My partner and I don’t often hit the mall. In fact, it is quite rare for us to spend anytime at your average American shopping mall. Some of this has to do with society today; one never knows when a crazy person is going to open fire and there is a lot of safety to be had in ordering what you need from the likes of an Amazon as a result. The other reason is that we find our time very valuable and walking around looking at things we either shouldn’t or can’t buy isn’t our idea of fun.
Still, we needed to get baseball tickets for my partner and his father. So, because we both refuse to pay all the fees that seem to be piled on top of the cost of tickets when you purchase them on line, we decided to hit the mall where the Giants have a brick and motor and don’t charge too many additional fees. Go Phillies.
That’s when I experience, real time, the price of lux. Not in the Giants store of course, that transaction was blessedly straight-forward, but elsewhere. The mall closest to us that had a Giants store also had Prada and Tiffany’s and just about every other luxury store you can think of.
We were doing great just passing them all by until my partner decided to stop into a jewelry store (don’t get excited, I never do) to check on the price of Rolex watches. Now, to be clear, he already has one. He bought it way back in the 90s before he knew me. He wanted me to look at the women’s Rolex watches. Sure, fine. They actually now have one small enough and sized for my impossibly tiny wrist. To placate him, I even tried it on then I glanced at the price and couldn’t stop my eyes from rolling in the back of my head.
Eight thousand seven hundred dollars.
I smiled politely, said thank you, gracefully slipped the watch from my lithe wrist and practically shoved my partner out of the store.
“ARE. YOU. INSANE.”
This is what I basically said to him. Having bought one as an investment a long time ago, he didn’t seem to think the price tag was that outrageous. Besides, he assured me, everything is negotiable.
My pivotal thought is that even if he got the price negotiated down, even if he got it down a full thousand dollars, what else could I do with $7,700?
So, that is what I ask you, my frugal friends, to think about what else you could buy with the money when you are tempted to buy something classified as a luxury item. For example, for the price of that watch, I could pay for six tickets to Kauai, first class and round trip no less with money to spare. That would constitute the price of travel for my daughter and her family, myself and my partner. The trip of a lifetime for my grandchildren. We could also take that money and as a family, spend a week in Disney World with funds to spare. I could afford to scale Machu Picchu and treat my partner besides. I could return to my childhood home of Hong Kong and shop like a rich local. I could take a ritzy cruise, pay down my mortgage, get a face lift, bank the money, the list goes on and on.
Notice, however, that not one of those options I listed included the notion of buying another luxury item. This is because like most frugal folks, I value experiences over material things. The thought of spending a week in mouse ears, battling humid and gator infested Florida is not particularly appealing but spending that time making memories with my grand babies sure is. Sharing my love of Hawaii with my grand children is nearly irresistible.
So, did I like the watch? Of course, it was exquisite and on my slender wrist with my long fingers and perfectly manicured nails, frankly stunning. It broadcasted that I’d made it, I was a woman of worth and value but the thing is, I am already a woman of worth and value. I don’t need a Rolex to tell the world that, I only need know that for myself. Armed with self worth and a frugal mindset, I can walk away from the sparkle of a masterfully crafted Rolex every single day of the week.