Champagne Tastes, Kool-Aid Money


 Need to do the hair, need to do a pedi, have no energy for either because my budget requires I do it myself (boo!) Need to go shopping for some cool sneakers, need to take advantage of tax-free week in Maryland and buy some work clothes…buuuut it’s highly unlikely it will happen because I’m one of those people who have champagne tastes with a Kool-Aid budget. In my fantasies I’m a women of means: I have what I need and what I want but not so much I couldn’t keep track of it all. My fantasy self would be able to go into a boutique, sit down with a mimosa or martini…actually kill the martini-I get too tipsy too fast…tuck my leg under me on the couch like I’m at home and have clothes rolled out to me on those little hanger cart thingys. I can see it clear as a bell, my sizes are always there and I don’t have to look at the price tag. I can get what I actually want instead of trying to bargain shop for some mass-produced, horribly made, one size fits all items. I’m the woman who gets a headache when confronted with shopping at the Mall or discount havens like Ross, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Filene’s Basement. On the flip side, I’m the same woman who peeps a new hot outfit on a friend and asks, where’d you get that? The answer is invariably one of the discount havens. So champagne tastes/Kool-Aid budget, what to do?

·   Accept your problem. You don’t like discount shopping but clearly you can’t afford that Marc Jacobs purse you covet, so don’t suppress your feelings, rather compartmentalize them, your money woes aren’t going to change overnight!

·   Get over yourself. I’m still working on this one; if your friends can find awesome clothes so can you, so figure out the best way to attack the mall or these discount stores. Hmmm, maybe have one of these ‘lucky’ friends act as a discount shopping mentor

·   Go early. I loathe bumping feathers (as my Mom calls accidentally swiping your a*& on somebody else’s) with strangers in crowded aisles. I also hate trying to concentrate on searching for my size in the only appetizing article of clothing I’ve seen, while someone is loudly talking on their cell phone unaware they need to move outta my way (see bumping feathers).

·   Wear a visor or sunglasses.  Both tempting-but I’m more of a ‘think what you will’ sunglass-inside kinda woman. I swear this helps block out the ugly fluorescent lighting typical of discount chains, it’s not kind to anyone and frequently causes the headaches that come with shopping cheap.

·   Know delivery arrival dates. For someone who hates shopping at these places, this is our only hope, knowing this can make your shopping experience better because you have the ‘pick of the litter’.

·   Know what you’re looking for. Again with the champagne tastes, but I frequently salivate over the fashion pics in Vogue and Marie Claire, but I can’t afford most of that stuff, however, I do look to these pages for inspiration. So, one thing I’ve learned from people who shop for a living, you have to inventory your closet and mentally and/or literally put together outfits. The reasoning behind this is you’ll see what you need and can shop with a specific plan of action. The few times I remember this rule, I have a more fruitful, less random, shopping experience.

I’m still working to achieve my clothes-horse fantasies and in the meantime I’ll continue to struggle with my budgetary limitations. I guess  the moral of the story is, I better take advantage of the this tax-free week and save some dollars…this might mean I can actually afford some more work pants from Banana Republic (I love them) or even a nice dress from my favorite store Anthropologie.

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