There I was, list in hand for a final scan, making sure nothing was skipped. Ahead of me a women, about my age, piled several pairs of clearance kids shoes onto the conveyor belt. The following exchange pulled my attention away from list and into her world:
Clerk: Wow, these are some great buys, these are so cheap!
Shopper: Yeah, I know. And my kids tear up shoes, so this is great.
Clerk: And they'll outgrow 'em before your know it.
Shopper: Tell me about it!
A multitude of thoughts leaped to the front of my brain, but I withheld interjection into their conversation. Save it for a blog post I told myself. And here I am. Standing in my kitchen (at my make-shift standing desk), eating a homemade cheese quesadilla with guacamole, waiting for responses to posts on Facebook and tweets on Twitter seeking recipe suggestions for about 1.5 cups of black raspberries the kids and I picked from our backyard tonight ( a great crop for us!). As the kids drift off to sleep and my husband is working late to tend to the circuit boards of clients (ah, the life of dual entrepreneur home), I will leave you with my frugal thoughts on kids shoes.
- Buy quality, they will last long enough for your kids to outgrow the shoes, and have life left for a younger sibling or lucky friend of the family.
- Buy service, trained salespeople at shoe stores can fit the shoe to handle growth spurts.
- Loyalty pays -- find a store with a customer loyalty program. We use Morgan Shoes' Stride Rite store at Hilldale mall for reasons 1, 2, and 3 -- with each punch card we receive $50 in store credit.
- Find coupons for the store you decide to use. Seek them out, ask for tips on where to find them, they are usually out there to be found.
- Shop the discount rack at the quality shoe store -- savings here can really add up.
The only shoes my son ever wore out where an inexpensive summer shoe, so flimsy they were they hardly made it past the 4th of July! And wow, finding his size shoe that time of year was impossible. It took my mother-in-law in sunny and perpetually warm Tampa, Florida to locate his size -- everything in Wisconsin was sold out, and stores here were stocking for fall and winter.
Does one trip to the shoe store for two kids cost $100 - $150? Yes, but we go twice a year. In mid-May for summer and in early October for school/winter shoes. The shoes hold up. The kids do not outgrow them. And every now and then we get a pair for free with the loyalty card. To be frugal may require you to change your thinking, get out of the big box stores, and focus on quality or quantity. At least that is our MO in this frugal home.