Saturday, September 18, 2010

Waiting on Happiness

That was the title of an article I read in the August issue of Shape magazine. Just as I read the first few lines, I knew that this acticle was practically about me.
It starts out with a woman who is at a pricy restaurant trying to decide what to order. She ends up getting a low cost item on the menu, when what she really wanted was a lobster dish. Her husband goes ahead and orders whatever he wants, plus a couple appetizers. This is me...

I can remember a time when I went to an expensive steak house with Jim's family. It was a splurge, they aren't normally expensive steakhouse people, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't spend that much (or have someone else spend that much) on my food. $30 steak!! No way!! I ended up getting the salmon, which was considerably less expensive. Don't get me wrong I LOVE salmon so I was really happy with my choice, but I did make the conscious effort to order it, over steak, because it was cheaper. I even recieved some comments, from Jim (and maybe even another family member...I don't remember) about the fact that I didn't order steak. I passed it off by saying that I really wanted salmon...and I did like my salmon, but steak would have been ok too.

I do that ALL the time. When I go to a restaurant (whether I'm paying or not), I scan the menu to see what I want and then look at the prices. A lot of time, I just look at the prices and then see what the entree is. It's not uncommon for me to just buy an appetizer as my entree. They usually have just as much food (because they are meant to share) and they cost less the the entrees. I may really want something else, but I get what's cheaper.

I mentioned in a previous post that I feel like sometimes my frugalness is a crutch. I really do believe it can be. I LOVE that I save money. I love that I use coupons and watch for sales. I love shopping at garage sales and thrift stores. It's my way of recycling. :)
HowEVER, because of the way I shop, I can't just walk into a store and buy something. I have to think about it before I go out and decide who might have the best deal. Do I have a coupon to some place? I may even scour the internet looking to find a coupon I can print out (I do that when I shop online too...looking for discount or free shipping codes). If I don't have a coupon or there isn't some big sale I might walk out of the store without the item in hopes that I can find it cheaper elsewhere.

Waiting on happiness...

Sometimes I'm envious of people who just see something in a store and buy it. No worries about coupons or sales...just pick it out because they want it, or need it, and so they get it. Other times I'm so thankful that I am the way I am. It's not that I NEED that much stuff, but it's nice to have a closet full of clothes and know that I most likely spent an average of $5 on each piece (or less if I really get to thinking about it). I am able to have a few more things beCAUSE I shop the way I do. I'm able to give my kids a few extra toys, and random goodies, beCAUSE I shop the way I do. And they don't know the difference. Maybe one day they will be too embarressed to go to the thrift store, or garage sale, with me. It will be a sad day but I hope to teach them the value of a dollar and the value of thrift stores.
Jim comments to me that I should go shopping at other stores...I don't "have to buy my clothes from a thrift store." But after shopping this way for so long, I can't imagine it any other way. I can't imagine going into a "normal" store and paying $20-$30 for a shirt because in the back of my head I'm thinking, "I could get 5-6 shirts, for this same amount of money, at the thrift store." Jim gave me a gift card to American Eagle for my birthday. I do enjoy looking around at stores like this and I am looking forward to seeing what I can pick out for myself, but it will be hard. I can pretty much guarentee that everything I grab will be from the clearance/sale area. lol

The woman in the article ends up asking the waiter to change her order and she gets the expensive lobster dish. She siezed the moment and gave herself that extra bit of happiness for the night....ordering what she really wanted.
I'm going out with some girlfriends for dinner this evening and I may not get one of the most expensive items but, I'm vowing to you now, that I'm not picking the cheapest item on the menu either (unless it really IS what I want to eat). Some times you just have to sieze the moment, right?


  1. I love how you shop and cut coupons. As you know, I've incorporated many of your ideas into my every day life.

    I grew up in a middle class house; my clothes were bought from KMart and Clover. To this day, whenever I go into a store (no matter what store it is) I ALWAYS start at the clearance rack.

    That being said, I think it's just as important to treat myself every once in a while as a reward for shopping around for deals.

    Your drink is on me tonight, Girlfriend!

  2. Thanks Ann. It's flattering to think that I've helped other people with how they shop.
    I wish I knew back in high school how great thrift stores really are. I just thought they had junk and really outdated clothing. They do have that stuff but there are jems in there too if you are willing to look. :)

  3. *chuckle* roger and i are just as bad. but, my thing is, having actually _made_ clothes, i hate paying more than what's reasonable for the cost of the material and time involved. so, that means about $10 max for pants, and $5 for a shirt, cos that's all they're actually worth.

  4. I am just like you. The other night was a first for me. I don't do that. I usually get a cheap item and drink water - no apps, no desserts. Saturday night was quite a treat!