Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Am I Loosing My Frugal Way.....?

If my credit card company takes a close look at my purchases over the past two weeks, they may put out a fraud alert.  Why?  Let's just say I've done my fair share of helping restore the American, consumer driven, economy.

Image Credit: www.sxc.hu - free image 
(note, I look nothing like this....no high heels, no mini skirt.  It was the only free image of a women shopping I could find)

First it was shoes for the kids.  My 1.5 year old daughter was in need of a new pair of shoes.  The trip to the second hand store did not yield any 6W shoes.  That is the one draw back of second hand stores, you can never guarantee they'll have what you need in stock.  But they do stock lots of great impulse buys.  Beware.  The next attempt was at Target.  I did make a purchase, a somewhat hesitant one because the only shoes in her size were tennis shoes.  And upon getting them home I discovered they flashed a blue light when the heel hit the floor.  At $20 they weren't that great of a buy, and I wasn't thrilled.  Delighted may have described my mood when I discovered they didn't even fit her feet.  Back they went, and off we went to the "high-end" kids shoe store at Hilldale.

Yes, I know many of my loyal readers will be shocked that I returned after my posts from last fall.  But, that was directed at the adult section of the store.  The kids side is expensive, but the service is good and the shoes are nice quality.  The trip went amazingly well.  After measuring both kids feet, I learned that they both still fit into the current shoes they had.  And both were thrift store finds.  So I bought the next size up for both, finding one for him and one for her, on sale.   We are set for Spring and Summer! Add in a $5 off coupon and the $50 credit for having filled my loyal shopper card, and this was on track to be my least expensive trip to this store ever.  And then I saw the rain boots.  My $50 credit wouldn't be used up, I'd have a credit to carry...and to remember.  So I decided to take a pair of red size 9 rain boots.  They are large enough to get my son through the 2012 Spring, Summer and Fall, and they are durable enough to be worn by my daughter when she is older. Knowing that Target will have classic "his", aka fireman, and "her", aka butterfly, rain boots I decided that $35 (less the partial credit) was not too much to pay.  In the pile they went.  Up until now I was still frugal, but as I checked out I saw kids snow shoes.  When the clerk said they were mine with 20% off, I took those as well.  Both kids should be able to get 2 winters out of them.  Surviving a Wisconsin winter is all about finding a way to enjoy a Wisconsin winter.

In the end I paid $90 for four pairs of shoes, two of which will be able to be worn by my younger child.  The  total before discounts would have been $145.  I saved money, but didn't really feel that frugal.  When I told my husband he was puzzled.  He thought $90 for four pairs of good kids shoes was "decent" price to pay.  Plus, the shopping trip was easy, fast, and fun.  Something that has to be factored into our purchases.

The purchase that may have put me over the top, leaving frugal land, may be my new cell phone.  My ancient model was starting to give me trouble.  I could hear the people I called, but they could not hear me.  Given that I use my phone for my legal practice, that is not a good thing.  The problems were sporadic.  But I know that once it starts to drip, it will soon pour.  Not wanting to buy a phone in a crisis, I started gathering info.  I called my current plan, learned my contract had expired and that I could go anywhere.  In the end I stayed, got a plan with data service, and bought a 3G phone.  I'm giddy about my new toy.  I didn't get the 1 cent version.  I just didn't want to go cheap. I wanted something that I could use.  Something that made sense. And I found it.  Sure, it has a $100 rebate, but even with the rebate it cost me $180 -- technically it cost my legal practice that amount, so it is deductible.  But still, those who know me will be shocked.

So that is why I feel a little off.  It has happened in the past, and is usually followed up by periods of even more extreme frugality.  What's the point to this lengthy story of my spending habits?  You can be a frugal person without always having to be frugal.

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