You may be surprised to hear this from a girl who is easily distracted by pretty, shiny things, but I have become, as one of my oldest friends and my husband have both pointed out: cheap. Not as in cheap thrill, cheap date, or cheap trick, but rather frugal, thrifty, prudent. Believe me, I haven't always been that way; it started out as just an inclination to save money and stick to a budget, and like most of the things I do, I may have gotten a little carried away.
A few years ago, we found ourselves on a tight(er) budget. I am, after all, a housewife, so while the benefits of my job are fabulous, the pay is nonexistent. I started clipping coupons, comparing prices, signing up for freebies whenever possible, pinching pennies if you will. I deemed myself a bargain babe and after a few months of thriftiness, it became a natural habit. The thrill of scoring a good deal and seeing how much money we could save was addictive.
I reuse shopping bags, gift bags, and garbage bags. I wash Styrofoam plates, and I always ask for extra napkins and ketchup at the drive-thru so I can keep some on hand and not have to use my own supply. I buy generic almost everything--with a few exceptions like Duke's mayonnaise and Diet Coke (some things are worth every penny), and I am pretty darn savvy about what is an actual deal at the dollar store.
I remember as a kid saving allowance money to buy the most current awesome thing, and thinking that once I was an adult, I would have all the money I wanted (ah, the innocence of youth) and then I could have all the Swatch watches/Sebagos/Members Only jackets my little heart desired. Now that I have graduated to that 'adult' category, I find myself still wanting the most current awesome things, but wanting to pay what they would have cost back in 1992, when I was fourteen. Inflation can be so cruel.
Saturday night, I was up late waiting for my dear hubby to come home from a long road trip. I entertained myself by scouring the Internet for a pair of brown riding boots (we will not go into detail about the pair I currently own, which I proudly scored at a discount shoe warehouse last year for $59.99, which will not stay fastened and have been an absolute laughing stock with my family). Specifically, I was searching for a pair of designer boots I have been lusting after for close to two years. My eyes burned, my fingers cramped, my search history grew. I surfed, and surfed, and surfed.
Around 1:30 a.m., when Clint finally made it home, he came in to find me bleary eyed, frustrated, and in a state of exhausted despair. "Do you think that www.buytoryburchcheaponline.com is a scam website? Because they have THE boots for 62% off the retail price, but for some reason, I can't get my order to go through!" He may or may not have confiscated our laptop in response.
I went to sleep that night dreaming of beautiful leather boots. In colors like "bourbon," "almond," and "luggage." Visions of outfits perfected by those boots danced through my head. (All of this could have been influenced and/or enhanced by a rather large dose of cherry Nyquil, but I digress). By Sunday morning, Clint could barely enjoy his Eggo waffles in peace without hearing about THE boots.
And then: super husband came to the rescue. He calculated how many times I would wear the highly coveted boots and reasoned that the price, broken down over that many wears, was not that ridiculous after all. He used my grandmother's old adage about having one nice thing rather than several cheap finds. Then he took me to the mall, the place where so many dreams come true for girls who love clothes like I do.
Operation Riding Boot was a hairy experience. We enter the store and search the shelves. The boot is not there. A salesgirl says she is certain they have it in stock, and we wait on pins and needles (well, one of us, anyway) until she returns with the very large box containing those gorgeous creatures. Did we know they are 25% off this weekend, she asks? My heart skips a beat. I zip up my sole mates and--horror of horrors--they are too tight. I don't want to admit it, but I am afraid that the way they are squeezing my calves will cause a blood clot and I will die the very first time I wear them, which will cause the cost-per-wear calculations to go right out the window.
Salesgirl searches for an eternity for a larger size, and comes up empty handed. I can barely stand this roller coaster of emotion. She says they can order them and ship them to our house, which we reluctantly agree upon. Salesgirl then brings out another style to try on for size, pauses in contemplation, returns to the stockroom once more, and comes out triumphant: she has found THE boots. In the right size--the one that will not cause clotting. Score! Clint turns down her offer of celebratory Coronas and champagne, pays the woman, and I exit the store with a bag the size of a refrigerator box and a smile that is practically the same size.
Once, when I was around four years old, my granddaddy took me to the toy store and bought me a little red wagon, already assembled. He then put me in that wagon and commenced to fill it with toys and candy until I was so giddy I could barely sit upright, and then he pulled me around the mall while I lived the best day a kid could imagine. This shoe shopping experience reminds me of that day. I suppose that when you get older, designer boots are the new red wagon.
I fell asleep last night staring at my new pair of boots, with a dreamy smile across my face. This cheapskate had a banner day, and with my new fabulous footwear, I will be the most stylish penny pincher at the bargain bins to boot.
Caution: objects may be even more awesome than they appear.