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?