I pride myself on being somewhat frugal and not at all frivolous with my money. I remember babysitting for $2.50 an hour and receiving my first paycheck where I earned the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour. During those times, I used to calculate how many hours I would need to work so that I could buy whatever-it-was I was eyeing. Turns out, after I made that calculation, many of those “I want them” items became “I don’t need them” items.
However, there is one area in my life that I realize I am spending more, even as I am earning less: fresh flowers.
I spent some of my college years working in a flower shop. I loved being surrounded by happy gerber daisies, exotic purple orchids, roses that weren’t red, and my favorite -- sunflowers. But, money was tight and I very rarely bought myself flowers. Instead, after a closing shift, I would bring home the “popped” roses that were doomed for the trash. These were the roses that had already bloomed, and while beautiful to look at, they wouldn’t last through the next twenty-four hours and thus we couldn’t sell them. I brought them home where my family and I enjoyed their final few hours of loveliness.
When my husband and I moved in together and did our weekly grocery shopping, I would eye the fresh flowers on display. At that time, 3 bunches of flowers could be purchased for $10 (later the price increased to $15). But even at $10, it was an extravagance we couldn’t afford. We budgeted every penny we spent during those early years together. Flowers, with their short life span, were an unnecessary purchase.
My husband and I no longer write down each purchase, although I do still shop with coupons and discounts whenever I can. But recently, I’ve begun treating myself to two bunches of flowers a week. It began with one bunch for our dining table. A burst of color with purple mums or a striking table piece with tall white gladiolas. My family seemed to enjoy the regular addition to our dining table, but truthfully, I didn’t buy the flowers for them. They were for me.
Then, I began eyeing the small decorative table in our bedroom. The table held a vase filled with the “Happy Mother’s Day” balloons from last year. I eyed that table and realized that when I ever get my own room, my own writing space, that table would be in my room and it would always have flowers on it.
My own room isn’t happening any time soon, but there was no reason I couldn’t begin to use that table to hold a bouquet of flowers. Hence, my second weekly bunch. I buy these flowers knowing that in a few days (sometimes a week if I’m lucky) the flowers will be in the trash, and I will need to replenish them. It’s taken me a while to realize that money spent doesn’t always have to mean money spent for food or clothes or something for the house. Money spent can be spent simply for aesthetic value and because it makes me happy.
And as I hope my husband and my six-year-old son realize, a happy mommy and a happy wife means a happy family.