Skip to main content

$Monday: Boots Theory

Fans of author Terry Pratchett understand the importance of investing in good footwear. Pictured here are my husband's work boots and some of my "work boots" (for the office, heh). In both categories are shoes that are over 15 years old.

In Terry Pratchett's 1993 novel Men at Arms, one of the characters realizes:

The reason that the rich were so rich...was because they managed to spend less money. 

He goes on to explain, "Take boots, for example. ...A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. ...But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet."

This is yet another illustration of the idea that sometimes it's expensive to be poor. The other side of that coin is that sometimes you can spend your way out of poverty by investing carefully. More specifically, by shoe shopping! What fun.

Of course, there are people who truly don't have the choice to throw down hundreds of bucks on a pair of boots or shoes at any given moment. That stinks and isn't fair. Fortunately, being broke is not an incurable condition. And the truth is that there are a lot of people who do have the opportunity to save up or use a flush moment to spring for a nice set of hoof covers, but fear holds them back--the fear of being judged for making an "irresponsible" purchase, perhaps one they don't "deserve," or the fear of buying something made from the skin of a living creature. Yeah, it can seem deceptively cruel. But what's truly cruel are the tragic misunderstandings that dig us deeper into financial trouble, ill health, and environmental degradation.

I know people who avoid buying leather to avoid harm to animals. Sadly, I don't think it works that way. There are dire environmental consequences to mass-producing junky plastic things, which cause the mass suffering and death of animals, while the leather used to make shoes is almost always a byproduct of the beef and dairy industries--in other words, made from a material that wasn't produced for the purpose of making shoes (rather, for the purpose of feeding the insatiable maw of the tragically destructive keto craze) and would otherwise go to waste. Therefore, I have very smart vegan friends who prefer to purchase shoes and bags and other accessories that are made of durable leather.

Leather and other high-quality materials can be repaired, extending the life of an item even further. My husband and I both use shoe repair services to maintain and fix up our leather footwear every once in a while. As a karmic bonus, using these services supports local tradespeople and the small business economy without the consumption of more junk.

Good shoes keep your feet good, too. Investing in the purchase and maintenance of good shoes is a lot easier, less painful, less expensive, and more beneficial in every possible way than finding yourself in need of fixing your feet (and ankles and knees and back and neck, etc.) after years of wearing junky shoes.

I've come to accept that there really is no such thing as ethical consumerism apart from reduced consumerism. We have to buy less stuff, less often, period. Filling ourselves and our homes and our closets with near-future-trash in an effort to save money or in a misguided attempt to save the animals is futile. The sooner each person can find a way to quit doing that, the better.

The great thing about Boots Theory is that over time, we get to end up with nicer things--and stronger bodies--for less money.

It's impossible to pull yourself up by the bootstraps if you don't have any sturdy bootstraps. So get 'em as soon as possible. Blow a stack of cash on some nice shoes that feel as good as they look! It's time-tested financial advice.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be:
You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")  35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't waste time o…

Happy Spring Awakening of the Rusalki!

The water spirits demand hard-boiled eggs.


According to MagPie's Corner on Facebook, the ancient Slavic holiday week known as "first Rusalii," when the rusalki first awaken in the rivers and streams, is happening now. Apparently, they wake up hangry for bread and hard-boiled eggs.


My family will be baking bread and boiling and decorating eggs, you know, just in case. We do live very close to a river. And traditions are important.

So happy First Rusalii to you! Happy Good Friday! Happy Easter weekend! Happy spring, no matter what or how you celebrate. Where I live, Easter is going to be the first warm, beautiful day we've had in a long time, with many warm days to follow--the perfect weather for a spring awakening.

P.S. Matka Danu Miklagarth, epic historical thriller featuring rusalki-impersonating pirates, is nearly 170,000 words long. If this book ever gets printed, it could be used as a weight to walk across the bottom of a river for real.

The Tiny Tweens

Girls really do grow up faster than they used to! My baby has just started third grade. Here she is looking like a tiny tween. Some of the girls in her class are bigger, taller, and older looking than she is. This is the new reality of girls in elementary school.

My daughter has given away nearly all of her toys and set up a neat and tidy homework desk stocked with notebooks and pens. She's more interested in Minecraft than My Little Pony now, but she still prefers to run around and play with other kids outside than to sit with a device.

Sometimes people ask me if I'm sad that my child is growing up so quickly. So far, not really. She was a very cute baby, but every year older is easier and more fun for me! We haven't yet hit peak enjoy-it-while-it-lasts.

She gets herself ready for the day. She can help with more chores. She sleeps in until about 7:00 a.m. (It used to be 5:00.) She still wants me to read to her at bedtime, but now it's horror chapter books rather than…

My Alpha

It turns out my husband is a fantastic alpha reader. Who knew? We've been married for 13 years and have known each other for 21. And last weekend was the first time I ever had him alpha read for me. Turns out he's the best creative partner I could ever hope for and that he still has the ability to surprise me with hidden talents and acts of love.

My husband is not really a fiction reader. He probably hasn't read a novel since high school AP lit class. It's not that he doesn't love a good story, it's that he doesn't like sitting still long enough to read a book or watch a movie. He's a very active and extroverted man, and he'd rather have a conversation or a real-life adventure than read a book. He's kind of like Gaston if Gaston weren't an asshole.

So until now, I haven't wanted to bother him with requests to read my writing, because reading novels isn't his jam, and also because I've always harbored guilt at how much time I spen…

Word Count Flood

What the meow?

Matka Danu Miklagarth is busting its banks. It's now almost 175,000 words long, and writing it feels like having a weird dream that I can only partly control. I'm not sure I want it to end, but I also know it needs to end soon.

I'm going to be late for work.

I need to have this thing beta read and revised before summer begins, because I don't want to get lost in the fall slush piles.

I also declared on this site that I was "Racing Rammstein" and vowed not to buy the new album until I finished the manuscript. I thought I had plllllenty of time. Ha! My books always run longer than I thought they would.

My husband agreed to be my alpha reader, but now that I mentioned I was writing a sex scene between a mentally unstable serial killer and a man who was recently castrated, he's not so sure. Hmmm, I might have to skip to a group of (all-female) beta readers.

Come on, it's just for historical accuracy.

Gretchen (my cat) doesn't mind me ta…

The Golden Moments

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. -George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) 

The only time this is not generally true for me is in the fall. This is the golden moment when I feel most alive, aware, and present with everyone and everything around me. This is when my daughter and I begin most days with a walk in the golden hour of the morning, in this most golden season of the year.

It's also that magical time when my little golden child is still excited about school, from our morning walks to seeing her friends at recess to the Scholastic Book Fair to riding the bus home with more friends. She has already earned another "Golden Warrior of the Week" award (for exceptionally helpful behavior) and received an excellent, glowing report at the first parent-teacher conference of the year.

I've extended my "fallow period" from working on my novel, and I'…