with my discount lacquer, smugly thinking how I'd saved $3 or $4 by going with the off-brand. I painted nails while my dog napped, and the first sign I'd made a mistake hit me. The smell. Ugh, it was awful, more like varnish than polish. Then I noticed how watery the polish itself was, and streaky to boot. I soldiered on, hoping it would look okay once it dried. Well, not only did it NOT look okay, but the smell lingered despite washing my hands. So I ended up removing all the polish and tossing the bottle into the junk drawer. The worst part is that I could hear my mother's voice, "Compras barato, comras cada rato, Vanessa!" This translates into "Buy cheap, buy often." Meaning that in skimping to save a few bucks, I ended up wasting $2 on junk that I'll have to replace with the stuff I was going to buy in the first place. In letting myself get carried away and going with the cheapest thing on the shelf, I blew $2 (that could have gone towards a nice product) on crap. Long story longer, not a smart choice.
For me, being smart about money means finding the right balance between being a spendthrift and a penny-pincher. Yes, I like spending money on nice things for myself but I had to learn that in order to do that and not go broke, I had to make better decisions. That means more than just cutting back on expenses and taking the time to plan purchases. It also sometimes means paying a bit more for better quality to avoid throwing money away on something that will either break or give me less-than-stellar results.
We Whoreders are four ladies who came together in the name of savings, but we've got four different point of views to offer. Single, married, mother, east coast, west coast, etc., we've each got our own style, technique and focus. Being a Whoreder is ultimately about choosing what path and balance is right for you and working it.

1 comment:

  1. I hate that feeling of buying what you think is a good find only to find it to be a bad choice. I am all about saving some money when need to but sometimes bargain "ritz" crackers leave a sour taste in your mouth.