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The Goddess Speaks

TAWANA BARNES

Tuesday, May 14, 2002


How I purged the costly
urge to splurge


I love shopping. I've had my share of maxed-out credit cards and closets full of clothing that gets worn a few times before it turns into last season's discards. I can testify to going overboard every now and again, spending my last $20 on a bra at Victoria's Secret while my gas tank was on "E" and I had a phone bill due, or going to the mall with $200 and coming home with a pair of Fendi shoes and Armani shirt, feeling like I got a good deal.

My schedule was cleared whenever there was mention of a sale or a clearance extravaganza. I literally got chills when I saw the words "Everything Must Go!" Even surfing through eBay and Yahoo auctions kept me shopping at home 24 hours a day. I was ordering from catalogs almost once a week and loving it. To me, too much was never enough. My husband tried to put his foot down and cut my credit cards, but I called the credit card companies for replacements.

AFTER YEARS OF spending money on Prada, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, I asked myself, "Am I buying just a name or a good-quality product? Will a pair of Gucci sandals outlast the ones I see at Wal-Mart for just $9.99? What's the difference between the plain white T-shirt and the white T-shirt with the words "Polo" written across the chest? Does a Rolex watch really tell time better than a Timex? Trying to "keep up with the Joneses" was keeping my pockets empty.

From makeup to perfumes, purses to shoes, we've all found a way to spend that extra dollar because of the catchy brand name. Even in grocery stores. Is Velveeta really the cheesiest, and can you truly get the urge with Herbal Essence shampoo? I realized the huge, brainwashing impact television ads had on me and everyone else. Even though my husband was trying to control my spending habits, he was into high-priced electronics, car rims and $150 Jordans (that didn't improve his basketball game).

When I added up the large amounts of money I spent on designer merchandise, I realized it was a waste. Clothing styles are just like the seasons, changing every few months. And spending thousands of dollars on a certain look that'll last for just a moment isn't the smartest move. I can't remember the last time I saw someone wearing a pair of Sassons!

I learned that comfort is better than a name brand. I do get the urge to splurge every now and then, but most of the time, a cheap knockoff of a designer style is just as suitable as the real thing.

Maybe one day when I can afford to toss money around like the rich and famous, I'll go ahead and increase my spending limits. But for now I think really hard about buying a pair of sandals that cost more than an entire outfit.


Tawana Barnes is an editorial
assistant at the Star-Bulletin.



The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802, or send e-mail
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