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But I neeeeed it!

October 4, 2013

That’s what my 2-year-old says to me every time he wants something. As in “Mommmyyyyy, I neeeeed my markers.” To which I respond, “You don’t need it, you want it.”

Last night/this morning I found myself whining that exact phrase to my husband. “But honey, I neeeeed a new saree to wear to that engagement ceremony.” I knew I was acting like our son, but still. It wasn’t the same. The last time I bought sarees/lenghas/etc. was for our wedding…3 years ago! And, I didn’t even get the usual trousseau of Indian clothes. I bought a relatively inexpensive lengha for our rehearsal dinner/Pithi; a relatively inexpensive lengha for our wedding reception and my mom bought me the super expensive saree for our wedding ceremony.  Before that, the last time I bought Indian clothes was in 2006 for my cousin’s wedding! And I don’t have a ton of these outfits – my mom bought me one outfit for my brother’s engagement ceremony*, I have a total of 5 or 6 sarees (some of which are 13 years old!), and I have 3 lenghas, including the ones I bought for my wedding. To keep it in perspective, In a year where I don’t have any brown people weddings to go to, I probably wear about 6-7 outfits. When there is a wedding/event to go to, it usually goes up to 10 outfits/year. Clearly I need more outfits.

These are the thoughts that went through my head until I got to work this morning. I was so worried about it that I had a hard time sleeping last night, and my hubby kept asking me why I was so sad this morning. In my mind I was going through what I had to figure out what I could wear, what might be dressy enough, stylish enough, etc. After all, it wasn’t just anyone’s engagement, it was one of my really good friends from college!! And I love this stuff – I LOVE getting dressed up and doing my hair and makeup just right and putting on a pair of my killer heels. I love the way I feel when I get dressed up and actually have the time to do it right. My husband always tells me I look amazing and gorgeous (thanks honey!!) but I actually feel that way when I get dressed up.

And then on my metro ride to work this morning I had some time to think. A new outfit would likely cost $300 or more. We could find $300 but would it really be worth it? My brother is getting married in May and my mom is going to be getting me a couple outfits for his wedding* so I’m going to have a few more pieces in my collection soon anyway. Plus, I really really love the lengha I wore for my Pithi and while it is dressy, it’s not over the top bridal and I really want to wear it again – just somewhere where no one has seen me in it. I guess when it comes down to it, I want to buy something new. I want to have something special to wear for this special time in my friend’s life, and I want something hip and trendy.

This got me thinking about another thing – why is it that I feel I have to have something new for it to be worthy to wear to a special event? I’ve pretty much always felt that way, and more so with Indian clothes than with my super dressy dresses. I guess that it was just habit and routine – we would all get new outfits for major celebrations/events and my mom literally has 2 closets for all of her Indian clothes. Most of my friends also have tons of Indian clothes and I guess I just feel inadequate because I don’t have as much. The truth of the matter though, is that most of my friends get their clothes when they go to India or Pakistan where it is much much cheaper than in the states, so of course they have more than double the clothes I do.

Also, I remember that when I got married, I wasn’t really focused on what everyone else was wearing – I was just super happy and excited to share such a special time with the people I loved most. I’m pretty sure that’s also how my friend feels too. But, I still want something new to wear. So, I turned to craigslist to see if I could find anything, and, what do you know – there’s actually some decent stuff out there! I saw a really pretty outfit for about $60 that looked like it easily would have cost  $300+ at a boutique, so I emailed the seller and I may go check it out on Sunday. However, as the day has passed, I’ve realized that I actually really want to wear the outfit I wore for my Pithi. One of the reasons I fell in love with it was because I thought I might actually be able to wear it again. So, I emailed my friend to make sure it wouldn’t be too dressy or she wouldn’t be upset if I wore it to her engagement. And guess what – she thought it was beautiful and had no problem with me wearing it! I can’t wait!

So what’s the point of all of this? For me, the point is that instead of resolving to buy something new or pouting and being mad that I can’t buy a new outfit, I actually took the time to reflect on why I wanted it and to think about it from an outside perspective.  I think that by analyzing some of the reasons that I want to spend money or buy things, I’m actually addressing issues that are much deeper seeded. My worth, my beauty, my happiness and my friendships are not based on money or things. Being focused on paying off our debts forced me to dig deeper and because of that, I feel content with my decision and what I’m wearing – not like I’m settling or compromising, but genuinely content with my choice and that is a great feeling to have! Now, I’m super excited for the festivities to start in a couple weeks and even more motivated to take my butt to the gym so I can rock my outfit – and it didn’t even cost me a dime:)

*I am not a freeloader, I promise! This is a custom in my culture – I am sure I will more than pay it back when my kiddo gets married one day:)

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3 Comments
  1. Oh my gosh, emotional spending is TOTALLY my struggle. It is something I need to get WAY better at. At least I am aware of it, right? That’s a good first step, at least. Now I need to work on making myself better at dealing w/ it!

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