No More New Things

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No, I haven’t given up shopping though I think the amount I’ll be doing in the next while will decrease exponentially. However, after a number of purchase challenges lately, I’m of the opinion that in general, used is a better choice than new. I am finding that when I splurge for new (and/or expensive), the results are not often worth the extra money. It’s all fine to say “buy quality and you won’t need to spend so much” or “better one good item than several cheap ones” – but that’s not how it’s working for me much of the time.

Winter coat: I couldn’t find a used one. I did buy a new one. It’s red, it’s great. After wearing it for two days, it got spattered and dirty. Quite distinctly and unbelievably so. Oh well; but if I’d paid less, I would have taken it more in stride.

Purse: I bought a new (on sale – also like the coat) red leather purse along with the jacket. It’s fossil, a brand I love though did not own prior to this. Within a couple of days it was water-stained. Plus, though it seemed big enough, I ended up over-stuffing it so it looked too bulky. Paid around $50 (yes, not huge for a purse). At VV the other day, I bought a black small shoulder bag which I LOVE and which has become my new purse. It’s perfectly laid out, smaller than the red one, holds things better, and feels like the kind of casual efficiency I need. With my current life and activities, a small and efficient functional purse feels much better than a gorgeous red leather bag. I’m going to enjoy using it a lot more. I also won’t worry about the water stains or about damaging it – which will make its use that much more fun. Plus, the cost: around $3.50

Black wool v-neck merino wool sweater. Very nice, classic, bought on sale but still more than I’d normally spend ($30 – I”m cheap!). First wear, I snag the wrist on some of the omnipresent velcro in my life. Snags. Sigh, curse you lunch bags and baby goods! Other sweaters bought second hand are still unsnagged (why is that?!) and I like them just as much.

Rain jacket. Bought a new one in the fall as my first and big splurge, spending a few hundred (really don’t remember; don’t want to). After owning it for too long to take it back I realized that 1) the main zipper is sticky and hard to zip up, and 2) when I wear the jacket plus liner and have anything in the pockets, it’s too small and sticks out a the back. BLEH!!! Yes it’s nice but the wrong size. So incredibly annoying. If I’d bought one second hand I might have spent $30 on it – at the most – the look might have been comparable, and the fit too.

Ditto my red leather boots. Yes, gorgeous. But maybe a half-size too big. I don’t even want to think about it.

On the other hand: the majority of clothing I’ve bought second hand fits well, is in great shape, looks good on me. And, if I find it only works for a few wears, I’m really not out a lot. It’s an absorbable cost.

I don’t know if the high stakes of expensive and new purchases make me stupid. Or if the guilt of spending the money illuminates the flaws with these items. Or if it’s inevitable that I’ll hold those items to higher standards, and feel worse if they don’t work.

Or, potentially, the universe is telling me to just save my money. I don’t need new items. There is a glut of high-quality second hand items. I can get enough of what I want in that market, and save the money for better uses.

Note: there definitely are still items I will buy new. Personal garments, shoes in general, some basics that are cheap or easy or important. For sure. But many things can be got elsewhere, and I really want to try more. Just because I’ve saved a lot to date isn’t necessarily an excuse to splurge. But, if I do … that’s okay too! Just remember the lesson of the last few months and proceed with caution.

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