by Warren Buffett
February 4, 2010
Source: The Onion
I’m not really the kind of person to get caught up in the latest trends or fashions or anything like that. But some days, if I get out of work early and have a little time to kill before dinner, I’ll go do some window-shopping in the downtown Omaha area. Usually I just stick to browsing, but occasionally I’ll see a shirt I like, and if I try it on and it looks good, I’ll say, “What the heck,” and go ahead and buy it.
Because why not, right?
If you think about it, we’re only talking $50 or $60 tops here. I’ve had a steady income for years now, and I’m at the point in my life where I just refuse to feel guilty about treating myself to a decent shirt every once in a while. See, because it’s not even about the money. It’s about feeling good. So if I come across a nice blue button-down or a really sharp Tommy Hilfiger polo, I just think, “Warren, in the span of a lifetime are you really going to miss the $40 you spent on a shirt you might wear for upwards of 10 years?” Of course not.
Look, I’m old enough to understand that it’s okay to spend a little cash on something that makes you happy. To tell the truth, I wish I’d learned that lesson years ago.
Now, I’m not saying you should go hog wild and buy 200 shirts at a time or anything. That’d be crazy. And no matter how much money you have, spending $150 on a shirt is just plain silly: I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts that someone somewhere makes a shirt that looks just as nice for half the price. For example, the Men’s Wearhouse at Oak View Mall typically has nice dress shirts for decent prices by all the top name brands, like Ralph Lauren, Geoffrey Beene, and so on. It’s not cheap stuff by any means, but if you have a member card you can get a 15 percent discount, and why not take advantage of a good deal when you see one.
I don’t know about Men’s Wearhouses outside Omaha, but I assume they have a similar discount at their other locations, as well.
When you’re used to pinching pennies and watching where every dollar goes, it can be hard to let loose and just splurge on something. Believe me, I know. But, hey, I’ll drop $8 on a movie once in a while, and it doesn’t even have to be the greatest film in the world, either. And, sure, a $30 box of chocolates for your wife might be a bit extravagant, but the look on her face when you give it to her is more than worth it. (And, let’s be honest, that $30 isn’t exactly going to break the bank!)
I will say that I never buy just to buy. Having some extra sawbucks lying around doesn’t mean they need to be spent. In fact, just last week I walked into a Banana Republic—I like their sweaters a lot—looked around for about 15, 20 minutes, and walked right out. Seriously, just walked right on out.
But, yeah, if something catches my eye, I’m not going to ignore it. I’m going to try it on, see how it looks with the pants I’m wearing, maybe try on a pair of khakis to see if they go with it better. If I like the khakis enough, I’ll buy them, too. Even if it adds up to $160, it’s an outfit I’ll be able to wear many times, and I know I’ll feel confident every time I wear it. That sounds like a bargain to me.
After all, I work hard. I deserve it.
One more thing: I learned the hard way to always try clothes on first. That’s just smart shopping. Case in point: I recently bought this turtleneck at Eddie Bauer without seeing if it fit. Well, you know where that turtleneck is now? Collecting dust in my closet. Sometimes I wear it under a sports coat, but very rarely. Sixty-five dollars down the drain.
But you know what? It’s just 65 bucks, for crying out loud. Big deal.