It is amazing how the values we learn while we are young determine the decisions we make about spending our money.
This became clear to me when my girlfriends and I spent a day shopping at the outlet mall. As we planned which stores we would visit, they both looked at me and said, "We know that you won’t be going to the designer stores that sell the purses we’re looking for."
You see, we had a previous conversation about designer purses. I shared with them that I simply could not bring myself to pay so much money for a designer handbag.
My reason is based on a conversation my sisters and I had with our mom when we were teenagers. She told us that paying more money to wear someone else's name on a purse or on a pair of jeans was simply not worth it. I remember her asking, "Why make them rich at your expense?"
She went further when she said, "Ask your friends who wear designer clothes and purses if they are renting or buying their home." I knew our family made a monthly house payment so that one day the home would be ours. Somehow I made the connection that -- at least to my mom -- buying a house was a good thing and buying designer purses was not.
Back at the mall, my girlfriends asked, “What if you found a designer purse on clearance for a really good deal? Would you buy it then?” In their view, the purses are so well built that it saves them money in the long run.
I thought and pondered before I responded to them. “No, even if I got a good deal on a designer purse, I still don’t think I could bring myself to buy one.”
My girlfriends may think I’m weird, but I can still hear those conversations with my mom. I am perfectly content not owning one.
Sylvia is a financial educator at Virginia Credit Union and loves teaching about personal finances. Her biggest challenge is to “practice what she preaches,” so she's always looking for teachable moments to keep her healthy financially and to share with others.
Other stories by Sylvia W.