Forgive me fellow bloggers, for I have sinned.

This past weekend, my best friend and I headed to the next town north to check out a new tea shop there. Once we had our tea fix, we decided to go for a wander up the main drag and check out the stores. We hadn’t got very far, in fact, it was the next store to the tea shop, before the window display enticed us to go in. I was browsing through a rack of dresses when I found a blue lace number. I was intrigued, so I pulled the dress off the rack so I could get a better look at it. It was cute, and my friend’s size, so I shoved it into her hands and told her to try it on.

She tried it on and it looked amazing on her. No, better than amazing; she could upstage an entire wedding party in that dress. At this point though, I realized that I had forgotten to check the price tag before I pulled it out. I suspected it would be pricy, given the brand names and other price tags I saw, and sure enough it was: $178. Ouch. We both winced at the price, but couldn’t stop admiring  the dress. After all, it would be the perfect dress to wear to her brother’s wedding.

Before I realized it, I was helping my friend rationalize purchasing the dress. I told her she could wear it not only to her brother’s wedding, but to her cousin’s stag and doe and rehearsal dinner, which would save her from buying two different dresses. Then I told her she could think about it like this: if she wears the dress 3 times in the next four months, the cost of the dress is really more like $178 divided by 3, or about $60 a wear, which about what a cheap dress costs anyways. With my encouragement, she whipped out her credit card and bought the dress.

A couple days later, I feel very conflicted about helping my friend rationalize buying the dress. On one hand, I feel like I’m one of those friends who are bad for your wallet, who always encourage you to spend money, one of those friends you’re supposed to avoid or defriend if you’re trying to get out of debt and save. What makes it worse is that as a pf blogger, I feel like the last thing I should be doing is helping my friend spend her money, especially one something like a dress, which at first glance seems so frivolous. A sort of ‘practice what you preach’ type problem, because I’m not sure I would spend that kind of money on a dress. I keep telling myself that we could have found her a cheaper dress, but then I think: but would any other dress really compare to this one? The dress looked so amazing on her, that I can’t help feel that there’s no way we’d find a better dress cheaper and any other dress would look so blah and would always be compared against this dress. I am also really excited that she bought it, because she totally rocks it and looks stunning in it.

I know she’s really happy with the dress, which is slightly comforting, but I still feel guilty for enabling her spending. Some of my conflict here but might relate to my own struggles with finding the balance between buying for quality and buying for value. I’m gradually starting to appreciate the value in paying a little more for higher quality items, but my cheap ole heart isn’t giving up without a fight.

Have you ever enabled someone to spend or felt guilty about encouraging someone to spend more than they normally would?

Categories: Shopping, Spending | Tags: , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “Forgive me fellow bloggers, for I have sinned.

  1. I think it’s ok once in a while, and if the item is really worth it (and one can afford it without going into credit card debt). When I went shopping with Fabulously Broke, I was so surprised what an enabler she turned out to be! 🙂 But I got a lot of good stuff that I’ve been getting plenty of wear of, so I’m really happy with my purchases and have her to thank as my personal shopper/stylist!

    • I’ll bet that was a super fun shopping trip! I think the key is making sure you buy, like you said, things you’ll wear often and that you don’t go into credit card debit.

  2. This is something that happens to me and my friends often. When you shop it’s like you get caught up in the high and all rational thinking goes out of the window. You didn’t mean your friend harm, you just wanted her to look amazing and be happy but at the end of the day she is the one paying for the dress. I’m currently trying to pay down credit card debt so I don’t even like to shop with friends right now for the same reason. I get so caught up in the moment and excitement I spend, spend, spend. At the end of the day we all know our limits and have to be able to say no when we’ve reached them.

  3. Vanessa Pagé

    I try not to but I have been known to jump on the bandwagon if my friend is REALLY into the item.

    PS: That dress is very Kate Middleton

  4. Great post title 🙂
    I did this with a friend who wanted a really expensive piece of jewellry once, I think she just wanted some one to say yep, it’s OK to splurge once in a while

  5. Cait

    I used to be that friend but only when I was around other friends who did that to me! And, somewhat and yet not at all surprisingly, they don’t hang out with me as much, now that I’m the girl who only wants to pay off debt and not rack more up.

    I don’t know that you should feel guilty but the fact that you have been worrying about it shows where it sits on your moral compass. You know debt sucks and you probably don’t want your friends to deal with what you do. But, at the end of the day, she made the decision to swipe her card – not you.

    • Very true, she had veto power if she didn’t want to buy it. My feelings of guilt are starting to fade though, since she’s been raving to everyone about the dress.

  6. I’m definitely an enabler. I tend to want my friends to look go and enjoy themselves, particularly if I know they are frugal and don’t treat themselves very often. It’s probably not a good trait, and I never notice that I’m doing it at the time, but looking back, I’m definitely guilty.

    Like Cait said, at the end of the day, she decided to swipe her card, not you.

  7. I was your friend a few years ago. I was looking for a couple of dresses for my cousin’s wedding week-end and found this beautiful dress that was way over my price point for one dress. But it looked awesome. Thankfully I was with an enabler or else I would have left the dress in the store. I have since worn the dress on 3 different occasions and I still love it!!

    • Awesome! I think this dress is similar, she should be able to get lots of wear out of it and it’s a classic piece so it will still look great years from now.

  8. I feel bad because i have done this in the past. But now I advocate against it! Especially if my friend is having doubts. But if your friend really really wanted it, who are you to tell her not to get it? I have this argument with my best friend all the time. She wanted to spend her money on a $300 purse which I found gaudy and ugly and NOT worth $300. She said she worked hard and she wanted it. I told her to buy it online to use cash back and coupons but she said she wanted it right away because she couldn’t wait. It was worth a shot of me telling her to save money, etc but in the end she did what she wanted and I’m sure she just wanted me to justify the purchase for her. So I guess it depends on the situation. As long as your friend is not guilty or wasn’t wanting to purchase it, that is OK! Plus- there IS a return policy right? Haha

    • Good for you for offering up frugal advice for your friend, even if she didn’t take it. My friend didn’t need a lot of convincing to buy it, I think she had pretty much made up her mind when I added my two cents.

      Haha! I better call her and tell her not to cut the tags off! 😉

  9. If she’s going to wear the dress a lot and she has the means to pay off the card, it’s only a tiny sin- splurging is okay once in a while, especially if it’s something high-quality that will get a ton of use.

  10. Thrifty Writer

    I’m not much of a shopper, and lately I’ve been doing thrift store stuff, but $60 is “… about what a cheap dress costs…”? Yipes!

  11. Yeah, dresses aren’t cheap if you’re not thrifty. Of course, you can get sun dresses cheaper, but dresses more suited for weddings usually start around $60 in my experience.

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