|This vintage book is why I will never own a Kindle.|
I picked up Sex and the Single Girl, that classic from 1962 by Helen Gurley Brown, for a buck at a used bookshop in Ithaca and am having a great time reading it, especially her budgeting advice in the chapter “Money Money Money.” Helen really believed in living as cheaply as possible and saving for the finer things in life, which I love. Her advice was hard-earned—she writes that her father died when she was 10, her sister contracted polio a few years later, and the medical expenses related to the illness wiped out the insurance money left to Helen’s mother. She said years of lean living taught her to be a “really ruthless pennypincher.”
I never expected a book about how to live it up as single gal to contain such gems in regards to money but I am finding myself agreeing with a lot of Helen has to say on the subject!
She introduces her rules with this thought:
“Some people, especially the poor, seem to think it is unattractive and miserly to watch pennies. Did they pay $5,000 cash from savings for a Mercedes-Benz 190 S.L. when their yearly income was $9,600? I did. (And I wasn’t kept!) But I drove a vintage Chevy and rode the streetcar for years.”
|A 1963 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL. I love that HGB saved up and paid cash for a car like this! Photo source.|
Some more of my favorite HGB advice on money:
Scrimp on what isn’t sexy or beautiful or really any fun, so you can afford what is.
Don’t spend a sou on anything you don’t need. (You need iridescent gold eye shadow, but what about that essence-of-pine air purifier somebody was selling door-to-door?)
Never pay more when you can pay less.
Economize on things that would bring you no extra happiness units if you spent twice as much.
Under my system you start funds for the things you want—car, vacation, hi-fi, television, fur coat, furniture. You sneak up on these luxuries. When your fund is over the top, you buy! Or just have a general savings account, deplete it for the major purchase and pay back your bank account, sans interest.
More money has been squandered at sales in the name of thrift than has been loaned to underprivileged countries.
As for picking up odd little dresses for $13, that is a luxury you can’t afford, at least in my opinion. You need to look glamorous every minute.
|HGB in 1965.|
Give big parties with one or two friends but don’t B.Y.O.L. anybody. Who needs a party that isn’t free?
Hand lotion and shampoos are pretty much alike. Buy big cheap bottles.
Don’t undertip. This little economy is unworthy of you.
Don’t try to have too many clothes. Buy important things. A girl can have enough blouses and skirts to outfit the WAC and never have anything to wear.
The larger your collection of junk jewelry, probably the worse dressed you are! Take the pledge. Your saving the first three months should net you an important piece of costume jewelry.
Wear old clothes or no clothes at home alone.
Wear everything you buy. No hoarding.
Let me know if you read HGB’s book or what you think of her tips on money!