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How do you live in the city without being broke?

We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Within a two hour radius,  you can be climbing a mountain, hiking in the desert, or visiting a national park. If you want to go shopping, though, you’re out of luck. We have a WalMart, which I despise, a couple of dollar stores, and a few specialty shops. Every few months we drive an hour to a bigger small town if we need to go to Target or TJ Maxx.  A couple of times a year, we make the pilgrimage to a big city. As I write this, we are in Denver. We came to visit relatives, but made a mini vacation out of it. Our five year old is starting kindergarten, so this was a good time to get school clothes and a backpack.

We set out for the mall, and, wow, I felt like the country mouse goes to the city. There are so many stores! There were two stores for high end jeans alone. My husband grew up in Denver, and I lived in the city while I went to school, but we have been away for a long time. Also, when I was in the city, I was a student with no money and no need for most of the things that appeal to me now, especially cute little girls’ clothes.

We did pretty good at Children’s Place. They had a good back to school sale. Then, although there was a little voice telling me to stay away, we went into Gymboree. I shouldn’t  go into this store, ever. I am not a frilly person, but I just lose my mind when surrounded by all these little clothes in matching sunflower or lady bug prints. Thank God, I had the sense to text my husband who came to save me from buying way overpriced, matching clothes that would be outgrown in 6 months. We just had to put everthing down and walk away. Then we went to Old Navy (where I had a coupon), and we got much more stuff for the price I would have paid for one dress and shirt at Gymboree. If she were able to wear the stuff for a few years, it might be different, but she grows like a weed on steroids. So for $100, we got five shirts, a skirt, a pair of shorts, a dress, a pair of jeans, six pairs of undies,  two headbands, a backpack, and a lunch box. With the box of stuff granny just sent and what still fits her from this summer, I think we are in good shape.

We had to really hold ourselves back from going into any more stores. If I lived here, I can see myself just stopping by the mall after work to look around and end up spending money on stuff I don’t need. Not to mention all the activities; waterparks, roller coasters, ice arenas, indoor skydiving (really?) If you live around this all the time, do you just ignore it? Does it dazzle your retina so often that you just don’t see it? How do you live in the city without being broke?


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

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