“I’ve spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the woman who lived in her shoes!” –Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie on HBO’s Sex and the City


Along with shopping, we should talk about finances (I mean these items don’t purchase themselves)!

I, like many young women, have a good amount of debt. College wasn’t free (loans, loans, loans), and even though I waited years to get my first credit card, it didn’t take me that long to get that bill up to the limit. Even though I only had one card (and not a wallet full), I found myself getting rejected for some cards because I kept my balance high.

Since December I’ve been working on getting rid of my debt. After getting my tax return, I cut the balance in half, and have been making large payments religiously since. I even cut up my credit card in May (and framed the remains) so that I wouldn’t spend on it anymore. I didn’t close my card, because apparently doing so does more to hurt your score than help it.

Immediately following my ‘cut up the credit card’ moment, I realized that it is ROUGH to live in New York without another form of payment just in case. Money just went and I found myself anxious about having money to do little things like…I don’t know, buy a $76 metrocard every month to get around. So I decided to bight the bullet: apply for a new credit card, keep the balance low, all the while paying off my other card in full.

Well. I now have an Amex Blue Cash Card. A grocery trip here, a trip to J.Crew there, and my bill is now at almost halfway up to the limit. I know. How did it happen?

Anyway, my debt is back up, I’ve backtracked a BUNCH. And now I’m just like…how can I think about buying $500 shoes (or even $200 shoes) with my bills as they are? It’s unrealistic. It does a disservice to me (and a tremendous service to Mr. Jimmy Choo).

Lesson laides: If you must shop, you have to be smart about it. Take care of finances first, closet second. We also have to think about SAVING! You need more than a loan to purchase a house or a car…you’ll need some cash. Remember the quote from above? When Carrie had to buy a house but had spent all her money on shoes???? I’m just saying…

If you have debt and are looking for a reform, check these books out for reference. But don’t buy them full price! Get a copy from the library…or check out options at half.com or buy used copies at amazon.com. Hopefully everyone can have this goal: Fabulous Clothes. Impeccable Credit.


10 thoughts on “Budget before Blahnik”

  1. Claire, claire, claire…

    This renewed strength and enlightenment within you is truly inspiring and uplifting!

    Like most 25 year olds, I too have succumb to the fiery pits of continual debt, all when I completely paid off my debt last year this time. You don’t want to know, but in one year, I’ve equated the debt I had accumulated over five years in college…. I know, right?

    So the dear LORD totally convicted me of this recently, and by His grace I too have made a commitment to get out of this rut. It sure ain’t fun to swipe when you know you really can’t pay it back come bill time… it’s almost like a mini pinch or slitting of the wrist each time the clerk runs it through.

    So hats off to you for making this commitment, but allow me to offer some wisdom:


    I am a true believer that unless you set a goal with a hard deadline, you will always put off a commitment, not matter how important it may seem… I mean, think of your deadlines at work and school- wihtout them, you’d hardly ever have completed the tasks at hand.

    So mine is Thanksgiving. And I’m allowing you to hold me accountable. Holler at me before I bite into my Turkey and make sure this girl has a zero balance on all seven- that’s right: SEVEN- of her credit cards… until then, just make sure I’m not sporting anything too new and fancy!

    When’s your day gon’ be?

  2. Excellent post, Claire! So many of us young people are up to our eyeballs in debt, but at least we are trying to turn it around now and not let it get any worse. High Fashion, but Low Prices – Fabulous and Fierce!

  3. I’m so happy to see this article!! not too many websites inform young women of spending habits, this is great!

  4. Thanks for writing this! Even though I was an Econ major, they did not teach all of this in class, lol. Right before I graduated I started fretting about my finances and went on a major research binge. Needless to say I signed up for every automatic debit incentive for my student loans to avoid late payments and get reduced interest rates. Cha-ching! I also read the articles on bankrate.com so I could be informed when I had to call financial institutions with questions. Knowledge was certainly power when it came to maintaining my creditworthiness.

  5. We needed this. I just graduated with my Masters so the payments havent hit but when they do, oh boy! I hope/plan to be completely debt free in 2 years. Lets do it!

  6. I don’t know anyone who isn’t in this boat. Good for you coming forward and exposing so many of our “dirty little debt secret.”

  7. Commendable post Claire. I am so glad you are attempting to bring to light the fact that not being able to afford $500 shoes is okay. It doesn’t mean you one day wont be able to and priorities and saving should come first before shopping.

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