Saturday, November 6, 2010

What I used to spend my money on

I read a lot of frugality blogs, many of which are kind of half frugality blog and half "here's a great deal!" blogs, which can be a bit difficult for me at times. I love a good deal--who doesn't, but as I've mentioned before, when I began couponing and reading these blogs, I spent more on food and stuff than I had in years. A lot of it was boredom; a lot of it was a need to feel in control of something while my professional prospects seemed hopeless; and a lot if it was just glee at getting good deals (that weren't even that good, just slightly less than I might have previously paid).

One thing that always surprises me when reading these other blogs, is what people want to spend their money on. In my mind, and this may just be where I'm at in my life right now, but I spend money on necessities and save the rest. I may be saving the rest for travel (I consider that a necessity), but I don't buy things for the home, jewelry, beauty treatments etc.

So many of these blogs are concerned with creating inexpensive centerpieces and finding discounts on scrapbooking materials, which I guess if that's what you like, good for you, but for me it just seems extravagant. I'm glad that I see how other people spend their money, though, because it gives me a bit perspective. I'm certainly not making a Thanksgiving centerpiece using remaindered silk flowers and ribbon ends (just sounds like something to dust to me), but if it makes people happy--good for them!

It did get me thinking about what I used to care about--the things that I used to spend all my money on. I started working at age fifteen, and had two jobs by age sixteen. Since I lived with my parents and didn't have to pay for any necessities, it was all just spending money. I saved plenty, sure, but the rest, I just spent on anything and everything that I felt I needed at the time. I get a little sick thinking about all the crap I frittered away money on, and I understand why it was so hard to adjust to a real world where all of my money goes toward necessities and not tacky room decorations.

Books: The biggest thing I used to spend money on was books. I was an avid library user when I was younger--I was there every day--but we moved to a different town when I was twelve, and I kind of forgot about the library. Plus, this library was in a small town, and just didn't have a lot of the books I wanted, so I bought them instead (and borrowed many from friends). As I'm a fast reader--usually at least one book a day, despite working two jobs and having an active social life--you can see how this got expensive.

CDs: By the time I finally bought an iPod, I had 500+ CDs. I actually had enough that I could sell them all to the CD resale place for $1 each, and have enough money to buy the largest iPod on the market at the time. So, that was kind of cool, but still, a lot of money spent.

Tacky Crap from catalogs: I grew up in a very small town, 1500 people, so we had one store. Around age 13, I discovered catalogs, and that was the beginning of the end. I had to order all those CDs because the nearby Pamida didn't stock much that wasn't country, and Columbia House Music Club (my music delivery system of choice) often sent along a catalog of tacky plastic wall decorations that were decidedly rock and roll. I bought a lot of them.

It's funny, looking back, because the things that I used to spend all my money on, I never buy anymore. I don't want to have books in my house anymore because they take up too much space and get so dusty (though I do have a few that I read over and over again, and some collectible ones), I get all my music and books from the library now. I do still buy stuff from catalogs, but now it's about four times a year rather than weekly, and is usually clothes, not wall decorations.

I guess it's all indicative of growing up and priorities changing, but it's also weird to look back on your own life and think that the things that were most important are now least important. I'm not talking reading (I still do that), but buying books. I used to have a big thing about liking owning books, and now I could really care less. I wonder if I'll ever start caring about centerpieces.

What was your big thing back in the day?

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