I have this friend (we'll call her "G"). She and I used to be closer than we once were, I think. (Or maybe I should say - I think our relationship used to be healthier) We went through undergrad together, and we would study in her room, or she would crash on my floor. We would talk about boys, grades, future plans. We were both (relatively) poor, and sometimes she would cook for me, or we'd go out for cheap eats - In n' Out, Del Taco (our splurges were gourmet pizza and sushi). Then we graduated. I officially graduated early - 6 months before her, and moved in with my boyfriend and began working within a month. At that point I had zero rent (we were living with my bf's parents), and I was making a salary that excited me. I had no debt and a respectable amount of savings. Grad school started 8 months later. The stresses of my job (which I was, by then, actively disliking) coupled with the stresses of living with my bf's family jump started my spending habit. Both fortunately and unfortunately for me, I worked right next to a mall. I would go out everyday at lunch, eat a $15 meal from the food court, and shop at the department stores.

A little over a year ago, G got married, and found a full time job. In some ways, she has a similar temperament to me. Stress is a big part of our lives (and probably helps us thrive in some ways); we're not the type to let comments "roll off" our backs. We have significant others who are the polar opposites. Oh, and... we both love to spend.

Around that time, my best friend and I stopped speaking to one another, and G and I started seeing each other more often. In the beginning, we frequented Ross, then Loehmanns. She bought a pair of Chanel sunglasses. I began looking for a designer pair myself. The habit was pushed to the next level.

Eventually, she ended up quitting her job, and began working at various jewelry stores part time while she sorted out her grad school application. Even though she was making much less, she continued to shop with me, and she introduced me to certain (expensive) brands at the boutique around the corner from her house. She wiped out her savings.

Fast forward to today - we're in reverse positions. She took back her full time job, and I quit mine. And we're both still shopping. To give you an idea of how far this habit has escalated, we now shop on Robertson Blvd (in Beverly Hills). She had been obsessed with a Chanel purse for months, and we ended up spying it at Neiman Marcus this past weekend, and then both of us bought Chanels. I spent $2800 on a purse - a chain flap, basically the size of a large clutch.

Before you call me crazy, I took the purse back yesterday. But what is kind of amazing to me is how nonchalant I felt about the purchase. I suppose it's that my mind keeps adjusting, adapting to the pricier and pricier purchases I've been making. There must be a psychological principle that explains that. In any event, it's not helpful to me, at least not right now. How can I get back to the "Ross level", or below?

I haven't articulated to G that I'm trying to save and pay off debt. Maybe that's the first step.

She and I have gone back and forth saying "these are our 20s; we need to enjoy them. Our 30s are for saving." Even my mom, in some sense, agrees. If I am still able to eat and pay for a roof over my head, but my debt grows by nearly 3k, is it justifiable?

No. It's only justifiable to make the purchase if I have the actual money for it. I need to stop viewing my credit cards as money.

My bf would say a $3000 purse would NEVER be justifiable (he doesn't believe $300 is justifiable for a purse either). Maybe there's something wrong with me that I think it could be?


QL girl said...

I don't really think there's something wrong with've just been conditioned to think it. Like you said, slowly you've gotten yourself used to spending more and more on a single purchase. Its like heroin, or so I've heard, lol. After a while that same dose won't give you a high like it used to, so you have to increase it.

Either way, even recognizing what has been happening to you is a big step. At least you're conscious of it now!! Good luck!

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