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What I Learned From A Pair of Socks

December 27, 2010 · 48 comments

in Personal Finance

Another holiday has come and gone. I cannot believe how quickly this holiday season seemed to pass this year. (Even though it seemed to have started just after Halloween…)

On Christmas Eve, my husband gave me my presents, one of which was a beautiful necklace/earrings set.  I never buy  myself jewelry, so if I don’t get it as a gift, I just don’t have any.  Plus, I have a real problem with metal allergies, so I the jewelry I do wear wear is usually on the expensive side.

Anyway, my husband also gave me a new pair of Winter/Christmas socks, as he noticed the pair I had worn the day previously had looked a little worn.  I liked the looks of the socks, but didn’t really think much about them.

Later in the afternoon, I got ready to go out to visit family for Christmas Eve, and I put my new socks on.  Can I even describe how great they felt?  I have never worn a more comfortable pair of socks in my life.  I couldn’t believe how happy they made me.  My feet are normally always cold, but not in these wonderful, magical socks.  My feet felt great all night long.  In shoes, out of shoes, it didn’t matter.   My feet were the perfect temperature!

On Christmas morning, I remembered that my husband had bought me 2 pairs of socks.  I ran and grabbed pair number two and they were just as wonderful as the first pair!  What an unexpectedly wonderful gift.

So what is the lesson in all of this, and why should you care about my socks?   Well, I it is a reminder that often times, it makes sense to spend a little extra money even on the small things in life.   When it came to buying socks in the past, I went for the ones on sale.  I didn’t really think about comfort, as I figured all socks felt the same.  (Except dress socks that have elastic that fails after 2 wearings and end up falling down to your ankles before you leave the house.)  I focused more on saving a little extra money and never really thought about how important good socks really are.  I just never gave more expensive socks a chance, and I have been missing out all these years!  Not to mention I am sure these socks will last way longer than the thinner, less expensive socks I have bought in the past.  I thought that I was practicing frugal living by buying less expensive socks!  However, quality matters in all aspects of life, and it is probably cheaper in the long run to purchase the more expensive, higher quality item much of the time anyway.

Have you ever learned a lesson from a sock?

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

First Gen American December 27, 2010 at 7:27 am

Quality does matter. I hate socks that get holes in them after only a couple of wearings. Smart Wool socks seem to last forever.

I have jewelry allergies too and I have switched to cheap necklaces from yard sales. For Some reason my neck isn’t as sensitive as my ears and fingers.

I got socks too. My stocking was filled with them.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Earrings are the worst for me. I wear them only as long as I have to, then I take them out as soon as possible. Necklaces don’t bother me nearly as much.

Nice socks are the best!

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Kathy December 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Kris, I actually learned the same lesson from shoes. Thanks for the story.

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Nicole December 27, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Ha! I have definitely internalized this lesson with shoes. I have zero problem dropping $100-$200 on a comfy pair of professional shoes (once every 2 years or so).

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Nicole, there is nothing worse than an uncomfortable pair of work shoes, so you have made a very wise purchase! Although I can’t say I ever spent that much on shoes, but I haven’t needed ‘dress shoes’ in about 100 years.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I just bought a pair of fuzzy shoes that are slip ons that I love too. I actually bought a pair for my daughter for Christmas and loved them so much I bought some for myself tonight. (I am applying the sock lesson to shoes too!) Do you have a favorite pair?

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The Grouch December 27, 2010 at 8:03 am

The cheapest is not always the best deal. I see this all the time with home improvement contractors and software/hardware vendors. If they won’t back up their work and fix what isn’t 100% right, I don’t want to do business with them.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm

It is so hard to know what to do when it comes to contractors. We need our driveway re-paved, and one guy said ‘I will only do it if I don’t have to pull a permit.’ What? I stayed away from him. It is hard to be super familiar with every area of life to know when you are getting a fair deal or not. I am now a sock expert, so at least I have that….

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Moneycone December 27, 2010 at 8:25 am

Socks are always appreciated – my feet are always cold during winter! Either that or I’m going to crank up heating bills!

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm

In that case, even super-expensive socks are worth it!

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Nicole December 27, 2010 at 8:33 am

I personally haven’t. DH was really into fancy socks for a while (he spent a lot of money trying out different brands before settling on tuxedo socks from Jos A. Banks), but has since decided that the ones he gets at Target are just as good, though he has to get them from the women’s section.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

This family of 5 goes through socks so quickly. I need to find some magical athletic socks for the kids. I was just looking at my son’s socks after he came home from basketball and I see the heel is wearing through already, and they are pretty new.

Did your husband like fancy but good looking socks or fancy/comfortable?

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Nicole December 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

He likes thin socks that don’t wear out… other than that I don’t know.

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DoNotWait December 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

I love getting socks as I don’t buy them often… I tend to have the “what we don’t see is not as important” theory. But the truth is it does matter. And socks bought by the spouse are always higher quality ones and so, more comfortable ones also.

One thing I like also about getting gifts that I wear (clothes, socks, jewels, etc.) is that every time I put them on I think about the person who gave it to me. Even a pair of socks brings good thoughts.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm

You are so right DNW! I do think of my husband when I put them on. If you think about it, socks are something we should definitely spend money on as our feet take so much abuse. Feet need to be warm and cushioned. Not to mention how insane a hole in a sock can make me.

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Get Happy Life December 27, 2010 at 11:24 am

The post seemed silly to me, at first, by glancing at the title.
But now when I read it whole, I understand what was your point.

Personally, I have never learned a lesson from a sock.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I can say that I have learned a lesson from a sock now! I recognize the title was somewhat silly. But I didn’t want to make it the generic ‘small things can make you happy…’

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krantcents December 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Good post! I think the message is one should appreciate the simpler things in life. I always say the most important things in life are free! They are the memories that make us feel good. I am working on accumulating more good memories. The money seems to follow when i am happy!

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Krantcents – I think that happiness can be contagious (as can anger…and yawns!). It is amazing how just basic things can change your disposition. I know if I am really crabby, I really need to get out and get some exercise and that makes everything better.

You are right, some of the best things are definitely free.

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retirebyforty December 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I like nice socks too and avoid the cheapest ones on sale these days. The quality is just too crappy. I got noise canceling head phones for Christmas!! Yay, now the train commute is much more tolerable.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:34 pm

RB40- I was wondering if you would get those noise-cancelling earphones or not! You will find your commute much more enjoyable now!

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics December 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I like nice socks. I had a pair that I loved, now worn out. I am willing to spend the money but I have not found a comfortable pair. My feet is always cold. What is the name/brand of the socks? They sound very nice, I would love to try them.

Nice post, we don’t think much about the small items like socks, but spending a little more money on them might give us more pleasure than spending a whole lot of something else that we use very rarely.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Suba, I wish I knew the brand of socks, but I ripped the little paper wrapper off and threw it away. All I know is that my husband got them at Kohl’s.

I grin whenever I put them on! 🙂

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Aloysa December 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Nice post. Sometimes when our life gets busy and hectic we forget to appreciate simple little things. And these simple little things can, in fact, teach us the most important lessons of all.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Aloysa – you are so right. It is the small things I tend to enjoy the most and learn the most from!

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Crystal @ BFS December 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Mr. BFS got me a cashmere cardigan and a cashmere pullover…I didn’t know they made tops that soft! It’s like wearing the nicest microfiber blanket all day long. 🙂 Sometimes “the good things in life” are totally worth it, lol.

What brand of socks are these?

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Cashmere is a wonderful thing. If only it was washable…

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N.W.Journey December 27, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Definitely a lesson I’ve learned as well – in regards to socks and other items (like mayonnaise). Sometimes the extra expense is actually worth it. I am glad you received that unexpected pleasure, but also tickled that your husband received so much gratitude for such a little gift.

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I think my husband finds it funny that I am absolutely gushing about some socks (3 pairs!) whereas I am sure he put more thought (and more money) into the jewelry! He is just happy I am happy though.

I can only tolerate Miracle Whip, and I would spend any amount to buy it!

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Khaleef @ KNS Financial December 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I haven’t learned anything from socks – except that I need to find a warmer pair! However, I have learned the same lesson from other things in life. We have to consider value and not just price, when we purchase items!

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Khaleef, once you have that warmer pair, you will be happy and writing a post about them, I just know it. It is so true, even the smallest things in life can have a lot of value!

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Squirrelers December 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Kris, what’s funny to me is that you wrote a post about socks and quality, and I was actually thinking of the same thing! What are the odds of that?

Now, for me it wasn’t in the context of a post, but rather in my own purchasing decision. I was actually looking for socks for myself, and saw some on sale at a really good price. I then thought about how some better ones that I own have lasted quite a while, while less expensive ones wore out much earlier.

What did I do? Well, I didn’t do anything, meaning I didn’t make the purchase…the ultimate frugal move:) But really, when I do buy, I’ll go for quality. Sometimes it pays…even with socks!

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Buck December 27, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Cute story with a great lesson! 🙂 Funny your story reminded me of the Mrs. and her favorite, comfortable warm fuzzy socks. They are incredibly soft as I often give her foot rubs, lucky her. Not to take away from your lesson, but these socks were on sale! I agree totally about spending a little more on quality. Just got lucky this time around. 🙂

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

My feet also love a foot rub while in these socks. (My husband is very nice when it comes to foot rubs- they are so appreciated!) Your wife will love you forever if you keep her feet happy! (Good job on the good price by the way.)

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Money Reasons December 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I feel the same way about tools.

I use to buy cheap screwdrivers, but the phillips heads would always get stripped…

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Kris December 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Oh my gosh, I cannot stand when the screwdriver/screws get stripped. I have found that the screwdriver works much better if it fits really well. (Something most people probably learned way before I ever did.)

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Carrie December 28, 2010 at 1:37 am

I have found that there are quite a few things that it’s worth it to spend extra on for better quality. I’m sure in the long run it probably works out cheaper if a better-made item lasts much longer. Over 10 years ago I invested $350 in a really good quality winter coat with a zip-out liner. This coat has served me well for many years. It’s the warmest coat I have ever owned. It’s been washed many times, but does not look worn at all. I anticipate I will be wearing it for many more years. I have to admit though, I still wear cheap socks 🙂

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Vitaeus December 28, 2010 at 3:37 am

heh, I find the idea that you enjoyed the socks so much and he spent waaay more on teh rock/metal that you probably haven’t won’t wear for months. Glad he got you comfy socks

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Kris December 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Vitaeus – I am glad it doesn’t bother my husband. He actually kind of laughed when he saw how happy I was once I put the socks on.

I did wear the jewelry on Christmas Eve though!

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Jesse December 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm

You have inspired me! I’m going to get a couple pairs of really nice socks. My feet have areal temp problem and I am always uncomfortable. I want to experience life without cold feet! 🙂 Thanks

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Deidre @ TransFormX December 29, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Yes I am so with you on this one Kris! Fluffy socks are the BEST on a cold winter day 🙂 I have a pair of woolen, fluffy socks that I put away and could not find for ages. Recently I moved into a new apartment and found them just in time for the freezing temperatures. It’s hard to describe just how wonderful they feel on my feet!

How wonderful for you that your Husband found the socks and knew that you would love them so much! Very nurturing of him to do so!

Fellow Fluffy Garment Fan,
Deidre

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Heather January 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I learned that not wearing cotton socks to exercise makes my feet happy. I bought some bamboo socks, and they are amazing! All I can say is try it (if you’re an exerciser, or in any other situation where your feet get hot inside shoes) and you will be a convert.

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Kris January 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Heather, I have never heard of bamboo socks. Where do you get them? I am now devoted to wearing only the comfiest socks, so I will track some down!

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Heather January 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I bought mine at a sporting goods store. They’re in the section with the running (and other) shoes. I have started to see pairs here and there in regular-looking socks, but I don’t remember where I saw them. (I haven’t bought any.)

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