I’ve long prided myself in not being a high-maintenance girl. I felt that Seattle fit me well in that regard. I’m not one to care what brand my handbag is or whether it’s last year’s model. I’m happy to pay for quality, if it’s something I love, like my J.Crew pencil skirt and sleek Banana Republic LBD, both of which fit me perfectly. I also have a classic Michael Kors trenchcoat I bought almost six years ago. It’s still my go-to.

My black trench when my sister was pregnant with my niece, who is now 5.
My black trench when my sister was pregnant with my niece, who is now 5.

So I’m willing to spend when it matters, but if simple will do, I’ll go that route. Take my apartment in New York, for example. I currently have a tiny room. It’s 80 square feet and I only pay $850 for it. That is a freaking steal in Midtown. Not shelling out for rent every month meant I had cash leftover to go to shows, travel and take fun classes. Similarly, I found a gym deal: $99 for six months. It’s a no-frills gym, but the treadmill there works as well as one anywhere else.
Or so I thought.

My friend belongs to the swanky Equinox fitness club. Perhaps you’ve read about Equinox in every American fitness magazine. It’s the gym with the amazing class schedule and amenities galore. So, when Jen offered me a one-week trial pass, I couldn’t hide my glee and poured over the class schedule before she even gave me the pass. I took my first class today: Abs, Back and Stretch. We worked hard with weighted balls, then had a nice long stretch period. After class, I hopped on a treadmill to do a little running and let me tell you, the Equinox treadmill experience is so much more luxe than the Mid City gym treadmill experience. There are TVs to look at, multiple training options to choose from and eucalyptus-scented towels to wipe the sweat away.

My body was so tired from the class, so I cut my run short and headed to the locker room, which was stocked with Keihl’s products and fancy hair tools. I felt like I was in a spa and I didn’t want to leave, but my body was tired and hungry, so I needed to.
There’s a Whole Foods in Time-Warner Center, so I stopped in for the hot food bar and a couple other things on my list. As I walked home with my Whole Foods bag, I felt like a upper crest New Yorker. Yeah, I workout at Equinox and shop at Whole Foods. I returned to my 80-square-foot room and stuffed my sweaty workout clothes into my laundry bag. I figure I have enough regular clothes to get me through my next week, but not enough workout clothes. That means I need to go to the laundromat again before I move into my fancy new building with in-building laundry. The thought of hauling my heavy bag down the street and sitting on plastic chairs for two hours sounded depressing to me. Maybe I could just send it out one last time? I sighed. I’ve been trying not to waste money since the fancy new building is so expensive — and the only reason I can afford it is that my room is a converted, which means one wall doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling.
Still, the fact that I’m doubling my rent is giving me some anxiety. It gives me great comfort to have a cushion of savings and contribute to my retirement funds. I remember having to call my parents, asking for cash a couple times in my early 20s. I never want to have to do that again. It’s not a good feeling, so I learned to make better financial choices and not spend every penny I earn. I’m telling myself this apartment will be fine because it’s only a six-month commitment, so if it feels like I’m stretching too much, I can get out and move home with my parents.

But for now, this non-fancy girl who would always choose a cheeseburger over a steak, is going to live it up at the pricey gym and in the luxe apartment building.

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