Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spend My Money

I’ve never been a financially motivated person. If anything, I'm more afraid of success than failure.

I was a recessionista in the boomtime. I avoided brand names, McMansion mania, vehicles with operational engines, and food that is not a Safeway Club Card special. (Really, I take the circular and plan a whole week’s worth of menus based on what’s on sale.) Even my consumer durables are disposable: my newish stereo died of a massive electric aneurysm, my TV is a hand-me-down, and, for that matter, so are the VCR, microwave, coffeemaker/toaster oven/hot plate combo (I call it, “Frankenkitchen”). I home-dye my hair, trim my own bangs, and don’t have a, er, personal waxer.

My frugality is pretty annoying, isn’t it? No, I’m not smug about it. I’ve never been the sort of person who will follow you around a shop and tell you how overpriced everything is (though I will tell you when that dress makes you look like a kangaroo). And I won’t grimace when you order a second glass of wine.

For the first time in my adult, non-freeloading life, I will have a little cash to spare. Yes, I know I’m climbing while the rest of the world crashes and burns, but I’ve always been contrary.

Starting next month, I’ll be looking into the little upgrades. Maybe I’ll get a larger apartment, but in the same building/rent-controlled warehouse of humanity. Maybe I’ll let a professional hide my nasty gray streaks. Sure, I’ll do the mature stuff: pay down my student loan (my only debt), sock away some savings…yawnworthy, no? Still here?

But I’m going to have some fun that doesn’t involve a vat of Michelob at Recessions, or lonely evenings of Netflix, prosecco and cheese dip. And that’s where y’all come in. Lemmonex asked how you would spend $5,000 of mad money, I’ll ask a slightly different question:

If you could upgrade your lifestyle in just one way, what would it be? More travel? Better furniture? Lasik? Exboyfriendectomy? Tell me, and maybe I'll try it.


Lemmonex said...

I would travel more. There is so much of the world I have not seen. Top of the list is Spain, followed by Argentina, China and Greece.

[F]oxymoron said...

I'd buy a new laptop, make a down payment on a condo in Thailand, and then hire a personal chef to teach my how to cook (again...?)

Shannon said...

Lem - I've always wanted to go to Argentina!

Foxy - Maybe I'll get a laptop that doesn't resemble a child's toy?

Jamie said...

Move up from the PBR and rail drinks. Definitely.

lacochran said...

You didn't mention your retirement fund so the mature thing to advise would be setting up a retirement fund. It helps you give more money to yourself (your older self) instead of the government (taxes).

But that's boring. TRAVEL!!!

Shannon said...

Jamie - I always avoid PBR. But what's the harm in a rail drink? I mean, besides potential blindness?

Lacochran - Oooh, you mean I get to retire someday?

HP said...

I'd finish decorating my newish apartment so certain somebodies can stop asking me if I ever bought some furniture.

restaurant refugee said...

This question seems to imply frivolity, so I shall answer that way. I would buy all of my groceries at Dean & Deluca.

Shannon said...

HP - Well, that certain somebody would be glad to help, because if other somebodies had furniture, then the first somebody wouldn't have to imagine the second somebody eating her dinner while levitating in space. Which, to the first somebody's credit, is a very entertaining mental image.

Refugee - Yes, but would either of us buy the $2,000 ham leg?

Tina said...

I'd go back to my massage therapist. Before I acquired my expensive husband I went once a week. It was my favorite indulgance.

bh said...

Furniture for the Boys bedroom and art for the walls. I hate landlord white. Seriously.

Katherine said...

Acquire a needless entourage to do ambiguous and/or stupid things for me. I foresee a shoe box carrier and maybe a cheese-on-cracker spreader.

Shannon said...

Tina - I don't like massages...the idea of a stranger touching me gives me the creeps. I can't even get manicures.

bh - Landlord White is still better than Vomit Green.

Katherine - Genius. We should all go to a bar as your useless entourage. I'll carry the invisible train of your invisible ballgown.

Titania said...

(1) get someone to do the house cleaning for me
(2) Move back to DC (I have been in the 'burbs for about a year, kinda hate it although I think that probably TK PK where I am is better than VA), to a house with a yard
(3) work half time and ride bikes the other half
(4) last, but not least, travel, travel and keep traveling

Tina said...

I guess my second dream of a nanny wouldn't work for you either. Unless it was a nanny to care for you - pay your bills, make your food, wash your clothes, ferry you to your play dates?

LiLu said...

Traveling. Definitely traveling. Always, my whole life, I hope to spend my money on traveling.

Shannon said...

Titania - ooh, maid service! I had a housekeeper when I was living in Bogota, and it was heaven. She knew not to vacuum anywhere near the master bedroom when I was hung over.

Tina - I would LOVE a nanny to ferry me to play dates (as in, be my DD). Where can I get one? Are you volunteering?

LiLu - I can just see you, off to meet every monkey in the world.

Kate said...

Traveling. I haven't seen near enough of the world.

Anonymous said...

First: Get expensive hobbies and take classes for things like photography, wine or beer making, cooking, scuba diving, skiing, whatever. For instance, if I had an extra 5k lying around, I would take a $2,500 class to become a certified yoga teacher.

Second: Travel for those interests. Into wine? Time to visit Napa! Cozumel for scuba diving? Breweries abound, etc.

KassyK said...

I am eerily similar to you in this used to having no money that when I have it (or when I imagine I will have it)...I will be at a loss.

For me, it will be buying a Fall-Summer-Winter-Spring wardrobe (being a poor fashion lover is hard man) I adore with pieces that will last forever. (Ah, the frugality still comes in).

And with the leftovers? TRAVEL. TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL.

And massages...many massages. :)

Anonymous said...

A maid to at least wash floors and clean the bathrooms.

Anonymous said...

more Sonos boxes & speakers.

Dana said...

I just did mine. I'm moving from the worst neighborhood in Huntsville (seriously, I've been broken in on once, had my car broken into, and there have been murders all over the place in the neighborhood) to the one and only cool part of Huntsville. The place is in walking distance of a NOLA-styled bar, for goodness sakes! Plus I have this pretty 2/3s of a house that fulfils another desire I have - to not live in some place I know I'll leave at some point because I'd switch jobs. I feel slightly settled now.

However, the thing I want to do most is travel. And if there's anyone out there who wants to basically go on a massive pub crawl in London, please lemme know.

Dana said...

Oh, and before I used my tax refund to get the new place, I was going to buy a replacement for my dead MacBook. A refurb one. I also have learned how to cut costs.

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