Download PDF

I overstepped my frugal bounds recently and did something I’ve never done before: I bought an armchair. (Cue thunder and lightning.)

I know, it’s probably something most of you have done too. But do you feel as guilty as I do? I hope not. Guilt seems to be my specialty these days.

Not to mislead, I already HAVE two armchairs in my living room, one a hand-me-down from my parents’ basement, the other inherited from my grandparents. But I was greedy, and wanted a third — one for my bedroom on which to pile clean laundry for the three days it generally takes me to put it away. I had been looking for oh, about three years. There was a chair I had my eye on at West Elm and finally! it went on sale in a fabric I loved (online), so I thought “gee, a bargain, I must snap this up!”

The chair arrived. “Gee,” I thought, spying the giant box on my front porch, “my new chair! I’m so excited”

And then I took it out of the box. Although not cheap ($200), it felt cheap ($2). The frame was flimsy particle board, the fabric a thin, waxy, icky, plasticky thing. And once I got it into my room I realized, “Gee, these colors don’t coordinate at all!” It was not at all what I had envisioned and I felt extremely disappointed, followed quickly by extremely angry at myself because it was, of course, FINAL SALE NO RETURNS.  


Icing on the cake, the little bag of anti-moisture ball thingies had exploded en route so that when I opened the box there was a torrential downpour of teeny, tiny, toxic marbles all over my house. Fun times.

Double fudge.

I told myself I would grow to love this chair. I also told myself I was a horrible person, blowing my budget, buying for cost rather than value, forgetting everything my parents had taught me about “buy it for life,” inevitably adding to a landfill a chair that would never survive reupholstry, toxifying myself and Cheddar Pup with whatever off-gassing would occur for the next six weeks, and hypocrifying my newfangled frugality blog.

Fudge, again.

In exasperation, I expressed my loathsome inner thoughts to Sweetie Pie. He looked at me, rightfully, like I had four heads. (By that point, it’s possible I did.) “You made a mistake. It’s OK. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s just a chair. Sit on it or sell it on Craigslist. You’ll be fine.”

Such wise words. So wise, in fact, I have almost forgiven myself and am almost growing to love The Chair. It may not will under no circumstances stay in my bedroom forever, but I know it will find a nice spot someday when I have a guest room. I wouldn’t buy it again, but it’s really not that horrible. (It’s a chair.)

Things I learned from this experience:

1) Quality craftsmanship is everything. It’s always better to pay more for something that will last than to get a screaming deal on something that will leave you screaming at yourself.

2) Meet in person before you decide to get married to someone you met online. (Or something like that.) There’s no dating a final sale.

3) Don’t kick yourself when you make mistakes. Sometimes mistakes are a good reminder of what we really care about: for me, I’ve got a good head on my shoulders and the ability to manage my finances well, I own an entire freaking HOUSE with a BEDROOM that’s big enough to put a CHAIR in, and I have an incredible support system that knows when to call me on my self-flagellating bull honkey.

My life is freaking awesome.



© 2015, Cheddar Pie. All rights reserved.


Stacey · July 21, 2015 at 4:34 pm

And this is why I love you. I know exactly how you feel. We all do it, and even if I try to remind myself that ONE – I make far fewer mistake purchases than the average bear and TWO – I can afford to make a mistake here or there, I still feel the guilt. Walk away from the guilt (easier said than done, as I well know)!!! And now that you’ve taken lessons from it and written a blog post about it, you now know why it was meant to be in your life right now. Thank it (a la Marie Kondo) and move on. And if you don’t have her book, let me know and I’ll send you my copy.

    Cheddar Pie · July 22, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Thanks! That is a great perspective. I don’t have the book but will find it at the library!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: