What's Worth Splurging On?Christine Coppa
Life as you know it changes when you’re a parent. I don’t care if you’re married, in a relationship, single or have a village rearing your kid. One major aspect of life that changed for me is spending money. Prior to getting pregnant I worked to pay my insane NYC rent. I was a full-time editorial assistant making under 30K. I eventually got promoted to an assistant editor and crept over the 30K mark, but still I took a job reporting for a small downtown newsletter for extra money.
Then I got pregnant. Then I was pregnant and single and everything regarding what I earned and spent took on a new life. However, I can’t deny there are things worth splurging on. After the jump, five no brainers … in my book.
Sneakers for JD. I recently spent $80 on two pair of sneaks for my son. I bought him Nikes and Converse. $80 is a lot of money period, let alone for sneakers for a kid whose foot grows every six months or so, but here’s why I do it. There’s this local mom and pop shoe store in the town of Wayne where I grew up. It’s called Richard’s. When I was a little girl my parents took my brothers and me there for our shoes. Richard, the owner is like a fixture and I like to support local businesses. Plus, the staff doesn’t BS you.
If JD measures a 12, I’m sold a 12.5 so he can grow and get use out of the shoes. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t have anything to do with (my) style, because it does, but there’s another reason I splurge on good footwear for JD.
I once bought him a pair of $12 sneakers from a big name retail store. They lit up and he begged for them. In the store they fit and he was happy. After one day of wearing them his feet hurt and he refused to wear them “ever again, mom!” I returned them. Sometimes quality does count. And tip: Once I get a new pair of sneaks at Richard’s, I go to this place called “Famous Footwear” and buy JD another pair of brand name shoes at a discounted price.
Health Insurance. As a self-employed writer, health insurance for me is considered a splurge. (JD’s coverage is secured through the Child Support Guidelines of NJ and he has and is entitled to “Cadillac coverage” that his father and I both pay for). As for me? I wish I didn’t have to pay for a policy. It’s truly an expense I just cringe about every month.
Knock on wood, in the four years I’ve been self-employed I’ve never been hospitalized or badly injured. This is a good thing, but it kind of makes me just want to pay my OB-GYN her fee of $175 and not pay monthly insurance, but as a mommy, I just can’t not be covered. If I got sick, or injured and needed 911 services or surgery, I would get slapped with thousands of dollars of medical bills and that is frightening. So, I suck it up and pay for a plan that suits my needs. It certainly isn’t “Cadillac” but if my appendix blows … I’m good.
Electronics. In 2007 I sold the proposal for my book Rattled! and bought a Macbook. I wrote Rattled!, Storked! and every other piece on that baby. But I recently invested in a new MacBook Pro because I run my business off a computer and my computer was truly dated. It still works and I got a good five years out of her, but she was slowing down and my workflow was speeding up.
The good news is, I kind of made my old computer JD’s. I added a ton of educational games to it and bought a mouse which is good for his fine motor skills. But, yes, I splurged on a tool that produces income for me—and that I can write-off.
School. JD is currently attending a Private Kindergarten program that has age appropriate before and after-care from 7 AM to 6 PM. There is tuition. It’s not cheap, but it does give me peace of mind when I’m sitting in traffic at 5:30 PM and I have until 6 PM to get to him, or pay a little extra if I’m late.
As for me, I’m currently looking into finishing my MFA in Creative Writing because I want to teach at a college like The New School or The University of the Arts one day. I started my MFA in 2003 and have about 12 credits to go. I’ll be paying for this, but I think in the long-run, it will be paying me.
Entertainment. JD and I love being out and about and some of the stuff we do costs cash money! We love the zoo, shows, movies, local carnivals, the beach in the summer and vacationing somewhere once a year. When we visit museums I always donate to the arts if the admission is free.
Same is said for JD’s extra activities: Soccer, Karate and Tee-Ball—this is all part of childhood.
Some may disagree with my choice to throw a birthday party for $400, but in our area, this is normal. We actually have a hayride, apple-picking, pumpkin-themed birthday on Sunday at a farm. I don’t skimp on fun. And I don’t skimp on fun for me. If I want to go out, I go out. If a non-family member isn’t loving JD up, I pay between $12 and $15 an hour for a sitter—and this splurge is OK in my book, because it keeps me sane. It’s healthy to have time away from your kids.
Looking back at my “splurges,” I’m laughing a little. Maybe you expected to read about designer bags, but I haven’t bought one in two years and I do in fact have a nice collection. I’m not a new season, new bag girl. I’m a buy a designer bag every now and then because they last. I don’t buy trendy, logo bags. I’m currently rocking a Marc Jacobs from 2006 (GASP), but I doubt you’d know it. I buy jeans at Zara for $30 and drugstore makeup. My best friend cuts my hair for free (she’s JD’s godmother). I’m a fan of the designers that work with Target and have a collection of tops from Calypso and Tucker. I’m also a proud TJ Maxx shopper. I’m pretty low-key. My money is better spent on my son’s 529 college plan, my IRA and the dentist (since neither JD or I have dental insurance). Splurging is not really in my vocab and frankly I’m a better woman for it.
PS: I just spent $28 on Honor Bound: My Journey To Hell And Back With Amanda Knox. By Raffaele Sollecito with Andrew Gumbel. As an author, I support the sale of books and I like the way books smell. #Splurge!
What do you splurge on? Please share!
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