Nov 8, 2012
Readers, if you've been following me a while, you know that I'm something of a tightwad. I hate to spend more than I have to and will only purchase something brand new if I have no other reasonable choice.
But like many tightwads — perhaps, one might argue, by virtue of being a tightwad — I am willing to cough up the dough for certain things that are important to me.
There aren't many of these, of course, but there are a few.
When it comes to pets — a terrible investment, second only to children — you can really only skimp so much. Cheap food will only compromise their health which can lead to higher costs down the line. Chihuahuas don't need fancy wardrobes but they do need warm coats. And obviously, when pets get really sick, they need to go to the vet.
High quality food is important for us humans too, and if I can afford it, I'll buy local and organic. Belonging to a CSA takes care of this for half the year and also ends up being cheaper than shopping at stores like Whole Foods.
Car rentals are another splurge. We don't own a car, so if we need to go anywhere we can't get to on a train easily (or legally with our dogs), we rent a car. It's not cheap, but there's no good alternative, and it allows us to get out of Dodge from time to time.
Mental health services, while not a current expense (thankfully) are something I consider an invaluable investment — much greater than higher education. How you feel about yourself determines how you experience the world and hugely impacts your relationships with others. Sometimes you need to cough up the cash for an emotional tune-up!
Finally, while I sew almost everything I wear, from underwear to outerwear, I'm not about to knit my own socks (not that I know how). And I've found from experience that trying to save money on socks — or anything footwear related come to think of it — is a mistake of the penny-wise/pound-foolish variety.
I bought socks today and let me tell you, prices are high. I'm talking good quality socks — these Wigwam socks happen to be made in the USA from a blend of wool, nylon, and a little lycra. I tend to wear socks around the house instead of slippers — it's drafty here in the winter — so they need to be sturdy. I know there are people who still darn socks with holes in them but that is a skill I have never learned. When my socks get holey, I toss them. (I know some of you are probably stuffing pillows with them or unraveling the yarn and making sweaters.)
While these socks cost more than $10 a pair, they were a lot less than some of the socks I saw which cost more than $20, especially "technical" socks designed for specific sports. I guess you could say mine are hiking socks, but to me they're just thick, warm socks.
Oddly (and happily), one of the pairs I bought today rang up at 50% off, though nothing was marked on the item, nor on the store's website. I suspect it was simply an error in my favor. It's generally hard to find socks on sale since they don't really go out of style. So instead of spending more than $25 on two pairs of socks, I spent about $20. Hey, you only have two feet and some people don't even have that. Mine take a lot of abuse so I try to treat them well. It's not like I'm splurging on pedicures or reflexology or anything — not that there's anything wrong with that.
In closing, readers — especially the self-proclaimed tightwads among you — are there things you're willing to pony up the extra cash for even though you know there are cheaper options, either because 1) the more expensive option lasts longer so is more economical in the long run, 2) there's no cheaper alternative, 3) your tightwad ways have earned you the right to splurge on something you care a lot about?
What are you willing to pay top dollar for, even though it irks you and/or surprises those who know you as a penny-pincher?
Jump in — before prices go up!