students

Emotional Expense

carrie

It’s a quiet Sunday and there’s nothing else for it. The purse hasn’t been out in a while and it’s getting a bit antsy. Sure, it’s been to the local Sainsbury’s and back, maybe it’s been taken out in front of the sexy coffee barista early in the morning in the past couple of days. But no, it hasn’t seen the silky-smooth cream till of Zara or the faux-artisan wooden cashier at Anthropologie in donkeys. Now, it can almost sense the feeling of restlessness in its owner. Emotions are running high, dissertation proposal deadlines are looming, dracula-like, over the head of its master and it knows, keenly, that shit is about to get real.

Is there a wake-up call quite as blantant as purchasing a £16 Vanilla & Fig candle from Anthropologie when you can barely afford to feed yourself? I doubt it. But the expensive indulgence is so seductive. For a sweet, clandestine moment, a broke student with serious anxiety about future employment can pretend that buying a candle in Anthrologie is something they can justify by whipping out their monthly income. The thing is, I don’t have a monthly income. I have money from my summer job and a student loan that makes me feel guilty any time I spend it on something frivolous (see: £16 candle).

On balance, the guilt I do feel at spending small-ish amounts of money frequently outweighs the pleasure I feel from the item itself. Is it just me? So many of my purchases lie at the bottom of my wardrobe after a few wears because they were emotional purchases, fueled not by true desire, but impulse. Feel as sorry for them as you feel for the other woman used by a cheat to fulfil an urge, then left alone in bed the next morning as they return to their long-term partner.

Of course, there are exceptions – many of my impulse buys have been sale items I had to have there and then, which subsequently turned into long-loved staples. But they are the exception and the money I’ve seen on my bank statements that has been wasted on purchases that mean I have a smaller budget for buying Christmas presents fills me with sorrow.

So I’ve decided: instead of buying items that take my attention on a sneaky trip to Zara, I will only buy items that are truly gorgeous, that I can see being in my wardrobe forever. No more trend pieces unless I think they can last pass the fad (cropped waist-tied trousers, you’re still on trial). So it looks like the purse will have to make do with being whipped out at Aldi every week, only to buy broccoli and feta cheese . My purse won’t feel good, but I will.