Tag Archives: shopping

37. It’s true money can’t buy you love, but $100 or less can buy you happiness.

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This thought came to me as I recently left Urban Outfitters with an item that I knew would give me immeasurabledreamstime_s_2512924 pleasure – a portable record player. When I saw it in the window, it called to me with its bright orange case and light tan handle. Plus, it played albums and 45s. But, I didn’t know how much it cost. All I could think was, please, don’t let it be more than $100. I nervously waited in line, hoping this precious possession would soon be mine. When I got to the register I knew one way or another, it was now or never. I asked the clerk, “How much?” She gave me the answer I was looking for: “$99.” I practically skipped out of the store. When I got home, I grabbed some 45s and was delighted to hear a sound I hadn’t heard in years – the needle scratching against the vinyl. And that’s when I started to think about happiness and how little money it takes to truly make one’s self or others happy. Another recent example is New Year’s Eve. I remember in my 20s we’d go out and blow way more than $100 for what usually turned out be an evening that was worth way less. New Year’s Day was even better because there was the requisite hangover, worn like a badge of honor. This year, I stayed home, broke out a bottle of champagne and had a new neighbor over for some frozen appetizers. Cost: about $30. And we had a great time, sipping and nibbling while watching the ball go down in NYC at 9 p.m. And then there’s one thing I’ve been wanting for years and finally went to amazon.com to buy – a chess set. Cost: $29. Happiness quotient when I receive it: Priceless. Wait, that’s the MasterCard commercial. So take a moment and think about how you can make yourself or someone you love happy. Big expensive stuff is great, if you can afford it, but what do you really need?

Word to the wise: Bling isn’t always the thing. Achieving happiness is. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but $30 in your pocket could be everyone’s. Spend wisely and you’ll never have to worry about buyer’s remorse.

Can you think of anything you bought or did for $100 that made you happy? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

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2. Lots of credit card debt is no way to go through your 20s.

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Let’s see, I was 27 years old, making $27,000 a year and I had racked up $13,000 of credit card debt. I think that’s a lot even by today’s standards. It got to a point where I couldn’t keep up with all the payments. Credit card companies were constantly  calling me at home and work, even asking to speak to my boss. I felt like I was the world’s worst person and there was no way out. But I just couldn’t resist that dining room table for my new apartment or getting front row seats for Sting (Molly Ringwald was three rows behind me) or going out to dinner every night or that oh-so-cool black leather jacket. You get the idea. That was the fun part. The not-so-fun part was paying it all back and re-establishing my credit. After three years of working with Consumer Credit Counselors (and sending them a $250 money order each month – a small fortune when compared to my salary and other expenses), I paid off my credit card debt.

Word to the wise: Even though I learned an invaluable lesson, I wouldn’t want to go through that again. And you shouldn’t either. Today, the credit card companies trust me again and the offers keep rolling in. But now, I know better than to trust myself.

What do you think? Note: Your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things  Young Women Need to Know.”