Light Notes

Springing for new clothes comes with guilt

Spring is almost here. You can tell by the worried looks on women’s faces, including mine.

The spring fashions have hit the department stores and boutiques. Each display window invites us to welcome the sunny days with fresh new looks. But the price tags add up to a wrinkle or two on my brow.

In one magazine I flipped through, the cost of the shoes alone would feed a family for a month — and that was eating steak every night while storing the rest of the cow in the freezer.

So what I’ve been struggling to figure out is how to justify an expensive spring purchase. Fortunately, a serendipitous meeting has given me a solution to splurging on at least one thing.

The other night I attended our monthly book group where the good girls had read their books and the rest of us had come to eat. (The latter may split off someday and then name our membership “Foodies with a Reading Problem.”)

Since neither this member nor I had read or spent the $25 for the selected book, we had plenty of time to review her strategy for buying new spring clothes — or any item — without guilt.

“Here’s how you do it,” she said, her voice rising with excitement. “Count the number of times that you wear or use the item and then divide the cost by that number.”

Uh oh! This was sounding like a math word problem. I could feel myself sliding into a black hole.

The gal continued in detail, “So, if you buy a new jacket for $165 and wear it twice, it has now cost you $82.50.” She peered over her glasses to see if I was following, “and on the third wearing it will be $55 and then . . . .”

Her voice slipped into the background as I tried to follow her calculations. In some strange way I had time traveled back to the agony of a high school math class.

In retrospect, I think it might have been easier to spring for the book.