Like most young people, my parents gladly paid for my food, housing, transportation, and all of my recreational activities, but there were some things that I needed to pay for with “my own money” (ie. gift cards and money from holidays). As an eclectic adult, I will gladly admit to being an eclectic young person. Someday, when Dan and I have a house, he’s going to have to reign me in from buying a bunch of really different things that don’t fit together at all. My tastes didn’t always make sense, but when I wanted some weird thing, I wanted it bad. Due to my obsessive personality, once I found something I wanted, I would save and think about it nonstop until I got it. My parents learned this lesson the hard way when they told me at age three that I could get a dog when I was ten…so I approached them on my tenth birthday asking where my dog was…
I thought it might be fun to gather a list of all of the things young Renata spent her money on. Here’s Renata’s antique roadshow!
Warner Bros Pocketwatch
This is possibly one of the most random purchases I’ve ever made, but young Renata was determined that I have it. I really liked pocket watches as a kid (possibly because of the fact that I helped my dad find one that was really special to him when he was younger), and the idea of having one with such an unusual twist made me really excited. I don’t even think I was ever a huge fan of the Bugs Bunny cartoons, I just liked the watch. Also, the Warner Bros store was pretty legit. Notice, I didn’t actually carry this pocketwatch around with me to tell the time. In fact, it has always lived in a drawer of my jewelry box, where I securely replaced it after I took this photo.
Stained Glass Lamp
While my parents were doing some redecorating, we spent our time around a lot of different homegoods stores. One of the places we went to was a local lamp store, where I learned that I am a sucker for stained glass. They had a bunch of small stained glass lamps for sale, and I fell in love with them. I saved up my money until I could return to the store and choose my lamp. This lamp has served as my nightlight for many years and even came with me to college. It will always have a place in my heart as one of the first things that I really saved up for.
While out at a jeweler with my mom, I happened upon this beautiful pearl necklace with all different color pearls. As someone who has always loved all the colors of the rainbow, I was immediately obsessed. As it turns out, the price of both the necklace and the matching bracelet were affordable, even for a young person. I haven’t worn this necklace in years, but I used to get a lot of compliments every time I did wear it.
Pink Leopard Skirt
Okay, so this was a purchase that I made in high school, but it is still one that I remember saving forever for. I’ve been a fan of leopard print for as long as I can remember, so I probably would’ve been obsessed with this skirt even if I found it when I was younger. This skirt spoke to my soul. I donated it within the last year, though, so I spent hours digging online to try and find a picture. Don’t let anyone tell you I don’t do research for my posts!
Random Little Things
I like trinkets. It is one of the things that has made older women adore me and filled up all of the shelves in my room. As previously mentioned, I bought a Pokemon bookmark because I wanted the Pikachu charm on the tassel. I used to collect little things like that and keep them all together in a small box or a bag and keep them with me like good luck charms. I also had some colorful dolphin charms from the aquarium, a small blue dove, and a small Hello Kitty figurine dressed like a shrimp…just to name a few.
I am truly a collector at heart. When I have one of something and I find out that it’s a collectible, I have to have them all. Being a collector with an obsessive personality is a dangerous game because all of your mental energy is focused on finishing your collection until you have every piece. Hell, you want some dangerous energy? Add a propensity for gambling on top of that. Ever tried to complete a collection of mystery items? It is both my dream and my nightmare. And that, my friends, is how you get a room cluttered with a bunch of things you don’t need! While some of these might be specific to me, I’m sure that there are plenty of 90s kids who remember collecting them, too!
Claire’s Mini Jewelry Boxes
The store Claire’s used to give away mini jewelry boxes with every purchase. While I didn’t necessarily save up to buy these, I still returned to Claire’s every time that a new one came out to round out my collection. If you aren’t familiar with these little boxes, then let me tell you, there were a lot of them by the time they stopped making them. I tried to google how many there were, but I couldn’t find the information anywhere, which seems like a crime against 90s kids everywhere.
Twilight Certified Jewelry
I was pretty obsessed with Twilight in middle school. I was the first one in my school to read it, so I was the one who convinced all of our friends to get onboard with the franchise (AND MIDNIGHT SUN IS COMING OUT THIS SUMMER *squeals in chubby 7th grader*). When they announced that jewelry mentioned in the books was going on sale, there was no way I was going to let this opportunity pass me by. I bought both Bella’s bracelet and engagement ring without a second thought because #priorities.
Jewel Sticker Stories
Speaking of books, does anyone else remember these storybooks that came with the jewel stickers? I loved collecting these as a kid! I don’t remember if I even used the stickers in the book like I was supposed to or if I just collected them. They were all so pretty. I don’t think I have any of these books lying around anywhere, or at least I couldn’t find any of them in my house. Let me tell you, figuring out what these books were called just by googling random things that I remembered about them was no easy task.
I actually have a rather large collection of egg nesting dolls that I still add to on occasion. I got my first egg nesting doll while my family was in Belgium when I was seven, and I’ve been growing the collection ever since. When I was younger, if I ever went anywhere that had nesting dolls, I had to get one. I even painted my own set of nesting dolls when we had an art teacher coming to the house. Years ago, there was a website that specifically sold nesting dolls from all different sellers. This is where I got a lot of different pieces for my collection, including some really interesting ones! I’m sure that I saved up for plenty of them, but I distinctly remember adding the pictured nesting doll to my collection. This gem was hand carved. Isn’t it gorgeous? And now I’m…looking up nesting dolls on Etsy. Hey, that gas money has to go somewhere while I’m not commuting to work and using copious amounts of gas!
Ty Stuffed Animals
I’m sure that you’ve heard of Beanie Babies, but the Ty company makes so many more types of stuffed animals (and people). And your buffalo-sauce-loving collector here just had to have them all. Beanie Kids, Beanie Boppers, Pluffies, Punkies, I collected them all. I would look on their website and figure out when new ones were coming out, then I would find some way to get to the Hallmark store on that day. I was obsessed. Oh! Also, fun fact: you know how people always said to leave the Ty tag on your Beanie Babies to keep them in good condition so that they would be worth more money? Yeah, that made them less cuddly, so I always removed the tags. I may not be getting a fortune for my massive Ty collection, but at least I got a lot of love and cuddles out of them…right?
So that was what young Renata spent her money on! Coincidentally, that is also what is taking up all of the space in my room and always has! Weird how that happens.
What did you collect or save up for as a kid? Do you still have them now?
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/