Did you hear the flurry of personal finance bloggers simultaneously clicking unfollow on Twitter? I just admitted to owning a $700 pair of shoes, and I had the gall to say that purchase wasn’t wasteful. Someone take this blog away from me, right?
I know that designer shoes aren’t for everyone. I’m also confident that I absolutely could have made it through my wedding day just fine on shoes that cost a fraction of the price. More than that, though, I am certain that I’ve learned more about personal finance by investing in these heels than anyone–including me–would have ever guessed.
I knew it was ludicrous to spend $700 on wedding shoes, but I had my mind made up. I tried to be a pragmatist for much of my wedding planning. In a lot of ways, I still think of my wedding budget as an exercise in self-restraint and the guest list as my greatest act of diplomacy. But when it came to my shoes, I completely lost my head.
Still, I didn’t think it was entirely fair to ask Mr. P to go halfsies on something that wouldn’t benefit him in the least, so I picked up a side hustle. Sure, I had tutored occasionally over the years, both in undergrad and in my first few years of teaching. But I had never tried to create a consistent side gig from it. Once my goal was firmly
set in my mind pinned to my Pinterest wedding shoe board, I added my name to a tutoring registry, updated my resume, and scooped up my first student within a week. I started meeting with her once a week, and soon her family recommended me to a friend. Then, I got another call from the tutoring registry. Soon, I had five students who I met with weekly. In less than two months time, I had my shoes paid for. But that wasn’t the biggest benefit. In under eight weeks, I put together a successful and efficient side hustle that I have sustained for the past three years. Since my side hustle relates to my career, I’ve had the opportunity to make extra income, expand my resume, develop my entrepreneurial skill set, and network with families and other teachers. Finding the right goal is motivation magic.
Lest you think my Jimmy Choos are collecting dust in my closet, think again. No, I don’t wear them every Tuesday.* I do wear them as often as possible. I’ve stood up in two weddings since our big day. Both times, I was required to obtain a pair of silver shoes, and both brides approved my beloved previous purchase. Score! Additionally, I’ve also worn them to a handful of other formal affairs. In terms of cost per wear, they’re still not Payless prices, but they definitely make a lot more sense than buying a $100 pair of shoes I would only wear once.
While we’re on the subject, how many wears can one get out of a pair of Jimmy Choos? Thanks to fine folks at Nordstrom, the answer is seemingly limitless. The last time I wore my shoes as a bridesmaid, I was midway down the runner-less, tiled church aisle when I noticed an ever so slight creak that wasn’t quite keeping time with Pachelbel and his Canon. After being unsure of what to do with them for a month, I finally mustered up the courage to bring them back to Nordstrom — along with the original box, dust bag, and receipt — to see if they would be willing to send them out and give me estimate of what the repairs would cost. The manager of the shoe salon** took one look at the shoes, applied some pressure to the heel, and confirmed that there was some sort of defect in the heel shank. Then she ordered me a brand new pair. Because
the shoe gods smiled down on me Nordstorm might just have the best customer service in the whole universe. While I don’t actually think that Nordstrom would continue to dole out a never-ending supply of sparkly pretties, I do think that a cobbler could perform wonders should they eventually need new heel taps or soles.
So let’s recap, shall we? My $700 pair of shoes…
- Taught me how to build an effective side hustle.
- Underscored the importance of considering cost-per-wear when shopping.
- Will last forever.
You had better bet that anytime someone invites me anywhere remotely fancy, there will be Jimmy Choo heels on my feet.
*Move over, Taco Tuesday! Let’s make Sparkly Shoe Saturday a thing!
**Shoe salon is retail speak for this is going to sting when you see the price tag.
So Tell Me…Were my shoes worth it? Have you ever purchased something that turned out to be a far better investment than you realized? Will you still follow me on Twitter even though you know my shoe secret?
I’ve considered $350 boots, but I have quite a collection of heels that aren’t earning their keep as it is. I don’t think I’ll be adding Jimmy Choos to the collection anytime soon.
That’s my current conundrum. I got on such a roll decluttering my kitchen that now I’m trying to do something with my closet. I used to be the queen of buying $20-$30 shoes (I’m looking at you, Target clearance). But I never wear them! As ridiculous as those Jimmy Choos were, I’ve gotten far more use out of them than a lot of other shoes in my closet.
One of the risks of having a frugal mindset is thinking about price instead of value. In this case, it sounds like your shoes meant more than shoes (it pushed you to create a side hustle!).
Yes. Now I’m side hustling for boring thing like extra mortgage payments 😉
With an occasional fun thing mixed in I hope??? 🙂
We already budget in a little “fun” money every month. Actually, hustling for mortgage payments is way more motivating (to me!) than I thought.
Maggie @ Northern Expenditure
*unfollow* – just kidding. Motivation is a great thing. If that’s $700 shoes for you and made you make big strides as an entrepreneur in order to make wise personal finance decisions to pay for said shoes, there are no complaints here. Everything for me is in terms of travel. “If I do this, I could pay for two plane tickets to Cambodia!” Whatever motivates us is worth it.
We’re definitely more of that mindset – experiences over things – especially now. But I wouldn’t change the shoe decision at all 🙂
Our Next Life
I can’t answer whether the shoes were worth it because the question is: were they worth it to you? And it sounds like your answer is yes. There’s no shame in that. As long as you don’t go into debt or derail your long-term plans for a splurge purchase, then who cares? We’ve taken a few expensive trips, even after being focused on our early retirement goal, and we’d say they were worth it to us, but others would probably say they were wasteful. But you know what, it’s not for them to decide. 🙂
I try to imagine myself with this purposeful spending mindset two years ago…and I still think I’d buy the shoes. I won’t continue to buy fancy shoes ($700 shoes and jello in the cafeteria during supervision hour would be a DISASTER!), but I don’t regret this purchase. Like you, though, I’m much more focused on experiences and freedom now.
Gary @ Super Saving Tips
I think it’s wonderful that you’ve gotten so much value out of the shoes, so it sounds like they were definitely worth it for you. I can’t ever imagine spending $700 on shoes for myself (I think my last pair cost $40 and my wife generally keeps hers in the $60-100 price range), but then again, shoes don’t hold a special place in our hearts, nor would they inspire a side hustle. It’s great that you’ve kept the side hustle going and gotten such great benefits from it.
You’re so generous! You could have easily called them foolish (no offense taken!), but you wordsmithed this in such a lovely way. Would you care to do my next round of parent-teacher conferences for me? 🙂
Alyssa @ GenerationYRA
This is what I love about personal finance, I think in terms of whether the purchase was worth it is up to the person who made that choice. 🙂 I think your 3 points of recap ultimately make your purchase worth it in my mind! When it comes to purchasing items, I always try to determine what the value of the item is to me, the return on investment, and if it is an item I truly have wanted for quite a bit of time (and not just a passing whim). This process makes my purchases more intentional & that to me is the important aspect! No impulse purchases take place any longer with the thought process that takes place. There are items that I will pay a bit more from because I know how much more I can receive from it (vs. going a more frugal route), where there are other items I spend less on because generally all offers of that item are relatively the same regardless of price. And of course I will still follow you on twitter! 🙂
I love your thought process. Seems like a smart way to spend purposefully!
Ahh, wedding attire is a little different!
For me bras are a bit of a splurge 🙂
Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore
I love the idea of wearing heels, but I rarely do it because they are a killer. Maybe if I bought more expensive ones they’d be more comfortable and I’d actually be able to wear them?
I’m so guilty of buying heels I don’t/can’t wear. I pretty much still to flats or wedges when I teach, but I think I could make it through the day in these. You know, if it was socially acceptable to teach in four-inch silver glitter-covered shoes 😉
I’ve gotten more expensive brands (usually on the deep clearance at DSW), and nice heels are inifinitely more wearable.
I would say that since you created a side hustle to purchase your shoes you probably get to keep your pf blogger status 🙂 I bought my first pair of designer heels a few months ago for work and they are the best heels I’ve ever owned. I don’t know why I wasted all my money on $30 shoes that didn’t last for so many years.
I toy with the idea of buying a pair of designer black heels for work, but with cafeteria supervision and recess, I just don’t see them mixing well with runaway grapes and jello 😉
haha I love your shoe story! To be honest for a long time I’d always wanted a pair of Jimmy Choos (I hear they are slightly more comfortable than other heels-can you confirm?) but had neither the event or money for them. For other reasons I no longer lust after heels but I think it sounds like a great buy, you hustled for the money you didn’t just dole out a credit card, and you protected your investment by getting them checked out when there was a slight defect. Rock on!
I’ve not owned another designer heel for comparison, but these are shockingly comfortable. The construction even feels different than other heels I’ve owned. I will say the heartbreaking part for me is the soft leather sole. They scuff instantly on anything other than carpet, but my cobbler told me that they are supposedly so well designed that even putting a new protective cover on the soles can alter the way they fit. Crazy, right?
No way would I get $700 of enjoyment out of a pair of Jimmy Choos. But I’m not you and we all get to pick our luxuries. I think you had the right idea–these are a foolish purchase and shouldn’t come out of the normal budget. I want them, how can I make it happen. And you did, and that’s a good thing
Well, I don’t have the kind of money to spend $700 for shoes, but really, it all comes down to the utility offered by those shoes. And that utility is different for everyone. It’s a luxury item that you use regularly and if you enjoy it, then in comparison, maybe its better than spending the same amount on a vacation that you only go to once.
So I suppose it’s more about perspective here. The comment about financial bloggers unfollowing you was funny.
So much of personal finance is perspective, isn’t it? That’s a powerful point. I don’t know that I’d pick shoes over a vacation, but I definitely don’t regret the purchase.
Come to think of it, I suppose anytime we spend money on one thing versus another thing, we are putting it above the other options. Maybe I did pick shoes over a vacation after all?!
Emma @ From Aldi To Harrods
I like to view clothes prices on a “cost per wear” basis for this reason. Whilst I don’t have Jimmy Choos, I adore Ugg boots and I wear them every single day in winter. That’s at least 3 months and they last me 2-3 years. Being thrifty for me isn’t about having the cheapest thing going, but getting excellent value for money.
Cost-per-wear is such an excellent point, Emma! I’m not sure I was consciously using that logic when I pulled the trigger on the Choos, but it’s certainly how I shop now. And hooray for toasty toes!
Wow big bucks! I can relate because I’ve been on this midlife crisis desire to buy a Range Rover or Porsche. But I never went through with it because I just don’t want to have a second car and it just pains me too much to spend that much money when I Honda fit works just fine.
I hope you enjoy your shoes! I wrote a post called, “if you want to be bad, follow a good spending ratio .” The idea is to spend twice the amount on the good stuff before you spend on that stuff. So the idea is that you would spend $1500 on paying down debt or investing do to your purchase.
Thanks for stopping by, Sam! Since those shoes put me on the path to tutoring, I’ve been able to put thousands of dollars toward our mortgage. All of my tutoring money goes to debt repayment. While I wasn’t as deliberate as your rule of thumb, it ended up working out that way. I will definitely keep that perspective in mind!
It sounds to me like that was some of the best $700 you ever spent! It essentially opened up a whole new world of income for you.
I have to admit that when I saw a woman I knew personally answered “Yes” to “Have you spent more than $1,000 on a piece of clothing?” on OKCupid, I couldn’t wrap my mind around why someone would actually spend that much on a piece of clothing. 🙂
I don’t know if that is something I would disclose without an asterisk after it. Ekkk! What a great question for weeding out possibilities, candidates, dates….errrr?!
As for the shoes, they really did. I had dabbled in tutoring, but I never realized how lucrative (and fun!) it could be.
Ahh, I’m so happy someone else spent a million dollars on their wedding shoes. In comparison, I bought $97 shoes (they were on clearance from $254) from Norstrom, so not quite Jimy Choo, but high end. It was a whole 10% of our wedding budget. And honestly, I don’t regret the purchase. They matched my grandmother’s dress, which I wore for the ceremony, AND my getaway dress (something I found exceptionally hard to find), and I’ve worn them several times since.
Aparna | Elementum Money
For a long time buying myself a diamond ring was on my to-do list as soon as I started working. About one and a half years after I did start working, it was 2 days before Diwali (the biggest festival for Hindus) which is also considered auspicious to buy precious metals. I was working in retail with a jerk of a boss who told me I needed to visit stores and could not go home. That evening, after work, I walked down to a small neighbourhood store and bought a diamond ring for Rs. 18,000 which in that time would have converted to approximately USD 300. About 7.5 years later, that still remains the only ring I wear everyday and it serves as a reminder of my never wanting to be dependent on anyone for money (which in India is still rare for women).