My daughter, Miss Em, is truly divine. That is because she sees herself as a part of our frugal family and thinks about what she wants and what she doesn't want. Last week, I ran into an acquaintance at a consignment sale. She was frantically gathering up all the Vera Bradley bags, which to me seemed somewhat shabby and overpriced, and calling her daughter Sophie to see what would do.
You see, Vera Bradley is de rigueur on college campuses, much as LL Bean backpacks with monogram were required back in junior high. Sometimes kids DO need to fit in. I told the mom about the sale section on the Vera Bradley website, which offers prices lower than those at the consignment sale. She found the bag Sophie wants, but even on sale it was $69.00. I said, "That would be a great going-to-college gift." The mom looked dubious and said, "But she needs so much other stuff. A comforter set. A new waste basket. Matching message board." On and On.
When I got home, I asked Miss Em if she wanted a new comforter. Really, I worry about my pathological frugality sometimes. I don't want my kids to become crazed materialists or to feel shabby because of me. Miss Em rolled her eyes. She is happy with the cute Marimekko truck comforter Frugal Son used in his toddler years.
So the key, as always for me, is to THINK it through first and then find a frugal way. Both my children got their Bean backpacks. Frugal Son said, "I have achieved a level of normality I never dreamed possible." Miss Em got her Vera Bradley duffel bag WAY on sale early in the spring. They got what they wanted.
And, if you really need new linens for college, I'd say to check out the Garnet Hill sale, which should be coming up very soon (June or July). I got Miss Em some funky pillowcases there for $2.00!
Dear Readers, how do you work through the issues of convention, needs, and wants with your students? Or with yourselves??