Monday, May 6, 2013

Stop the Waste, Spend the Savings

    I saw a sweet young neighbor girl walking down the street to the mail box this afternoon.  I know her mother.  I know she works as a single parent to feed and clothe her kids.  I know when she gets home from work and sees her sweet young girl in a pair of cut off jeans; she is going to go postal all over her. 
     From experience with my own in their teen years, I knew when I saw her, she had cut off a new pair of jeans to make shorts for the summer walk to the mail box where the boys hang out.  She is going to be pulling weeds in her yard and babysitting all summer for the next pair of jeans she gets.  So sad!  Too bad!  She will learn the cost of the pair of jeans I am sure she begged her mom to buy.  She may even learn that her mother considers everything she buys to belong to her and not to her little darlings!   She will learn not to destroy things that she didn’t buy.  She will learn that cutting and stretching and bleaching and rock rubbing of jeans to look cool is something you do when you can afford your own clothes to ruin. 
     I was never the cool mom.  I was always on the cusp of broke.  A pair of acid washed jeans cost $75 in the day.  A pair of non-distressed jeans cost $7 to $15 when new.  A pair of thrift store jeans cost less than $4.  Thrift store jeans are new to you so they are new.  If my sons wanted worn out jeans, they wore them out.  If they wanted to look like the other kids, we bought a pair of thrift store jeans and experimented.
     A pumice stone from the bar-b-que grill rubbed on the high spots make the wear marks that were the fashion.  If we tied the jeans as if to tie dye them and scraped them with the stone, we got acid washed.  Relaxed fit meant buy a pair larger and take in the waistband.  Soft stoned jeans meant we washed the pants four times in heavy detergent and then soaked them over night in a strong fabric softener. 

     The day I was shown the price tag of a new pair of gunshot jeans I almost loaded my shotgun with menace in my heart and considered the time it would take to get to Paris during fashion week!  I was crazed!  I have a shotgun!  I have buck shot!  I have a sense of humor! I do not have a wallet that allows $129 for a perfectly good pair of sturdy denim that has been bleached, scraped, cut and put out of its misery at close range!
     I have seen fashions come and go and I know that is the definition of the word trend.  I have heard the best arguments on behalf of the latest trend and I have held to my position.  There will be no money wasted on a trend and when it has passed, I will have fed my children every day and paid my bills on time. The anger or angst of a teenager holds little sway with me.  My strength has paid off in the long run.  We have lived long enough to look back and laugh at the trends.  I have lived long enough to hear my sons say what I said.  Earn your own fancy jeans, make your own fancy jeans, or do without the fancy jeans.

     Do the math.  One pair of new jeans from the mall multiplied by the number of children in the home equals how many meals for the same children?  How many dehydrated food packs for the prep closet?  If the new pair of jeans come from the big box store or discount department store, what is the savings to you?  Can you make or fake the new trend and give happiness to the little fashionista and keep your money focused on the future?  Can you suck it up and let the little angel cry it out and make a better day to come with the saved money?

     The mom just got home!  The lessons are about to begin!  I need to turn up the radio!

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