>I am ridiculously frugal at times. When I was in junior high - we’re talking late ‘80s - I decided that jeans should cost no more than $20. (The big trend back then was Z. Cavaricci’s, which were running a criminal $78 as pair and horrified me.) In my heart of hearts, I still believe that jeans should cost no more than $20, although I am prepared to pay up to $35 without bitching too much.

My desire to save money, however, has often led to situations that wind up costing me more in the end. For example, I didn’t want to spend a lot on my wedding dress when I got married over five years ago. While I know that my wedding special and it should be the happiest day of my life and all that shit, in theory, I will only wear my wedding dress once. Why would I spend hundreds of dollars (or worse, thousands) on a dress that I’ll wear once when I don’t even want to spend $20 on a pair of jeans that I wear zillions of times? I decided to buy my wedding dress eBay. I found one that I liked that came with a veil and got both for about $100, including shipping. The problem was that the dress was a size 16 - a real size 16, not a wedding dress size 16, which if you’ve ever shopped for wedding dresses, you will know if often a real size 8. I hate the bridal industry for so many reasons. I was about a size 6 or 8 and short, so I usually wear petites to compensate for my lack of a torso. As you might imagine, the dress was, uh, rather large on me. Having it taken in would be pointless it was so huge. So I put it back up on eBay, minus the veil, which I kept and used. The dress resold for maybe $50 to a very nice buyer who turned out to be a drag queen, which I found out when I went to her website and saw some unsettling pictures. (This was no RuPaul.) I would not have paid $50 for the veil I got with the dress (although I did like it and used it), so now I lost money and realized that I have the same taste as homely drag queens.

Anyway, my bubbe was increasingly mortified that her oldest grandchild was buying used schmattes on the internet for her wedding, and decided she’d buy a dress for me. Being an incompetent bride, I didn’t realize that shopping for your dress is a huge mother-daughter bonding event among normal women, so I went with my bubbe and sister while my mom was at work. (I still feel bad about that.) At the Jessica McClintock store in Woodfield Mall in Schaumberg, IL, I found a dress I liked and that bubbe adored. It cost $385, which was much more than the $250 I thought was a reasonable amount for a fancy dress, but I bought it anyway. The idea of spending almost $500 (after taxes and a minor alteration) on a dress that I would wear once continued to annoy me long after the wedding, so when our first anniversary rolled around, I decided that I would wear it out to dinner. My husband donned his tux, which he insisted on buying because he is too snobby to rent one, although I told him not to waste money on buying it. (Sure enough, it no longer fits him now that he lost 40 lbs. Harumph.) Now every year we dress up in our wedding finery, although my husband's pants look like fly fishing pants and are held on by suspenders and he is swimming in his coat, and go out to dinner. My dress is filthy from tromping around on the subway and buses. But it feels like I got my money’s worth, so I am happy.