Postcards from Mommywood: How Motherhood Taught Me to Be a Financial Grownup

These days I'm bargain-hunting-and buying stuff for my daughter (not me).
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Postcards from Mommywood: How Motherhood Taught Me to Be a Financial Grownup

These days I’m bargain-hunting—and buying stuff for my daughter (not me).

-Diane Clehane

Woman with piggy bank

While many different sources are doing their best to make us believe the recession is over, anyone who knows anyone who is unemployed or underemployed knows better. From where I sit, things are far from “back to normal” and, if you’re like me, you’ve come to believe we are still in the early stages of adjusting to a “new normal” when it comes to our finances and earning power.

While many of us are fortunate enough to live in areas where it’s not as dire as it is in many other parts of the country, I’m going to guess that every one of us has had to reassess where we’ve been spending our money and make adjustments.

Read Postcards from Mommywood: The Mysteries of Motherhood

But it was motherhood, not the recession, that caused me to re-examine where my disposable income was going. I’ve always been a recreational shopper. How many cashmere sweaters and pairs of designer shoes does one woman need, though, when she’s got a whole slew of new child-related expenses to consider? The answer is a lot less than I already own. (The New York Times once did a story on my shoe collection, just to give you an idea of what we’re talking about here.)

Preschool, skating lessons, camp and a never-ending list of presents to buy for what seems like weekly birthday parties is where most of my “extra money” (and I’m using this term very loosely) goes these days.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not complaining. I’m actually thankful that being a mother has finally made me act like a grown-up when it comes to finances. I shudder to think of the money I spent over the last twenty years on unnecessary things. I’m not talking about trips to Europe or summer vacations. Those experiences were well worth it. I’m talking about all the mindless shopping that, if I were to add up the receipts from those “retail therapy” sessions, would likely come up to what I could use as a down payment on a house.

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