The Goddess Speaks
It’s time to live the frugal life
Mom called yesterday to scold, "You'd better start saving for your nest egg!" First of all, no "hello"? Second, who says that, and third, did mama bird really expect me to take her advice when she spends her inheritance checks at Neiman Marcus? I wondered if she had just received my credit card statement. Yikes!
I want to save money, I really do. Except there's one small problem: I want everything! There's always a pair of jeans that make my legs look pencil thin and a top that, with the right bra, makes the twins look rather ... Then, of course, I have to buy one in every color. And when it's not clothes, it's a Chanel handbag, diamond earrings or other outrageously expensive things I would never consider if I had to pay bills.
Last week, I tried to save money by shopping at Nordstrom Rack and walked out with eight pairs of shoes. It doesn't take a mathematician to see that I didn't save any money there.
It's discouraging opening a checking account at age 25 (Mom enticed me with Hello Kitty checks) and not getting approved for Cover Check because I have no credit. I'm beginning to realize that no credit equals no nest.
In my quest to appease my mother, I thought of ways to save money while still being able to enjoy my accustomed way of life. If I settled for lower-end dining (instead of Pineapple Room or Nobu) and learned to cook, I would not only give my boyfriend a heart attack, but save $300 to $500 a week on dinner alone.
If I stopped purchasing dry-clean-only clothes, I wouldn't have to pay each time I wear my already expensive outfits. And, if I watched my cell phone minutes on my $39.99-per-month plan, Mom wouldn't be screaming about my $160 bill.
I suppose I could manicure my own nails and wax my own eyebrows instead of having them done by a professional. Then I'd be what they call "low maintenance." Also, if I changed my attitude, clipping coupons for toothpaste and shaving cream could be fun. Right?
Maybe it would be easier if I made my money inaccessible by locking my savings into CDs. Or I could seek help from Shopaholics Anonymous. I'm open to suggestions.
In many ways I envy frugal people. I know a guy who turns off all the lights and unplugs all appliances (yes, even the microwave, TV and computer) before leaving the house. I have a friend who refuses to rinse her rice more than once for fear of wasting water. I have another friend who will buy something (even something she needs) only if it's on sale. Ridiculous as it might seem, they all know how to save.
As usual, Mom is right. It's about time I become independent and save, because in the "real world" that I don't yet live in, everything costs money. Then again, Mom also promised that if I pop out a grandkid, she'd pay for everything.
Lauren M. Chang is a full-time Star-Bulletin/Midweek ad staffer, part-time frugal wannabe.
The Goddess Speaks is a feature column by and about women. If you have something to say, write "The Goddess Speaks," 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210,
Honolulu 96813 or e-mail email@example.com.