I Broke the Compact

My adorable niece turned eight last week, and one of the gifts we sent her was BRAND NEW CLOTHES! Definitely not Compact-approved, so I’m coming clean here.

Do I regret it? No way. She’s wearing one of the tops in this photo, she liked it and wanted to wear it on her birthday while she opened up the rest of her gifts.

This is the first new clothing I’ve bought in 16 months, but I don’t feel bad about it. I haven’t bought anything for myself, but I’m going to stick by my Compact-lite philosophy and not beat myself up if I want to buy something new once in awhile, especially as a gift for someone I love.

I will say, though, that I didn’t intentionally set out to buy her new clothes. I was looking for some pajamas for her to wear at her birthday sleepover, and I couldn’t find any and thought maybe the tops would work as pajamas. But then I just decided I wanted to buy them anyway, even though she probably wouldn’t wear them as pajamas. Children’s pj’s are in the general Compact exceptions list, I guess because they’d be too hard to find in good used condition for growing kids, and they’re almost like underwear.

She really loves green these days (see the highlights in her hair? Her mom put them in for her birthday gift) and so I wanted to find something green for her. And I’m actually really happy that I found this top, she looks so cute in it.

So I’m ‘fessing up about my recent non-Compact purchase. I don’t feel guilty about it and I don’t regret it. I’m just reporting the event. Just the facts, Jack.

Click here to see a cute photo of my niece wearing her Compact-y Christmas gift. What are your favorite Compact-y gifts for kids? Please leave your ideas in the Comments section.


  1. Anonymous says

    I agree with Kevin, and I'm glad you aren't beating yourself up over it. You do so well generally, an occasional new purchase is perfectly acceptable! No ideas for compact-y kids gifts, I have 2 little steps (grandkids) and generally I organise their mum to purchase their gifts.

  2. Hiptobeme says

    I love the top, so cute. Slightly off topic, but related in the not- beating-oneself-up over occasional spending vein, I was thinking about what you said about "experiential" purchases. If I have this theory correct, and it only recently dawned on me, than I have absolutely no reason to feel bad about spending a few bucks on a coffee date with a friend once in a while. That is an experience! Thanks for helping me re-frame my thoughts about frugality vs. self denial. I love a fresh perspective on the subject.

  3. Marie-Josée says

    She looks adorable and isn't it great that she really appreciated your gift?

    The older I get, the more convinced I am that following one's heart is always the right choice. I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable with all or nothing, rigid mindsets. I understand commitments, such as not buying anything new for one year to observe the Compact, for example, but to impose that on oneself forever, and to feel anguish over the constaints imposed by that lifestyle, just has a feeling of fanatisism to me. Angela, just to be clear, my intention is not to insinuate this is the case for you, I'm just voicing an opinion about rigidity in general.

    I'm really glad you followed your heart!

  4. Non Consumer Girl says

    Your niece looks great in the top.
    Hope she had a great sleepover party.

    My daughter ( Barbie Girl) had hers last night, with 8 little friends. It was great fun, the girls didn't want to go home, and kept asking if they could stay…I'll happily host one again!
    So I'm just peeking at your blog ( or is it procrastinating?) from picking up gift wrap, taking down decorations and bursting twenty or so balloons.

  5. Angela says

    Thanks for all your comments! I am definitely not interested in beating myself up over an occasional purchase, even if new. And especially not as a gift. But it has been fun to think of gifts that are handmade and experiential, and people seem to really appreciate them. It's still what I intend to do most of the time. I'm putting together a fabulous "Compact-approved" gift for this very niece for Christmas already.

    Sandy- Definitely, coffee out with a friend is an experience! And it sure isn't clutter that's getting thrown into a closet or a landfill. Occasional treats are what make things treats, no?

    Marie-Josee- Indeed, down with fanaticism in all things! Over the weekend I heard an interview with Moby, the musician who's been vegan for over 20 years. He said he had come to realize that his rigid ideas and judgmental attitudes had only served to alienate people from the cause, and so he was looking at things in a different way.

    NC Girl- That's funny, believe it or not, according to her mom, my niece "didn't like it." She said she liked getting her sleep.

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