Frugal Girl From the Midwest
There was an aspect to this “which hotel for a friend’s wedding?” question that I didn’t touch on at the time.
I went to a state school. I got a GREAT education. However, it was a school people wouldn’t come from further than one or two states away to attend. My tuition was something like $4k a semester. Many of my college friends worked part-time and a lot of them had student loans. No one I hung out with spent excessively, no one had super nice cars or designer purses, and almost no one went on international vacations.
Towards the end of college, I spent a semester studying in Hong Kong. For the first time, I met and became friends with people who went to “real” schools. Expensive schools. Highly ranked schools. Ivy League schools. Many of my peers came from families with a lot more money than I was used to. Almost no one else was from the Midwest. These were college students, but they had designer bags (instead of backpacks?) and seemingly unlimited budgets.
I did encounter a few people with attitudes I didn’t like. I got a lot of “what do you guys do in [podunk Midwestern state]?” and at least one comment on “flyover country” or people in the middle being uneducated. However, for the most part, everyone was normal and nice, and I made a great group of girl friends. They just spent money a LOT more freely than I did. Whenever we booked a budget vacation together (about once a month), they would call home to ask their parents if they could have the money to go. I would call and tell my parents where I was going, because it was my [borrowed/scholarship] money.
I gained a reputation for being careful with money. Not in a bad way, it was just another one of those things. I always tripped and dropped things and at least once a week I’d send a chopstick flying to the floor. I was extremely practical, very loyal, kind, and I liked chocolate…. and I was frugal. Or, as one girl put it, I was “non-baller”.
This wedding is for one of the girls that I was close to on study abroad. The other girls (minus one) are coming too, flying in from all over the world (europe, asia, USA). Part of me just wants to not be the frugal girl from the Midwest anymore. Part of me still wants to spend the $500 on the hotel. Not because anyone will notice or care, but rather, because it then just won’t be an issue. I won’t be the one who is catching a cab or driving home after the reception. I would just be down the hall! (Worth noting, they only have to pay $125 each, which T and I would have to pay $500 for the two of us.)
I’ve spent time with nearly all of these girls recently, and they seem practical about money. They are adults with jobs and they pay their own bills. I don’t know who makes the most money of us, but I’m not at the bottom, and I probably not at the top either. No one will be judging the money stuff.
The truth is, I still am the frugal girl from the Midwest. My spending has evolved towards “young professional”, but I still have the same values, the same family, the same practicality, and I still get sentimental when I hear certain country songs on my iPod (even though I grew up in a city). And I’m very grateful and proud of that.