Fashion Cents} Brand Loyalty or Brand Validation?

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Danielle and I have discussed how the psychological obsession with expensive products and luxury labels can lead to financial trouble. While setting up shop for the most relaxed SMC meeting ever, we discussed our favorite brands. Danielle likes O.P.I. nail polish and has a shoe game that would blow you away. I, however, have recently recovered from a serious infatuation with True Religion brand jeans and the both of these are pricey for the types of products they are. Sometimes within one’s own living circumstances, it makes no sense to step out of one’s’ budget for the sake of feeling validated by a brand. So why do so many people do it? Which has more value, brand loyalty or brand validation?

Let’s begin the conversation by defining these terms. Brand Loyalty is your devotion to a particular brand because of its proven usefulness. This is a tried and true product or brand that has won you, the customer, over for its merit or quality. (THINK: I’m loyal to Charmin tissue because of its thickness.) Brand validation, as its name suggests, is when a product’s mere reputation trumps the importance of its merit; thus fueling one’s desire for the label more so than the product. Yep, we let a brand validate us without proving itself worthy of its cost.

Brand names and their reputations are impossible to evade. Because of this, it is almost too easy to get lost in a particular brand so much so, that we allow it to eat out our pockets. The place where both brand obsession and financial logic intersect is where I am in my journey to financial freedom….SMC too, since she has repeatedly admitted that Chanel makes her feel pretty. In no way am I discouraging splurging for yourself or investing in expensive products that will hold you down in the long run. I, for one, own expensive jeans that have lasted years. When operating on a budget, though, it is imperative to think critically about the items you choose to spend your money on, and why. Are you loyal to your brands because they actually fulfill their purpose, or are your brands validating you while nipping away at your money? Granted, there is no cookie cutter way to address the issue of our obsessions with luxury brands. However, acknowledgment of this issue is a surefire way to begin searching for smarter ways to shop for the things you love…while staying within a budget, of course:)

Have you ever allowed a brand names to validate your purchase?  

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Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

Budgeting 101- How to Make a Budget

Today I will be visiting my alma mater, Spelman College, to sit in on a class taught by the smartest woman I have ever met, Dr. Michelle S. Hite (seriously, she is probably one of the top ten people who have significantly impacted my life). Just thinking about Spelman puts me back in an academic frame of mind, so for today class, I will be teaching Budgeting 101. In my opinion, budgeting is like using common sense, everyone should do it but not everyone does. The importance of making and sticking to a budget is the freedom of knowing exactly how you spend, what money can be spent elsewhere, and where you overspend. So grab a pen and paper and let’s get started:

  • LIST YOUR SOURCES OF INCOME
  • CREATE A LIST OF YOUR MONTHLY EXPENSES
  1. Fixed (Mortgage/Rent, Car Payments, Insurance, Emergency Fund)
  2. Variable (Utilities, Groceries, Gas, Food, Entertainment)
  • REARRANGE YOUR LIST IN ORDER OF PRIORITIES

    This is the time for you to really think about what’s important. Shelter, Food, Utilities, and Gas are at the top of my list. Although I hate to do it, I can live without costly entertainment.

  • ASSIGN A BUDGET TO EACH EXPENSE
  • WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY ON (for 2 weeks)

    Do not leave anything out in this step. If you spend $1.00 at the vending machine, $3.00 for Girl Scout cookies, and $7.00 for parking downtown when meeting friends for drinks, you already splurged $11.00 on random spending that you probably don’t even consider when mentally reviewing your spending for the day. Writing EVERYTHING out will help you see exactly what, where, and how you spend your dineros.

  • CUT OUT IMPULSE SPENDING

    My friend and Rah Tiffany (hey girl) put herself in a mental shopping rehab back when we were in college. At first, my friends and I thought she was crazy, but in fact she was making the best financial decision as a then single black female addicted to retail (thanks Kanye). She went almost 40 days without random impulse shopping. Following suit, I did the same. I reviewed my spending habits from the previous step that revealed my mindless exhaustion of funds at the mall. I would get up, go to the mall, see something I thought I couldn’t live without, buy it, then after working so hard at shopping I would go for lunch, go back to shopping and finally come home. Now looking back, I have to ask myself, did I really need those shoes, that purse, that book, that phone case, or that expensive lunch….NOPE, I did not. Then I thought to myself, wow, I could have taken that money and put it in my bucket list fund. Trust…skydiving will be more memorable than that cute shirt I purchased sometime last season.

  • PAY FOR EVERYTHING IN CASH

    This tip makes its way into almost every post I write. This is a must for financial empowerment!!!

  • REVIEW YOUR BUDGET MONTHLY

    Things change. Financial situations change. Keeping your list up to date is the only way to ensure that your budget is working for you.

Good Luck and Enjoy!

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR BUDGET WORKSHEET

 

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