Alternately titled “Why Shopping at American Eagle Makes Me Feel Good”
It’s not supposed to, I know. I’m not supposed to get excited about shopping. I’m supposed to be very unemotional about it, spend as little money as possible, and get out of there as quickly as I can! But I don’t when I shop at American Eagle.
First of all, the store is so bright and colorful. It’s fun to look at the way they arrange outfits on their mannequins. It’s clean. The employees smile and make witty comments at the register. It’s a nice place to be.
I also like their clothes. I once wore a pair of American Eagle jeans for 7 years! (Before you start to worry, yes I did wash them occasionally.) They held up very well, and were the most comfortable pair of jeans I have ever owned.
So when I went in there today, I was definitely expecting to pay quite a bit for a couple of pairs of jeans and maybe a shirt or two. But I didn’t mind spending the money. Why? Because I knew the money was well spent. So, while I’m all about saving money where you can, I’m also about spending it where it makes sense and where it makes you happy.
Where it Makes Sense
It doesn’t make sense to spend $50 on a Wal-Mart pair of jeans, but maybe it makes sense to spend $50 on a high-quality, comfortable pair that you’re going to wear for years. Instead of paying $20 once a year, you can pay $50 once? Of course, for it to make sense financially, that pair will have to last you 2 1/2 years. That is entirely feasible for a high-quality brand that you take care of. But the financial aspect isn’t the only viewpoint to take into account.
Where it Makes You Happy
I’m sure there are some people who could care less about which brand of jeans they wear. If that’s you, please please don’t spend $50 on a pair of jeans when you can get a pair for $20 at Wal-Mart, or even $7 at a garage sale. Spend your money on what makes you happy and where you like to spend it.
The idea is, if you are frugal in the areas that you don’t care about, you can splurge in the areas that you do care about.
So here’s another way to breakdown the “cost” of the pair of jeans:
If the Wal-Mart jeans last for one year, and the American Eagle jeans last for two years, then you end up spending $15 “extra” dollars. Are they $15-worth of comfortable? Do they make you $15-worth of happy? If not, don’t buy them. If so, go for it (assuming you can afford it and don’t fall for the credit card pitch).
See what I’m saying? Your viewpoint of what’s valuable and what’s not is going to differ drastically from mine, so we don’t need to set up arbitrary rules about what each other’s budget should look like. The idea is to maintain a frugal attitude in the areas where you just don’t care so that you can have fun in the areas where you do care.
Side note: This argument changes a little bit when you’re still in debt. We do still have a credit card bill and a van note we’re trying to pay off, so I’ll be required to make these jeans last three years, in which case I’ll actually be saving $10. See what I did there?