Debt is Beautiful Only After it is Repaid

Happy New Year to all of the Pin Up Persuasion readers! It appears to be a bitterly cold start to the year for many of us in North America, especially in the North Eastern parts. Please stay warm everyone and we shall ride it out like we do every winter. 2018 marks a huge milestone for us as well…6 years since Pin Up Persuasion began! I never thought this little labour of love would become what it has today. A lot has changed over the years in the world of blogging and I am very thankful to still be here due to your loyal readership. There are times that I truly thought it was time to pack it in for various reasons that I will not bore you with but my heart has always guided me back to my senses.

As many of us have set new goals for 2018, I wanted to bring attention to a very serious topic for those just starting out or long term collectors of vintage and vintage reproduction clothing. Over the years, especially as I became more entrenched in the vintage community a very scary trend has emerged…people prioritizing buying vintage clothing over basic necessities like paying rent/mortgages, car payments, bills, etc. If you are saying who does such a thing, I can tell you that there is an incredible amount of people that fall into this group and it is becoming a bigger problem as prices of vintage and vintage reproduction increase.

First things first, I am not here to pass judgement on anyone’s spending habits as I personally have gotten sucked into a bad pattern of spending money I did not have (ie: on credit, Paypal pay after delivery, etc.) as it has become all too easy to click “buy” and worry about the financial repercussions later.Β  My reality with our low Canadian dollar vs the American & Euro/British currencies, makes it even less affordable to purchase clothing these days. The average vintage 1950s day dress or novelty print skirt currently starts at $150USD which is over $200CAD; not yet factoring in shipping and customs. So this is why the buy now, pay later attitude quickly leaves my bank account seeing red after paying our monthly bills first, leaving a growing debt for my “luxuries” that I simply cannot pay off.

Let’s be honest here, buying vintage and vintage reproduction clothing is NOT a necessity, it is a luxury. Unfortunately all too often we see individuals purchasing luxuries with no means to then pay their monthly bills. Now if you are wondering how I know strangers financial situations, it is all too easy to see in the world of social media. These individuals are often buying some of the most coveted collectors items that are insanely expensive only to turn around posting those same items for sale months or weeks later to “make rent” or not lapse on their mortgage payment. The reality is that their passion has become an obsession of hoarding/impulse buying. Honestly, it is all too easy to fall into this trap with how competitive the vintage markets have become in recent years. Prices are soaring with vintage being so popular and unfortunately some people will pay ANY price. It is definitely sellers market in 2018.

Although I cannot help those individuals personally, I wanted to bring awareness to this growing trend that is only going to hurt us all in the long term if we do not start to make changes now. Now let’s review some helpful tips on how you can still indulge in your love of beautiful clothing but remain financially responsible.

A) Identify your monthly “luxuries” budget – The key here is MONTHLY. Many of us are online for several hours each day and it is easy to buy multiple items that add up very quickly in a month. By setting spending budget each month, you immediately know if you can afford that item or already reached your limit. If you absolutely do not want to pass it up (ie: rare vintage items), you have to have a plan B or C, or even D to stay in the green.

B) Alternate payment options – This is where you have to be very careful, this too can lead you down a dangerous black hole if you are not mindful of keeping track of pay later options. Many vintage sellers on Etsy will offer layaway (payment plans) on items over a certain amount, check their shop policies section or contact them directly to discuss possible payment terms. Again, take your monthly budget into account when establishing the installment amounts to coincide with your pay days. Paypal occasionally offers “Pay After Delivery” when using your bank account as the method of payment. This gives you 21 days grace period before the payment is withdrawn from your bank account. So if this brings you into the allotment for next months luxuries budget, keep track. There are other services online merchants offer like “Afterpay” (in Australia), that are similar to layaway that you can take advantage of to defer payments into the future to stay on track with your spending budget.

C) Clean out your closet –Β The most effective way to stay on track is selling items you no longer wear to replace them with new to you pretties. Whether it be to sell one item to replace it with another, or making a huge closet clean out to amass funds for future purchases…this is a excellent way to always remain in the green. I personally leave these funds in my Paypal account and utilize them the next time something I want comes along. Honestly, it usually isn’t too long before the money is spent but at least it does not come of my monthly spending budget.

D) Have a back up plan – Sometimes life happens and unforeseen expenses arise (car repairs, illness, vet bills, etc.) and no matter how much you budget, there is not enough funds in the reserve to cover them. Make sure you have a plan on how to cover your bills and put the luxuries on the back burner. There is no shame in selling some items to amass funds quickly, just be careful not to be rash on what things to part with as you will have severe regret after the fact. Select things that you have not reached for in several months, pieces that do not fit (be honest with yourself, holding onto these items will not result in your losing 2″ off your waist) and projects that you just never get to fixing.

E) SPENDING BAN – If you have exhausted all those recommendations and your bank account is still in the red once all your monthly bills are paid….DO NOT BUY ANYTHING! Establish a self imposed spending ban until things improve financially and make sure to stick with it. I see all too often people claiming to be on a spending ban, only to turn around sharing on social media they just HAD to buy another luxury item. DON’T DO IT!!! Go back to options A-D and if those don’t result in extra funds for luxuries, you CAN live without it. TOUGH LOVE!!!

In the end, only WE can control our spending habits and are ultimately responsible for our own financial welfare. Practicing self control and making changes is not easy but they are essential to ensure our passions do not result in an obsession surrounded by severe debt.

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9 comments

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  1. Patricia

    I second all this advice. I got cancer last year and out of depression I ordered a dress a month and neglected other bills. Now my cars going to be repossessed. Cancer ruined my life 😞

  2. Emily Kitsch

    This is a really good – and very important! – post. I even bookmarked it as a reminder to myself!

    Also, I hear ya, sis – the Canadian dollar is pretty darned abysmal right now and it really does make shopping outside of Canada prohibitively expensive – and that’s not even factoring in shipping and customs fees, which are through the roof!

    I really, really liked this post! So much to think about…thank you for writing this!!

  3. Kara | The Dressed Aesthetic

    This is great advice – and definitely important. I think so much about vintage hunting can be about getting wrapped up in the frenzy. Knowing other people want something can be intoxicating – and your competitive side can take over before your rationale side has a chance to pipe up. I have a similar strategy to you – I have a monthly fun budget (as does the husband for gadget-type things). And if I hit it, I’m done for the month. If I don’t (or want to save for something pricier), then it can roll over to the next month. It’s not always easy (and I am not perfect and have cheated!) – but definitely works once it becomes a habit.

    Hope your 2018 is great so far lovely!

    -Kara
    http://www.thedressedaesthetic.com

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