I’ll be the first to admit that I’m kind of slow at this whole “adult” thing. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am doing pretty well for myself, but as a person who is borderline obsessed with self-improvement – I know that I am riding the short bus in a few key areas. Finance being one of them. I’m damn good at making money, but I’m also damn good at spending it.
What can I say? I’m a spender, not a saver.
When I scroll through my Facebook feed (what a dangerous place to be) I see all of the people I went to high school with. They are long settled into that “American dream” thing. You know the husband, the house, the kids, and the same group of women they bonded with back in high school. They probably have a nice fat 401k and money put aside to put their kids through college.
Then I look at my life. I kicked that “American dream” straight in the teeth. At 24 when everyone else was getting engaged, I packed up and moved to Los Angeles. Spent my first four years in LA making poor life decisions and working around the clock at start-up companies. I don’t regret a second of it because it shaped who I am today. At 28, I quit my job, got my shit together, and started not one but two businesses. Tack on seven more years of working round the clock, paired with much better life decisions (live and learn).
So here I am 35 years old not married, no kids, a closet full of clothes and a wall full of shoes, in a beautiful apartment that I rent in the city. Am I better or worse than my suburban high school acquaintances? No. Do I need to get my shit together? Yes.
The interesting thing about being a strong, driven woman is that time seems to pass us by a bit faster than everyone else. I’ve been so busy working and actively ignoring my version of the American dream that I didn’t bother to work it into my “plan.” Sure I’ve always wanted a house, kids (although I tricked myself into believing I didn’t want them for years), and a husband (another thing I pretended I didn’t want) but I always figured I could get to that later.
I’ve mentioned it before, but 35 has been a motherfucker (in a good way). It’s like awakening after awakening, so many that I can barely keep up. My most recent awakening is that I need to buy a house. Not because “you’re supposed to” but because I want to, and I’d like to start getting some real estate in my portfolio (look at me trying to use financial terminology).
I can clearly picture my “dream” life in my bad ass house but guess what, I need to plan for it. Part of that plan is not spending all of my money on shoes, clothes, and other things I mindlessly spend money. I don’t know if you watch Blackish but last week’s episode focused on this exact topic (PS- I’m obsessed with hat show) and was another reminder that this is a goal I need to focus my energy on.
Actual photo of the dream house, don’t buy it – it’s mine!
A few days after deciding on saving for my dream house I told a few key people in my life – one of my best friends, my man, and my business partner. Little did I know they would all start holding me accountable for my decisions going forward. Specifically, my man.
After a client fitting, there were a few pieces I wanted to buy for myself: a top, a pair of shoes, and a skirt. I texted him to show him how cute everything looked on me. His response? You need to buy a house.
I was seconds away from mindlessly spending almost $800. That is $800 that can go towards my house. Not to mention the vest I almost slipped in, that would have tacked on an additional $500.
Talk about a wake up call. I felt like Carrie Bradshaw when she couldn’t buy her apartment because of her shoe habit. I may have certain positive Carrie qualities (hello, killer style) but that financial commonality needs to be flushed down the toilet immediately.
So now I am holding myself accountable with all of you as well, and becoming a more mindful shopper, which is also a very productive method to establishing great style. Let me dive into that for a moment.
One of the questions I ask all of my clients is this, “On what basis do you typically buy your clothes? Impulse, as needed, methodically, or for special occasions.” I would have to choose impulse, and if I look back on my history, I know where that leads me. It leads me to epic closet purges, wearing items only once, and being left with pieces that don’t feel very me.
My guess is that this fashion diet will not only save me money but also force me to only buy pieces that I love, and that will fit in better with the rest of my wardrobe.
Maybe this fashion diet won’t be so bad. I’ll keep you posted. What I can tell you is that I put the money I was going to spend into my house fun. Baby steps.