Saturday, January 14, 2012

How It Came to This

I have become a person who's willing to spend $22 on a pair of socks.

It's a weird discovery for me, because I used to be pound-wise and penny-foolish: I hesitated to make large purchases, but I didn't think twice about buying little things. That's how my house got packed full of paperback mysteries, 800 colors of nail polish, and lots of clothes I didn't really love.

Now I'm more careful about what I buy. I spent so much time trying to get rid of the clutter that I don't want to bring it back. Also, I kind of hate the mall, so it makes it a little easier to not buy things. The world is full of stuff that you don't know you need until you see it. When you stop shopping, you stop seeing it, and you remain blissfully unaware that you can't live without it.

On the other hand, I learned that it's almost always worth it to spend more on the things I actually want. I blame Isaac Mizrahi and my Marc Jacobs sunglasses for this discovery. When you find something that you love, it's worth it to fork over the cash (notice I didn't say credit card) and skip the two cheaper things you kind of like.

What happened with the socks is that I asked for a pair of Dansko professional clogs for Christmas. These are sort of expensive shoes designed for people who spend long days on their feet. Some of my co-workers swear by them, and there are tons of glowing reviews on Zappos. So when my parents came to visit, my mother and I took a trip over to the Walkabout Shop to pick out a pair.

The store also had a display of Smart Wool socks. Remember when I told you about the little shopping binge I had before my Ireland trip? One of my purchases was some Smart Wool hiking socks. I wore them in Ireland and again in Haiti, and they were awesome!  My feet were never cold, hot, wet, or blistered. Best of all, the wool seems to resist odor, so my post-Haiti laundry bag was just regular smelly, not post-apocalyptic like I expected.

I got my clogs, wore them to work, and I was totally amazed by how much less tired my legs felt at the end of a 12 hour day.  I started thinking, if a better pair of shoes make my legs feel good, will a better pair of socks make them feel great? (YES!) Smart Wool makes a line of socks with padding on the bottom and compression in the calves. They are well designed and well-reviewed, but they come with a 2-figure price tag (remember, these are socks).

I bought one pair in the store and another pair online, and I'm totally hooked. At the end of my 12 hour day, I may be mentally and emotionally exhausted, but my legs and feet feel great. I don't wake up on my day off feeling like my legs are too tired to run or work out. And knee-high compression socks are darn sexy!

 So the lesson is, if you stop spending your money on lots of little things you sort of want, you have enough to buy expensive things you really want. And what I REALLY want is a 10-day European cruise this summer. Wish me lots of luck and willpower to save up for that!

By the way, I did pretty well on my mission to use up the holiday leftovers before they went bad. Here is a picture of the little "finish the ham party" I had with Beth and Joanna on New Years Day.  Pommosas (champagne with pomegranate juice and Cointreau) are delicious! Please don't judge me for serving them in pilsner glasses. I don't have any champagne flutes, and I have other purchasing priorities.

So long for now, KISS (keep it simple stupid), and save your money for what you really want. Even if it means you don't have the appropriate glassware for your dinner party.

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