Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fiscal Reflection

I've had months to reflect on my past choices in life. Not the in depth, soul searching, trying to find myself kind of reflection mind's more like the kind that ends in my wanting to kick my past self in my dumb, irresponsible A$$.

Prior to the end of October 2008, I worked. I worked alot. I loved working (as much as the next person if we're all being honest here). I had a purpose and I was paid well for my skills and abilities. My husband and I were D.I.N.K's. (Double Income No Kids) and while we wanted a child (one day) we were also quite happy to spend our hard earned money in any manner we saw fit (this is why I want to kick past self's A$$!). During those fat years, we weren't really living high on the hog, but we definitely weren't scraping to make ends meet.

Times are now lean and I have been staring at some of those items that were "must haves" or "Oooo we need those" or "it's fine we both work" and they are mocking me. Those items stare right into my eyes with a know-it-all smirk and mock me. Here's a brief inventory:

Purses: I think up until this time last year I owned well over 35 handbags. In my defense (like there really is one), they weren't Coach or Dooney & Bourke or even Vera Bradley. Some of them were gimmicky, who doesn't need a red corset purse...right?? Some of them went with specific outfits (Yes, you read correctly I had purses for specific outfits). Some were retro purses because I like that kind of thing, I thought it added character to an outfit (I still think that if its the right purse).

Shoes: I've never been a "shoe" gal. Just not my thing (I liked purses...obviously). However, that didn't stop me from buying shoes...lots of shoes. I have a beautiful pair of soft leather, warm medium brown, knee high Bandolino boots (I live in FL...I don't even wear them anymore), but I HAD to have those boots ($150)! I also bought a plethora of heels (seriously, I can't even walk in those things) in all colors and styles. Unfortunately, buying all these shoes was not my only offense... I also bought plastic shoe boxes to store them. Heaven forbid my shoes not be protected from the evils of Dust (gasp!).

My favorite silk blouse.
Clothes: Now we all NEED clothes, unless you live in a nudist colony ( thanks!). I had so many articles of clothing that I didn't have to do laundry for at least two weeks. I kid you not. They were everywhere. I had hangers that would hold multiple skirts and slacks just to get it all into my itty-bitty closet. There were suits (a three piece Bandolino...ah, memories...), dresses, skirts, blouses (a red silk w/white pin striping was my favorite), textured hosiery, jackets (cloth, leather, mid thigh, biker style), casual, club, professional, church, formal, semi-formal... I was prepared for almost every type of event one could imagine shy of a Presidential dinner or a Hollywood awards show. 

Movies/Music: We all love to be entertained and we were no exception. Imagine two 8 foot long shelves and sitting on these shelves are 16 stacks of DVD cases and each stack containes approximately 30 DVD's. Do the need, I did it for you...that totals...drum roll please...480! That is a rough estimate so give or take 20ish. We all know how much DVD's cost so I'm not even going to go there. Sadly, our music collection is worse. I can't even wrap my mind around how many albums we own on CD, digital, or vinyl (my husband LOVES vinyl).

Here's my defense:

Designer leather skirt (worn twice)
still unsold.
My elaborate wardrobe (clothes and shoes) was a right of passage that I was denied for many years due to my weight. At one point, I was over 300 pounds (that's an entire story on its own) and once the pounds melted off I was about 160. I went into overdrive when it came to my clothes. Yes, I look back on all the money I spent and wish I put half of it in the bank, but for once I was "normal" and it felt fabulous. The purses were just something I developed a taste for over the years and I'm still a sucker for a good purse. I have now whittled that collection down to maybe 15 and my all time favorites stayed (mostly Fossil handbags, well made and reasonably priced).

In regards to our entertainment budget... We were D.I.N.K's. Our bills were paid. We had the money and we didn't see anything wrong with spending it as we saw fit.

We kinda sorta planned for the future. I was going to keep my decent paying job (or find a new one) and we were going to have a "perfectly" healthy baby. That was our plan. It didn't work out that way (read more about that here). Now my current self wants to kick my past self in the a$$ (repeatedly) for being too comfortable in the present and not giving enough consideration to the possibility of an uncertain future.

I have sold of many of these now frivolous items (along with anything else I deemed sellable), but not the music/movies (not worth it). Partially, because I can no longer wear the clothes or shoes and keeping them just seems ridiculous, but mainly because even if I sold my favorite suit for only $20 was $20 bucks I didn't have and it was $20 bucks that helped pay a bill (medical or other).

Something I have learned from this time of reflection: Don't live your life only in the present because the future you have in your mind is not guaranteed (I think I always knew that, but disregarded it). It is perfectly acceptable to indulge from time to time, but in moderation...everything in moderation. Try to keep in mind that no one expects the unthinkable to happen. I know we didn't. So, my new fiscally responsible (read as financially strapped) self has been cleaning house and reflecting on all those "must haves" that really weren't.

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