So far in my life, I have been a high school student who spent his summers spending money, a college student who spent his summers volunteering, and a recent graduate working at a non-profit organization. Needless to say, I have never had an abundance of money to spend on whatever I want. I am by no means saying I have lived anywhere near poverty or that I have experienced hard times financially. I am only saying that I have had to learn how to be frugal. I have had to learn the lesson: ‘if I don’t buy this pair of pants now then I can go to that concert later’ etc.
Money to me has always been a fairly arbitrary way of deciding value. If asked whether I would rather have a few pieces of green paper or a delicious sandwich, I believe the answer is obvious to all of us. Instead, I have had to assign arbitrary values to money so that I can know what it is actually worth- $1= 2 candy bars, $5= a movie rental, etc.
It started back in high school when one of my teachers tried to teach us the value of charity and putting the needs of others above our own. He showed us a charity, which met the basic needs of children and for $200 we could literally save the life of one child. As you can imagine, this became a very depressing way to look at spending money. I spent the next two months living as a monk buying only food and only when I was REALLY hungry.
My system resurface a couple years later when I realized that $3 could buy me my own carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I have a deep love for ice cream, which made a $3 cup of coffee seem like a ridiculous purchase. In college this transformed into my love for Mexican food and the beauty of a freshly wrapped Chipotle Burrito. Soon I no longer saw shirts that cost $30. Instead, I saw a shirt that cost me 6 aluminum wrapped Chipotle burritos. (In case you were wondering, this blog post is not an exploratory essay about why I have little to no fashion taste, a topic that I will cover at a later date).
Two weeks ago, my system changed once again. For all four years of college, my good friend and fellow author of this blog, Bobby Harrison, had preached about the majesty of a good pair of Gap sweat pants. Now, I would trust Bobby with my life in a second, but all I could see was three Chipotle Burritos and some chips with guacamole vs some grey or navy blue fuzz.
Two weeks ago, I put on a pair of Gap sweatpants for the first time. The euphoria was immediate, but it was also enduring. I am not into clichés, but it felt like I was wearing a cloud and I don’t know how else to say it. If it were not for social norms, I would have made the cashier scan the sweats while I was still wearing them because I never ever want to take them off. Coming home from a long day at work and changing from slacks to Gap sweats may be the most refreshing feeling on earth (Sorry Sprite, but you are wrong). These pair of navy blue sweats are, and may always be, the best $20 I have ever spent.