Spending Habits Teen through Working Girl through Mom

As a teen I loved shopping with my best friend. We ventured in to our city’s shopping district many, many weekends.

We browsed. We tried on clothes. We looked at clothes that were way out of our budget. We laughed at clothes that we thought were ugly. My friend and I bought clothes that subsequently fell part. We bought items from time to time, but our allowances or “pocket money” as we called it back in England didn’t allow us to go overboard with spending. We window shopped mostly. Whatever we purchased was less important than the experience of shopping with a friend.

I wore a school uniform so didn’t “need” many clothes…although I wanted them. But, during my teen years, my college years, and before my marriage, I was all about clothes, shoes, books, and anything else I wanted to buy. I never cared about the price of items. I rarely looked for bargains. I didn’t save as much money due my spending habits. I wasn’t particularly frugal. I’m embarrassed to say that my credit limit on my Visa card never changed for years. I always had a balance to pay…and interest.

I wasn’t particularly money conscious until I married my husband. My husband is more frugal and careful with purchases. He was careful with his purchases and rarely bought “just because.” Through watching him, I put the brakes on my spending…a little. An old dog has a hard time learning new tricks…but I tried.

My perspective on buying changed once I had children. My decision to stay at home with my children changed my spending habits. No longer did I need work clothes. Although I wasn’t particularly interested in manicures or expensive haircuts, I did have a little “eating lunch out” habit. Not working in an office coupled with having a couple of small children put a dampener on eating out. I would occasionally meet up with a friend for a lunch playdate at Fuddruckers. A brief, but fun lunch was a far cry from the Italian and Chinese restaurants near my office. But, oh well, eating out with small children in a fancy restaurant is not for the feint of heart.

How have your spending habits changed since becoming a parent?

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