On indulging oneself
As a college student, it's important for me to pay careful attention to my spending habits. My parents pay for my tuition and apartment, give me a monthly stipend and I do make a bit on my own, but money certainly isn't falling from the sky (and what a shame!).
Often, I become fixated on a certain thing, whether it be a pair of shoes, a beauty product or a specific colored Sharpie Pen, and think about it a little too much until I finally get it. (It's true, I couldn't stop daydreaming about the tropical-hued Sharpie Pens until I finally found them at Target a few weeks ago.) Unsurprisingly, my wallet cannot keep up, and these fixations soon turn into lists.
There are two categories of my mental material lists: attainables and unattainables. Attainables include things like a new Bauble Bar necklace, a silk blouse from J. Crew, a coffee table book, a refill of my favorite Philosophy lotion–affordable things that don't put a dent in my sad, sad bank account. Unatainables on my list are a Chanel 2.55 bag, a pair of black Christian Louboutin pumps and another David Yurman bangle.
O.K., yes, these lists are vastly contrasting. In other terms, attainables can be purchased multiple times a month, and unnatainables can be purchased about once a year. Impulse vs. calculated, affordable vs. expensive, and depending on who you ask, smart vs. stupid.
I think we all battle with the urge to buy. The advent of online shopping is certainly no help. I'll admit I look at Gilt, Hautelook and Shopbop every single day, although rarely buy anything. I often try to reason with myself: How many times will I wear it? What can I wear it with? How much use will I get out of it? It it classic? Will it hold up over time? There are so many considerations when making a purchase. I have to say that my shopping habits are quite calculated.
But what if I want something "just because?" If it makes me happy, isn't it worth it?
Not long ago, I discovered that I really wanted a Moleskine notebook to make lists and take notes in for my university's student newspaper, which I work for. Hemingway used Moleskines, so naturally, I needed one. A hot pink one.
For the uninitiated, Moleskine notebooks are leather-bound, usually small notebooks, sketchpads, journals and what-have-you that are often found in the possession of writers and artists. Since they're made of leather, it shouldn't come to a surprise that they're more expensive than your typical Five-Star notebook. This new friend was going to set me back about $20–hardly anything in the scheme of things, but my more sensible side was trying to convince me otherwise. After moments of inner argument, the hot pink leather notebook was mine.
The moment after I bought it, I thought, "Well, that was dumb. Here I am, a poor and hungry college student, spending $20 on a silly notebook." I was fortunate to have a friend with me who replied, "So what? You wanted it."
She was right. I did want it. And there's nothing wrong with wanting things, to buy things because it makes you happy and not only out of necessity. Besides, if I hadn't bought it, I would have ended up spending the rest of my life wondering what it would be like to own a hot pink leather notebook.
So the answer, wholeheartedly, is yes. Happiness from simple pleasures is indeed worth it.
Photo: Cher Horowitz, "Clueless"