Today is my 8th wedding anniversary…and my son’s 7th birthday…and it’s 3 days before Christmas. It’s the perfect recipe for a financially disastrous December. This year, though, we spread them all out to help us at least feel more frugal. We celebrated our anniversary in nearby Chicago last month, we threw a simple party for our son in August, and we tried to keep Christmas spending reasonable.
Accomplishing things in a frugal way gives most of us satisfaction. Giving – a big part of the holiday spirit – essentially enables others to live more frugally. But what about lending? It also encourages frugality. Just don’t let it come back to bite you like it did us on one occasion.
Should you give to help others be frugal?
Amanda has always been frugal. She doesn’t necessarily love money as much as I do, it’s just how she was raised. So when we went looking for wedding dresses before we got married, she was blown away by how expensive some of the options were. She ended up buying a dress for about $500, which was the most expensive single item (if you don’t count college tuition) she had purchased in her life.
She also got one of those special boxes that are designed to preserve wedding dresses. I think it cost us $40 bucks. I had to bite my lip on that one, it looked like a normal cardboard box to me. They probably make good money on the boxes since wedding dresses are not only expensive but also one of the most common items people are sentimental about.
Lend a wedding dress?
Amanda had a friend who asked if she could borrow the dress. She was going to be married just a few weeks after us . Amanda said it would be fine as long as it came back unaltered and cleaned.
To make a long story short, the dress came back dirty and altered (the entire bottom was hemmed up, torn, and drug through mud), and the girl didn’t even acknowledge it! I was pretty sure that this was not normal, and Amanda was shocked. Here was my wife, supporting her friend’s efforts to be frugal by lending her a wedding dress. She had given specific instructions to NOT alter the dress. As a male, I may not be well-versed in wedding dress lending etiquette, but I imagine not sewing up someone else’s wedding dress should go without saying. (Back me up on this ladies.)
I still believe we should strive to live economically and support others in their efforts to do the same. I just might not go as far as lending a wedding dress, especially when it accounts for half of my net worth.
Lending your most valued possession
We have since learned our lesson. She has been asked several times since if she would lend what happens to be her most valuable possession: her violin. She is a people pleaser, and her natural tendency is to say yes. She is inclined to assume that they will value and care for the instrument as much as she does. In these instances, we look at each other and say “remember the wedding dress,” and she has the courage to politely say no.
Fate of the dress
In the end, Amanda carefully pulled out the hem and found a cleaner who was willing to try washing the dress by hand. Amazingly, the dress came back almost completely clean with only a few small tears in the bottom. It now sits in the $40 box in a closet, waiting to achieve heirloom status. When or if it will ever be used again has yet to be determined.
Would you lend out your most prized material possessions? Have you? What is the most expensive thing you have ever borrowed?