Spending and Saving in New York City: Part Six

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Editor’s Note: This is part six of Noel’s ongoing series about her adventures navigating the NYC fashion world as a college student, adjusting to life without total financial support from her parents, and learning where to spend and save! In case you missed them, see Spending and Saving in New York City: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.

“Ever since I met you, I’ve been spending more money,” said my darling suitemate, as I tried on a pair of the new Marc by Marc Jacobs Love Mouse Ballerina Flats at the Marc by Marc Jacobs store in the West Village.

“Met me?! You’re the one who’s online window shopping every time you should be writing a paper,” I retorted. The sales associates at the store chuckled at our banter. I fell in love with the shoes once over, twice over, and thrice over. They would be a whimsical alternative to my Valentino flats — and truly, one can never have enough flats.

BCBG Mendel Wedge Bootie

“Well, I think these are a worthy investment,” said my suitemate, “They’re much more practical than those BCBG boots you bought recently.” She was right. I attained these coveted pony hair BCBG Mendel Wedge Booties a few days ago, and while they are amazingly comfortable for six-inch heels (and can do wonders for a petite girl’s legs), one needs to buy flats to stay sane in the city.

But you know, I started thinking about what my suitemate said, and maybe she was right — after all, would I have purchased these flats if she didn’t tell me how lovely they were? So lovely, in fact, that she herself wished she had a pair?

“I’m living vicariously though your shoes,” she said, as we walked to a nearby French patisserie for dinner. Actually, I wasn’t even supposed to be shopping for myself.

It was Friday, and I decided to finish my Christmas shopping right after my last final examination. My suitemate and I ventured to SoHo from Morningside Heights. To be honest, I don’t enjoy Christmas shopping — buying massive hoards of presents gives me a headache. I prefer buying birthday presents because I have more time and energy to personalize each gift. My plan of action? Uniqlo for the boys and Marc by Marc Jacobs for the girls.

I really don’t know how to shop for my guy friends — but luckily, Uniqlo offers quality basics at affordable prices. I picked up a wide range of clothing for my guy friends, from the one who loves his boxer briefs (don’t ask) to the one who looks good in his girlfriend’s clothes (again, don’t ask). I also picked up a wide range of tights and leggings for some of my girl friends — and a pair of long black leggings for myself! In my opinion, one can never have too much hosiery.

Afterward, I picked up some more Christmas presents for my girl friends in college and back home in California at the Marc by Marc Jacobs store. I ended up with two Marc by Marc Jacobs shopping bags and a giant Uniqlo shopping bag by the end of the day — in addition to another bag of tissue paper, gift bags, and Christmas cards.

“You’re giving a lot of presents to people. A lot of these people aren’t even exchanging presents this year,” my suitemate reminded me. “While people might be liberal with their gift giving where you come from, you can’t expect them to afford to get you a present too.”

Oh. Right. I went to a prep school in California where most of the students share fairly similar homogeneous economic and social backgrounds, mixed in with a sprinkling of liberalism and secularism. I had taken for granted that friends exchange gifts for Christmas, and it was one of the many things that became apparent to me when I came to Columbia.

Indeed, this morning, I had over 20 gift bags stuffed with presents for my friends —  and I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter at all whether or not I receive presents in return. I spent the morning beginning my gift deliveries to friends, watching them wake up with bleary eyes as I handed out my tokens of affection.

I even bought some clothing for my friend who is a Jehovah’s Witness, who doesn’t celebrate or acknowledge Christmas or birthdays as a part of his religion. “These are your ‘thank you for being my friend’ presents,” I told him. Not for Christmas. Not for Hanukkah. Just for being a good friend and making my first semester in college unforgettable. He told me that’s his philosophy on gift giving.

Maybe we should all stop viewing presents as holiday necessities and start seeing them as spontaneous tokens of appreciation. After all, it’s the thought that counts.

45 thoughts on “Spending and Saving in New York City: Part Six”

  1. Okay guys, we got it. No need to repeat the same comments saying you agree – we hear you. Thanks for the feedback and we’ll keep it in mind!

  2. I have a question for the blogger. What do you do for a living, besides being a college student, that allows you to spend $900 on shoes?

    Are you making $900 a week? a month?

    Because I want that job.

    Or do you get support money from your parents? I know I do, but it is tiny compared to what you would have to get to be able to blow that kind of money.

    Do you have to pay for anything else in your life, like books or utilities, or is all your money for clothes and shoes and going out?

    I’m just curious. I’d like a better frame of reference for where your money comes from when you write this series about spending and saving.

  3. You are kidding yourself if you think that people here are jealous of her. They are being practical; the point of her whole series is about saving money in NYC and she has not really told us how and where to go to get good deals. The stuff she wrote about in this post should be on her blog and not on CF. As for your comment on how you don’t like reading about clothes from Forever 21, this website is for the MAJORITY of college students and the MAJORITY of college students simply do not have the funds to buy what she does.

    Seriously though, this whole series fails on so many levels. Why is this the only post on CF today? Today must be slow…

  4. I’d love to see something about SAVING, please =D

    I made my friends cookies for the holidays, it’s a recession…….

  5. I kind of wish this series focused more on the “saving” part.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing all the designer purchases and getting incredibly jealous, wishing I could afford such extravagencies, but then I remember originally hearing about the theme for this series. I thought I could really relate to a college girl who had to cut back on her spending and find ways to be fashionable without breaking the bank in nyc (my home town)
    Although, perhaps saving to you and i are just two totally different concepts; if I made the purchases you make, my bank would have broken 7 times over.

  6. As for your comment on how you don’t like reading about clothes from Forever 21, this website is for the MAJORITY of college students and the MAJORITY of college students simply do not have the funds to buy what she does.

    and the MAJORITY of the posts on this site feature Forever 21 and the like.

    The point of my comment was to simply post a positive comment for a series of articles which I enjoy. I’m [not really] sorry that it doesn’t agree with the MAJORITY.

  7. I agree with some of the previous comments. This series started out a lot more interesting than it has recently become. Thanks for sharing the facts that you can easily afford BCBG boots and Marc Jacobs flats, but you have to realize that most people going to school in NYC or in any other major city can’t. So instead of writing about all of the expensive holiday presents you bought for everyone, try writing an article about how to save money on buying nice presents in the city. I’m not trying to be rude, but your articles are not about saving at all, but about spending. Spending money that again, most college students who are up to their ears in loans and who are working their way through school, do not have.

  8. Although i enjoy reading your articles, part six is disappointing. I think you continue to stray away from the theme that your articles are supposed to be centered on. Yes, you write very well, but many of the readers want you to focus on the SAVINGS in New York City.

    I also have to agree with Lauren, not a fan of the flats. They remind me of something a 5 year old would wear, but to each her own. I find you interesting, but few of the readers can relate to you. Yes, we enjoy living vicariously through you, but I think it’s enough.

    Know your audience, and focus on that. You’re a good writer, but you’ll never be incredible unless you do that.

  9. Leave Noel alone. She’s a great writer and gives out advice. People who read College fashion come from all types of backgrounds, some rich and some from a working class. Not every1 is going to relate or like any article. I don’t think it is fair to judge someone, criticize basically, for what she has and how she can spend her money. In her world it is the norm, maybe not yours. I have many friends who are supported by their parents and are brought up this way. And others aren’t. My friends always tell me they wish they could raid my closet because like some previous readers said, some people go from quality and not quantity. I like Forever 21 though but UNQIO isn’t that much more than 21 and of better quality.

    NYC is mixed with all different peoples and things, rich or poor. She is giving her perspective. This is what the series is about. It’s about her life in NYC.

    BTW, the BCBG shoes were on sale for $300. Yes it is still expensive but its a great pair of shoes.

    Why can’t you buy nice expensive gifts for your friends if you want. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK NOEL!

  10. I agree with Alexa, Lauren and most of other comments. The problem with this series is the difference between what we were expecting and what it really is about. We expected more saving tips, maybe some notes about sales and bergains – Noel frequently visits shops many of us skip during the shopping, thinking they are too expensive, and actually some great deals may be find there as well. What we got is a blog about buying things most of us can’t afford – and in the light of our expectatations that’s a disappointment.

  11. I agree with everyone. Noel, you’re a great writer, but I too read this website to find deals and steals or stay up on the latest trends, find inspiration, etc. While I do not live in NYC myself, when I do visit, it would have been wonderful to know of some hot spots where I could get quality for a bargain. This comment, as it seems with many of the other girls’ comments, is not stemming from jealousy as I too could splurge for some wonderful shoes if I really wanted to, but as a college student I try to be frugal yet still stylish. I was hoping this series would reveal something greater about fashion than the lavish spending someone takes part in. Living vicariously through you is wonderful, but maybe balance it out more with the savings part of the series. Thank you for your posts nonetheless.

  12. I think this series is missing its mark, and the number of negative comments reflects this. It would be fine if the series detailed life in New York with a great budget — that might be a fun read — but the idea that it is about “saving” in NYC is laughable. I’m at college in southern Virginia and am supported generously (in my opinion) by my parents, to the tune of about $500 every few months that I distribute between food, entertainment, gas, and a few clothing pieces every month or so. I feel like that’s more of a typical college student life, and I’m very lucky to receive an allowance because I know many people don’t.

    I also work during the summer and save to splurge on a few classic, quality pieces, like Michael Kors platform sandals, Frye boots, or a designer dress. That, to me, is actual saving and spending, rather than blowing nearly a thousand on two pairs of shoes in one go, plus hundreds on Christmas presents. That is so far removed from most people’s experiences that it’s impossible to relate to. I think it’s time to reevaluate this series, or at least steer away from parts like this particular one.

  13. I don’t think anyone’s telling her not to buy expensive things for herself or her friends, I think we’re trying to emphasize the fact that she shouldn’t be writing about it on a college website for a series supposed to be about SAVING.


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