Getting Into The Habit Of Being Thrifty
Tartan Thrifty is all about getting into the habit of spending less without living less well. Some habits need to be carried out every day, some every week. Some only need to be carried out once a month – and, surprise, surprise, they are the hardest ones to keep up. To help with that you can find a wall-planner to help you keep on top of this week’s Thrifty Habits – the dailies, the weeklies and the ones that only come round once a month – here. Use it to plan when exactly you are going to carry out the Weekly and Monthly Habits.
Thrifty Things To Do This Week
It’s the third week of the month – time to Review Your Spending and to Preserve Something. Gooseberries should be about ready now, so why not try some (very easy) Gooseberry Cheese?
I am gearing up to do Shoe Battle with Tartan Boy again. Inconveniently, his feet keep growing and every time they do, we have a fight over whether or not shoes that are not the “right” brand will do. What can you do, when your kid wants branded shoes and you want to stay on budget?
What To Do When The Kids Want Branded Shoes And You Want To Stay On Budget
Tartan Boy and I are both – in different ways – fussy about shoes. I think it’s important that shoes look good AND feel good and don’t like paying for shoes that don’t tick both boxes. But my definition of good is based on how they look and feel to me. If the nice, comfortable shoe is also an Asda bargain I will have no qualms about buying it.
Tartan Boy also wants his shoes to look and feel good. He believes he looks good (and he feels good about this) when he is wearing one of the brands he and his peers have deemed acceptable. His definition of good is based on what he believes other people will think of his shoes. I have not read the minutes of the Teen Footwear Advisory Committee, or whichever secret adolescent agency it is makes these decisions, so I can’t see why Nikes are better than New Balance.
So we will set off to buy him new shoes. I will have every intention of insisting that we stick to a sensible budget for shoes that will be outgrown before they are worn out. He will have every intention of getting a cool brand. And we will reach a stalemate. Because he is not paying, and I am not getting it.
I Don’t Get The Whole Branded Shoes Thing
Nike astro-boots are a perfect example. They are made of sweat-inducing plastic, provide no support in the sole and yet cost as much as a quality school shoe because only Nike will do. (Allegedly.) I think a regular trainer supports his feet far better for sport and would not dream of running around in a shoe with so little cushioning myself. But a little bit of him dies inside when he has to play in anything other than ‘proper football shoes’.
And in spite of all my thrifty principles… I do understand. In a previous century, I too was a teenager and bound by the Geneva Convention On Cool Shoes to wear only what “people” thought were cool at the time. But I also get that this is a mug’s game – and that I am setting him up for a lifetime of slavishly buying brands just because”‘people” say they are better. Then again, I also think wearing the right gear boosts his confidence in himself as a ‘real’ footballer and improves his enjoyment of his sport. So where can we compromise?
My Three Secrets Of Sane Shoe Shopping
Over the past year we have – finally – come to an understanding on shoe shopping.
- I stick to my guns about quality – if the shoe is badly constructed and is not going to protect his feet I don’t care what label is on it. He has, over the years, accepted defeat on this.
- I, likewise, have accepted defeat in his love of brands but I have not accepted that this should be at my expense. I set a realistic budget and if his choice of shoe is more than this he makes up the difference from his own money. I am counting on this eventually making him wonder if he couldn’t be getting something better for that money than a production-line logo on his shoes. In the meantime, he feels like he has some control over what he wears and I am relieved of the burden of putting my (non-branded) foot down.
- I have taught him to check budget outlets for big brands at bargain prices. It’s amazing how much less a shoe in last season’s colours costs than the same shoe in this season’s new hues.
I have failed completely to teach him that slavish brand-buying is a mug’s game but I am delighted to say he has learned how to get what he wants without paying more than he has to. He is becoming pretty skilled at finding the design he wants at the price he can afford. I am happy that he is wearing a supportive shoe on my budget. He is happy that he has shoes he considers cool – even if he had to chip in to the cost, or put in time shopping around for a bargain.
But, still, every time he tells me his shoes are getting too small I gear myself up for a fight… Old habits, like old shoes, die hard.