Sunday, April 29, 2007

Have You Met Miss Jones?

I had brunch with my friend M this morning, and had a run-in with that pesky keeping-up-with-the-proverbial-Joneses thing.

M is glamorous. She just is. She's a teeny, spritely Texan with a pointy nose and a pixie haircut, all-but-engaged to a boy who's about to start a 100k job with Goldman Sachs. She's a temp at a not-for-profit staffing organization, and probably makes the same amount of money I do (albeit with no benefits), but she's not saving anything (she told me) and she just borrowed money from her father (who has plenty of it), so she has more spending money than I do. You can see that difference, too. And though generally I don't do this whole trip, this morning it made me feel bad about myself. I just suddenly felt a distaste for the tightness of my budget and the scrupulousness with which I have to plan and live in order to stick within it.

So I ordered a mimosa at brunch when she ordered one. (She actually ordered three, over the course of the meal. I stuck with one.) One of the things I've always liked about M is her frankness about liking money, which makes it ironic that I wasn't able to say, frankly, "I'm going to skip the mimosa; I can't afford it."

Five bucks for a teeny (and none-too-strong) mimosa, for no reason. I do love a mimosa, but I didn't enjoy this one.

And here's the kicker: she told me that recently she "spent way too much money at M.A.C.," and was invited to the launch of their new product line. She knows I love M.A.C. makeup, so would I like to come? Eeurgh. I said yes, but I may have to call her and cancel, because my chances of getting out of a M.A.C. store in M's company without blowing thirty bucks are slim. And I do not have thirty bucks to blow. Not even on a wonderful new lipstick. Not even on wonderful M.A.C. foundation, even though I do need a new foundation.

See? This is why I shouldn't go.


Wanda said...

People will say you shouldn't compare yourself to other people.. but it's hard sometimes, isn't it?

I guess in the end, you just have to do the best you can for your situation. I mean, you (general you) can save and save and save, and you will never come even close to what some people can make in an hour. But the fact is that you have improved your own financial situation, which would not be possible without your diligent savings.

Don't feel too down.

Anonymous said...

I totally get that, especially here in NY, where everyone seems to have way more money than you or I (I'm a public servant). I try to think of it in environmental terms, and (rarely) that helps. I'm not sure that its comparing yourself to others or to yourself, but with much more money. I wish it was more common here in NY to invite people over rather than go out all the time, but everyone is so spread out and appartments are so small...

S/100/30 said...

I wish it were possible for all of us PF bloggers to get together for brunch -- not only would we be comfortable saying we can't afford something, we could go on for hours about why!

On a lighter note, you think they'd make you pay for products at a launch? I thought the whole point of dealing with the insanity of those sort of events was to score the free stuff.

SF Money Musings said...

It's tough when you see others spend money so freely.

One of my friends last year pitched dinner with a group at this swanky bar/restaurant and I took one look at the menu online and it was going to be impossible for me to afford a drink and a meal (starting at $20). I was embarrassed to admit that I couldn't afford it and luckily everyone else chimed in and said the same thing - we were all on tight budgets.

Krystal said...

I know how you feel. It's so hard not to compare yourself to your peers. There'll always be someone like "M" in your life, no matter how much you make.

You're doing so well for yourself. You're saving up, and looking towards the future. Keep at it. :)

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