• The Cost of Having Nice Things

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    This is a post from Make Love, Not Debt staff blogger, Abby.

    Shoe Repair

    Expensive, But Necessary

    May has inadvertently turned into a month of “Getting Things Done.” While I would ordinarily begin doing a type of spring cleaning (although let’s be real, I’m obsessive compulsive and every week is spring cleaning week in my apartment), the fact that we are being moved out of our apartment (for renovation purposes) has had a compounding effect on the number of spring-related errands I’ve been running and, as a result, my bank account.

    This past weekend, for instance, I had a list to complete. It’s finally getting warm up here, so I decided I could take my coats in to be dry-cleaned. My boots won’t be worn for another few months, so now is a great moment to take them to a cobbler and repair all the damage I’ve done as a result of wearing them essentially daily in horrible weather. I have a couple of summery dresses that I’ll need for upcoming weddings that fit me not-quite-right in a few areas, and I’ve been putting off doing anything about them for a while. So boots and coats in hand (and arms and bag), I went off to drop everything in its respective location.

    First up, the coats. It will cost $20 per item for them to be cleaned. That’s a bit of a hit to the wallet, but unavoidable considering how many things I’ve spilled on myself/sat in while wearing these coats. They’re good, sturdy items, and I’d like to keep them for a while, so a cleaning once or twice a year to get the stale, dried beer off of them (thanks to a clumsy moment in a bar) is worth it.

    Next, I marched to the cobbler. I had three pairs of shoes with me: a nice pair of black leather boots that I’ve worn away after a year of scraping my heels (a terrible habit, I know); brown Timberland boots that are one of my greatest joys, and whose lining has been super-glued by me I don’t know how many times; and a pair of dainty, pointed heels that I consistently scrape against staircases as I go up them (I can’t avoid this, no matter how diligent I try to be). The total came to $75 for repairs and shining. The cobbler tried to talk me into replacing the heels on the brown boots as well, but they’re not terribly worn down and I’m fairly certain I can get another year out of them before incurring that $40 cost. It’s expensive, but do you know what’s more expensive? Replacing really nice boots. So down went the credit card in my attempt to keep my nice things nice.

    There are net positives to this kind of seasonal overhaul. I went through my wardrobe and found a number of clothing items to consign locally, which should mean a nice-sized check in my future. I’ve gotten to reassess what I own, and take care of items that need it so that they look like new (because nothing helps with spending than getting a pair of repaired/cleaned boots and clothing to make you feel like you have something new when you don’t). It’s money I don’t mind spending.

    What kind of costs are involved with your clothing upkeep? Does a big event like a move prompt you to take care of neglected items?

    image: David Harris

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