I'm part of the "gimme" generation --where teens and young adults just expect to have designer clothes or expensive electronics. Parents are fulfilling these monetary whims as soon as they hear the word "gimme" uttered. But in my opinion, parents need a reality check..
I was lucky enough to grow up in a very wealthy community. It was the type of place where the high school students had nicer cars than the faculty -- even though the faculty made on average $70,000 per year.
I was also lucky to have a mother who hardly ever shopped retail if something wasn't on sale. I always dressed in labels but they were from TJ Maxx (TJX), Marshalls and Loehmans. To her, it wasn't necessarily about saving money (she had plenty of it), it was about not wasting it. These lessons were taught to me at a young age and I'm thankful for them now.
When I was 12, Juicy Couture had just come out and it was all the rage...
I remember going to Bloomingdale's with my mother and casually passing by the rack of the solid color Juicy shirts; price tag $25. A few years ago, $25 for a plain cotton T-Shirt was unheard of.
My mom took one look at the shirts, then at me, and made it clear that it wasn't going to happen. She explained there was no difference in that cotton shirt and another one we could find for half the price. She literally made me compare my own cotton shirt's label to that of Juicy's.
Although I was slightly mortified, I got the point. I didn't need to wear Juicy to "fit in". I fit in because I had the confidence to not go along with the crowd and create my own sense of style. She also explained to me that sometimes it makes sense to pay a little bit more when you're shopping for quality. For example, buying a winter coat that keeps you warm and not just for one season.
My mother knew how to budget to make room for some other luxuries of life that we could all appreciate. She decided that the foundations of our family should be based on education and family time.
We went to the theater regularly, participated in after-school activities, attended summer camp and took several vacations throughout the school year. Looking back, these luxuries are the ones I appreciate the most. I was able to get an education, learn life skills, travel the world and create memories. I highly doubt having the latest electronic gadget or Juicy tee can extract the same meaning.
By Jill Jacinto
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