Genevieve, we cannot afford CHEAP”Genevieve’s husband, way back when…
The quote at the top of the post refers to a lovely lady named Genevieve that I met years ago. She was born in France, and immigrated to the U.S. in the early 50’s. Her husband became a world-renowned chef (he worked at the White House!), so was very successful in the end, but they came from humble beginnings. He use to say that they “could not afford cheap” – he knew that when they made a purchase, it needed to stand the test of time and serve them well. This resonated with me, because nothing is more frustrating than “saving money” on something that is not quality or built to last.
As I start the new year, I’m always looking back at finances, what I could have done better around Christmas (it really adds up!), and peering ahead at what I plan to change as far as a spending plan… usually my spending plan “adds up” to spend less!!! I haven’t done a money-based post in a while, and the new year seems the best time to reset if needed, and to start afresh. Today I want to talk about things that we use all the time, my philosophy about those things, and how it’s changed over time. My dear friend and “niece”, Mitzi, has a favorite saying… “I use it EVERY DAY”. What she’s referring to is the fact that if you use it every day, it should be something of the best quality (and by that, inferring that it could be more expensive), but should be lasting, and, above all, a joy to use! I think she’s on to something…
Through the years, I’ve assembled a “pallet” of things that work for me. But before I go into some specifics, I’d like to expand a bit on Mitzi’s philosophy. Days turn into weeks, months, and years, and we do the same things during those time periods. Most of the things we do are condensed into habits. We get up, we turn on the news, feed the dog, eat breakfast, go for our walk, shower, go to work or do our errands, grocery shop, clean the house, repeat…. Mitzi’s point is that we should use products that we love when we do those things, and IF they’re more expensive, they’re still worth it if they make us smile, and give our lives a feeling of enrichment – sometimes even a deeper sense of meaning and a moment of pause in the habit-infused days in which we live.
I got a new hairdryer for Christmas. I ASKED for a new hairdryer for Christmas! This was after visiting Mitzi in late spring and using her hairdryer. It was an enlightening experience. The hairdryer is a Dyson, and happens to be one of the expensive items. However, for girls like Mitzi and me, who have thick, curly, impudent hair, it is a revelation. Mr. G. kept asking “are you sure you want a hairdryer for Christmas?” (I could see the fear in his eyes!). I kept answering “yes”. He heard me, and we’re both very happy!
There are, of course, things that work beautifully for me that aren’t expensive. Even better! The important thing is to find the things that work for you. My favorite body wash is from good old Bath and Body Works, the Eucalyptus Spearmint one. Oh my! It is so good. And, so is the body lotion. Yay! Done and done.
One of my splurges is Williams-Sonoma’s Lemongrass and Ginger hand wash and hand lotion. I keep them by the kitchen sink, and in the bathrooms. I love this scent so much, and I wash my hands constantly (cat boxes, dog spit, you name it!). So, every time I wash my hands I’m just transported, for a minute, to a place where someone else cleans the cat boxes. Lovely!
How does this save me more money, you might be asking? Well, if I have products that are my tried and true ones, I watch for sales, I collect points, etc. Then, when things go on sale, I snatch them up, take advantage of BOGO’s, and at the end of the day, I’m on budget with things that I really love.
This all sounds a bit silly, but I have found that if I find things I love, I can figure out how to fit them into my budget. I have the things that help me thrive, and, guess what? I need less things! This is huge. My bathroom counters aren’t over-flowing with stuff, I have what I need, and can always put my hands on it – even in the dark!
In the coming months, I’ll focus occasionally on the things that make my heart sing, and, at the end of the day, save me money!
Until next time, my friends!