For obvious reasons, I've been trying to spend less and save more money lately.
This means drastically cutting down on "want" type purchases. I've stopped buying books and started borrowing everything from the library (especially graphic novels). I've also stopped buying or renting movies now that I've discovered the library's collection, which is actually pretty good.
But to really save money, I've been seeing how far back I can trim "needs" as well.
For example, tofu is a cheap and healthy alternative to meat that both my husband and I enjoy. I've also learned that Dove soap is a perfectly good makeup remover and is significantly cheaper too. In a pinch, corn starch works just as well, if not better than dry shampoos (plus, there's no weird ammonia smell).
But there are some needs I just can't ignore. The other day, I was putting on my shoes and discovered two quarter sized holes in the back of each heel. Granted, I've been wearing these shoes for almost seven years now, but I didn't realize I'd worn them out quite so badly.
So I need to buy a new pair of shoes, but it's never that easy.
I'm really, really bad at shopping. I consistently make stupid choices and end up wasting money. I don't know how I do it. I will spend over an hour trying on different pairs of shoes. I'm very careful to test them for comfort and how well they'll work with my outfits. Eventually, I'll make a decision and buy them.
But once I've worn the shoes a few times, I almost always decide I hate them. I'll think they make me look stumpy. Or they'll hurt my feet if I walk in them for longer than five minutes. Something like that. And by that point they're too scuffed and worn to return. This happens almost every time and then I'll have to go out and buy another pair. And maybe another. It might take me three or four purchases before I've finally found the shoes I like.
Isn't that wasteful? And expensive? I just can't afford to shop like that anymore.
It's gotten so bad that for the last year or two, I haven't bought any new shoes and have made a point to get as much wear out of my few favorite pairs as much as I can. My old Rockports and Coach shoes have worked pretty well, but obviously they can't, and aren't, lasting forever.
I'm the same way with clothing. I'll need a dress for a specific kind of function (say a casual sun dress for the summer), but it will take me two or three tries before I find one that I love enough to wear.
Last winter, I found a cute plaid shirt for less than $25. I loved it so much in the store, that I decided it would be smart to buy two, knowing how picky I am about my clothing.
Well, I got home and discovered that these shirts had the strangest cut that had somehow escaped my attention in the dressing room. They were really short on the sides, so they covered the entire top-half of my body...except for my love handles, which were completely exposed.
How did I not see that in the dressing room?!!! Now I have two fugly shirts that are useless to me. $50 down the drain.
Solution: Don't go shopping. Clearly, I suck at it.
But then this morning, I put on one of the few remaining t-shirts I own and found there were holes beneath each armpit. Not cute little holes. You could stick your fist through these. Mortifying, but I wore it anyway (with a sweater) because it was literally the best option I had. I need to do some laundry, but I also really some new clothes.
It seems like everything that's being sold is low-quality. It looks good in the store, but it falls apart almost right away, or there's some hidden flaw that doesn't appear until later.
Do you have problems finding good clothes? I feel like it's been a repeated swing and a miss for me lately. I think it makes sense to spend more money on higher quality items that last a long time, but even the expensive stuff is often just a pricey label on a piece of sweat-shop junk. It's hard to know the difference sometimes.