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Saving for what?

Recently I was asked by a reader what I was saving money for? The question struck me a number of ways. The dialogue in my head was random and not precise at all,.

Some thoughts that came to mind were;

1) What do you mean what am I saving for?
2) Big ticket items…what?
3) Why not save just to save?

Then it occurred to me that none of these answers would be sufficient. So I spent some time really thinking. What IS the goal here? Why am I pinching pennies so hard? The conclusion I came to is directly related to a frame of mind my generation, the late-thirty-something’s. The shared mentality of “I work hard! if I want something I am going to have it!” This way of thinking I can clearly relate to however it is not how I think now or at least not in the same way.

Years ago I can recall seeing a Movado Museum Face watch advertised in a magazine. The ad was exquisite and the colors, language and model all really grabbed me in an unusual way. Sometime soon after seeing that ad I saw the very same watch on TV. Although this time someone was wearing the watch on a talk show and a comment was made by the host on the high equality of the watch . The decision was made that someday I would have a Movado Museum Face watch. The kicker is at that point in my life I didn’t even wear or own A watch. Up until then I didn’t really even care to own a watch. Flash forward a few months and I am at the outlets and guess what? There is a Movado store. I beeline for the store and as I entered I swear I could hear the Angels singing. The store was beyond beautiful. Fancy chandeliers hung from the high ceilings, shiny pristine gold and silver accents were everywhere. The salespeople were all perfectly dressed and manicured. The whole experience felt important and exciting. The Museum Face Movado watches were displayed in the store’s most prestige’s location under locked glass. I approached them to find no visible price tag. A salesperson saw me and quickly approached with keys in hand. “ I know just the watch you are looking for,“ he stated cheerily. “You do?” I said skeptically. He pulled out a silver and gold Movado Museum Face watch and handed it to me. My heart was racing and I felt “happier“ than I could ever recall. I was wearing the exact watch “that I was looking for.” We talked a bit and he told me all about the history of Movado, the current BIG sale, the difference between outlet and store buying and so on. Finally after about a half an hour he stated the price. My heart sank at the $3,600.00 price tag. Which he informed me was $1,400.00 off regular retail. I thanked him and said I would talk it over with my husband. I left determined to get that watch! “Heck” I said “I work hard, if I want something I’m going to have it!” Months pass I find myself naturally navigating into jewelry stores. I was internet surfing for Movados -it had become a slight obsession. On a shopping trip to TJ Maxx I gandered at the jewelry counter and there it was! My Movado Museum Face watch ! The same watch I tried on at the Movado outlet in Manchester ,Vermont. I tried not to get too excited because I did recall the $3,600.00 price tag. However I was in TJ Maxx, so I ask the unkempt grumpy lady at the jewelry counter if I may try on the “silver and gold Movado Museum Face watch.” She slammed open the case ( I jumped-it was startling!) and yanked out the watch, hands it to me and-get this- walks away! She left me with a $5,000.00 retail Movado Museum Face watch! I’m slightly distracted by the events that led up to me wearing the watch so it didn’t occur to me to ask the saleslady for the price. I spent about 4 minutes looking the watch before I realized the price tag was hanging off it. Really, it was so shiny and beautiful I couldn’t take my eyes off the watch. I looked, looked again, then I summoned the saleslady to ask if she could read aloud the price on the tag because I was having difficulty with the small print. Reality was that my eyes were tearing with joy and I couldn’t believe the numbers I saw and wanted confirmation. “$369.99” she said. “I’ll take it” I said, before the last syllable left her lips. I wore it home, I wear it everyday and have for the past four plus years.

I paid cash for the watch and the buying experience was much different than it would have been at the fancy Movado store. A couple of things happened that require reflection. The first is that I was sucked in by advertising to make a big ticket purchase on something I hadn‘t ever thought of buying. I really do not know what compelling components the initial ad was comprised of and how it got to me, but it did. Then the successive episodes of seeing the very same watch penetrated my mind, scary, almost like brain washing. I truly felt strongly that I must have the watch. However I did not whip out a credit card at the Movado store when I initially found the “perfect” watch. This is where I differ from most. If I do not have the cash I do not buy. I scrimp and scrape and put money way so when I do find items that I want I can pay cash for them.

From my perspective I try to see more than just the item in front of me when I look at spending. What am I buying? Why am I making this purchase and the overall impact - ie am I helping the local economy? The environment? The impact on the future? Is this setting a good example? And so on. The Movado experience is another story. I was almost completely blinded by advertising. So much so that I longed for a certain watch when I did not even wear a watch. My judgment was effected by advertising. Well, my flag is up and I am hyper aware of selling tactics and I am careful not to fall into this same predicament again….or so I hope. With that said, Andy- I am saving so I can buy what I want, and pay cash of course.

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