Monday, February 18, 2013

Splurge vs. save.

I have a pair of $30 fake-leather boots from Target that I've been tromping around in for awhile now. I bought them because they were cute, they go with jeans as well as they do with a skirt, and they fit my giant calves*. And they've been good to me, for the most part.

But then, a couple weeks ago, I found myself walking downtown with my friend Hannah to watch Nik Wallenda tightrope-walk, untethered, across U.S. 41 (you may have seen this on the news). My office is downtown, less than half a mile from where we eventually ended up, but by the time we walked there, watched Wallenda walk and then got back to the office, the bottoms of my feet were burning. Sadness.

I also have a pair of Frye boots that my best friend Kate found me on a very successful thrifting trip. I have never once felt uncomfortable in them after wearing them for an extended period of time; the same thing can be said for a years-old pair of Miss Albright shoes from Anthropologie that I love (my first major shoe splurge—my finger was literally shaking when I pressed the "purchase" button) and another pair of Frye wedges that I wear all the time.


Obviously, I'm not saying that all expensive shoes are well-made and comfortable, just that, as I get older, I'm wondering if it doesn't make more sense to invest in shoes (and other items) that I know will last forever. Joy recently wrote a great post about this, which is what got me thinking about it, and now I'm curious to know: What do you guys splurge on and what do you choose to save on? (I don't have an unlimited income, so for me, splurges require a fair amount of saving, which means I have to think even more carefully about what I choose to spend on.)

P.S. If you guys have any great boot suggestions—either makers or styles—for my aforementioned giant calves*, they would sure be appreciated!

Photo: Atlantic-Pacific 


  1. I just found your blog via Leaner by the Lake, and I'm so glad I did! This post sums up my shopping/consumer ethos: save where I can so I can splurge where I want. I'm an AmeriCorps volunteer so a "splurge" is like, a $40 dress, but it still feels big to me. I consider my splurges to be plane tickets home to visit my family, organic meat and eggs (and pretty much no limits on buying fresh vegetables, which add up), and the occasional shoe/clothing purchase. I always wait until I've been thinking "I really want item X" for a few months, and I usually look at Goodwill a few times before buying something new. Because I'm pretty regimented with spending out of necessity, I feel fine with splurging from time to time!

    1. Hey, Alicia! Welcome! Thanks so much for sharing your shopping philosophy--it pretty much mirrors my own (a cardigan from Anthropologie or similar is a splurge; I'm not talking, like, a Chanel bag here!). And I love that you include organic meat and fresh veggies on your splurge list, too--they, in addition to good skincare products, are things I've realized are worth the investment, too.

      Thanks for your comment and for clicking over from Eileen's blog (I just love her site!). xo

  2. Splurge: winter coats that I'll be seen in every day for five months, shoes to wear to fancy restaurants so I don't get judged by the snooty hostesses, jeans that actually fit.

    Save: everything else. So I can also buy more plane tickets to visit my family.

    (Hello! Saw your comment on another blog this morning.)

    1. Hi, Katie! Welcome. :) Love your splurge/save list--jeans and travel get a resounding "yes!" from me.

  3. Lovely lady I am in the big calve boat with you, thanks to years of dance and sport as well as some kickass Eastern European genes. I recently bought this pair of rainboots which has held up really well:

    As for snow/outdoors boots, I had my big splurge this year on Sorrels. Though I've lived in Chicago for 5 years, and the mid-west for most of my life, I had yet to actually own legit outdoor boots. If you live in snow-land you know that Uggs are not the real deal :) These fellows, and anything by Sorrel is MAGIC. Here's the boots:

    As far as the splurge worthy items on my end - aside from good, whole, foods stocked in the fridge, I'd say that handbags and select wardrobe pieces are my favorites. I buy one new handbag ~ every three years and I save up and deal hunt to make it count. This winter I bought at fancy little Kate Spade leopard print number on clearance that i'd been watching for MONTHS.

    When it comes to wardrobe, I buy a few of "fancy" items form J.Crew/Ann Taylor/LOFT and wear them into the ground - Sweaters, blazers, and quality cardigans are the same deal. Then, when it comes to trendier stuff - I deal hunt and campy out at Old Navy, Gap, and (again) LOFT. It's unbelievable what you can put together and pull off with some select mix and matching. I think I've cracked the code on the "this looks like J.Crew but it's actually AnnTaylor Loft and Old Navy". Also, in case you're not a LOFT girl, I love that store for the price model that offers sales like every other day. They fit well in both the fancy and trendy category and it really allows for me to build a wardrobe that will last.

    The one thing I don't really spend on is beauty products, which I think actually surprises most people who know me. I'm a huge make-up buff and love to play dress up and look like a fancy lady, but I've never been one to buy myself the expensive products on a regular basis. What can I say, I'm a Revlon girl.

    In term of skincare, I went big for the Clairsonic last year and it's been amazing. I've yet to find skincare products - lotion and face-wash outside of my regular Aveeno favorites but would love to hear yours.

    Woah, wrote you a novel. That's all :)

    1. Ahh, this comment is amazing! Thank you, E.! I read your post on the Sorrels and I have to say, I am kind of sad there is not really a need for them here in good old FL (even on the coldest days it's not uncommon to see people bundled up in sweaters, scarves, pants and, uh, flip-flops, ha). And I love your splurge/save philosophy when it comes to clothes. :)

      I've been using a fancy-ish face wash from the spa where I get my eyebrows done these days, but I don't really love it--I wear makeup every day and it doesn't really seem like it's cleansing enough for me. I have a Clarisonic, too, but my eyebrow lady told me that because I have finicky skin (sensitive, roseacea, dry and sometimes a little oily, ugh) I should cut back on using it, so now I'm on the hunt for a great cleanser that I can use every day and that will still give me that super-clean feeling. That's definitely a splurge I'm willing to, maybe I'll do a post about it!

      Thanks again for this comment! So awesome. :)

    2. Oh! Just seeing this reply now :)

      I was having issues with using my Clarisonic too often as well. I started using it only in the shower and at max 2 times a week. That's helped a lot. The winter makes me skin crazy dry so I was basically blasting my face off during ever use :)

      The cleanser that I've been using lately is Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Cleansing Wash. It's like $4 from Target, but thus far is doing the trick.

  4. I was just thinking about this as I never splurge on anything, even though I don't have to follow such a tight budget these days. I'm more likely to want to spend money on my daughter rather than myself. I shop the clearance rack in Marshall's and find decent clothing brands for prices like $5 or $10 and basically that has worked pretty well for me, though you do have to look out for holes in garments sometimes. The reason I've been thinking of this topic, however, is because it is harder to find good shoe bargains. Like clothing, I for some reason can't bring myself to spend $30 on an item, especially shoes that get dirty so quickly up here in the north. I'm rethinking this stance because I've been getting small leaks in the cheaper winter boots (not good for a snowy climate), making them only last a year or two. So yeah, I just might concentrate on seeking out better brands.