Photo: Flickr / John McNab
When I was 22, I was a year out of college and living at home. I had no money, and I spent all of my time reading blogs and applying for jobs that never got back to me.But then I received an unexpected major inheritance from my step-grandfather.
I received a lump sum of $66,000 after taxes—more money than I could comprehend, really.
My dad immediately took me to the bank and helped me open a CD, a deposit account with a high interest rate, stressing that the money would grow, and then one day I could use it on a down payment on a house.
That sounded nice, but also very far away. Buying houses was for old people! I was young, and it had been a hard year—didn’t I deserve something nice now? I put $61,000 into the CD, and $5,000 in my checking account.
I was cautious going into spending the money—terrified of ruining this opportunity. My first major purchase was a fancy DSLR, a Nikon D80, a solid camera that all my favourite lifestyle bloggers seemed to love. I got it off of Amazon with a kit lens for a little over $1,000. I had an interest in photography; it seemed like a practical purchase, necessary, even.
I remember asking my boyfriend if I had made the right decision. That was the single biggest purchase I had ever made in my life, and it seemed like something worth debating. But he insisted that if I wanted to take great photos, nothing would be a greater incentive than an amazing camera.
I still remember the day I got it. I felt professional, rich, and responsible. It seemed like a well-reasoned purchase, and I vowed to continue to make practical decisions about what I would buy. If I wanted to be a photographer, a good camera was the perfect starting point. Naturally, all my purchasing decisions would follow as such. Right?
Buying the camera had made me nervous, but I soon found the money easy to spend. With $61,000 in the bank, it seemed like I had a nearly limitless supply. I started with small things: A pretty porcelain vase here, a Thread Social skirt there.
Those lifestyle and fashion and design blogs I loved—the beautiful things posted on the sites were suddenly attainable to me. I bought $200 ban.do flowery headbands, ridiculously ruffly silk collar necklaces, even hideous Jeremy Scott leggings with gas pumps on them. If I was even slightly interested in it, to my house it came.