spending money & acquiring stuff
spending money & acquiring stuff
The husband hates shopping for clothing. With a passion. He has never had to do it for himself; luckily, there have always been women in his life (grandmother, mother, girlfriends and now wife) who care deeply for him and want him to be clothed.
I have found a system that generally works – I buy 20 things online, they arrive at the house, the husband tries them on and picks what he likes, and then I return 15 things to the brick and mortar store.
But that doesn’t work so well with shoes. Not only are 20 pairs of shoes more expensive than 20 t-shirts, but you often have to try on more than 20 pairs to find the one you like. (Unless you’re me … then you try on 20 pairs of shoes and find 20 you like …)
So today I convinced the husband it would be a good day for shoe-shopping. We are headed to the beach, and, well, he doesn’t have any beach-appropriate shoes. His favorite pair is high-top hiking boots that involve a serious time-commitment to get on and off. His other pair of shoes are black dress shoes that he only breaks out when he has to wear his suit.
We went to several stores, with his mood souring at every one. Everything was too expensive, or too uncomfortable, or took too long to get on and off. He found a style he liked, but there were none in his size, so I made a mental note and decided I’d spend the next few weeks looking for a size 13 manly slide.
On our way out of the last store, however, he stumbled across the perfect beach shoe. The size and color combination of his dreams wasn’t available, but that’s what the internet is for.
And so I have ordered his beach shoes, and they will arrive in plenty of time for our trip.
Now I just have to order 20 pairs of shorts, and we’ll be all set!
I just got the confirmation letter for my week in the outer banks! And for those of you not privy the east coast wonder known as ‘obx,’ it’s just a region of the coast in north carolina.
I’ve never been to the outer banks, even though it seems everyone else in northern virginia has, and they have the ‘obx’ bumper sticker to prove it. Now I will finally get my chance to visit this mysteriously superior beach.
I love beach towns! I’m actually not really a swimmer, but I do enjoy dodging the waves as they hit my knees. Or maybe waist, if the husband has convinced me to live on the edge. 🙂
Beach towns are always so relaxed. And they have the best food! Candy shops full of fudge and salt water taffy, ice cream shops, corn dogs, funnel cakes – there’s a tasty surprise around every corner.
And the fun little stores! Where else can you buy crazy hats, $2 t-shirts, voo-doo magic palm-reading crystals, kites, shotglasses with your name on them (well, not my name …) and 28 varieties of salt water taffy?
Now I just need to get busy on my spray-on tan!
I’d been carrying around gift cards in my wallet for months (years, in one case), so the husband and I decided we’d have a ‘free’ weekend and redeem as many as possible.
First off, a certificate for ‘$25 off a meal of $35 or more’. We made it to the restaurant out in the middle of nowhere, and were the only people there. For a whole hour. No other customers showed up. At all. They better have some crazy Wednesday night crowd or something, or they’ll be going out of business real soon.
We asked the waitress if they’d accept the certificate, and she said they would. So we proceeded to order appetizers (cheese fries and fried pickles, mmmm), sandwiches and dessert. When it came time to pay the bill however, she came back from the back room, and said the manager/cook claimed they didn’t accept the certificate. He was kind enough to offer us 50% off. Which brought us to the total of what we would have spent anyway had we not been aiming for $35.
Strike one against our free weekend.
We made it to Sears, where we looked and looked for something to spend $25 – and only $25 – on. We looked at video games. I looked at purses. The husband looked at wallets. We finally decided on the oh-so-exciting choice of $22 worth of socks. I was so proud, we didn’t spend any money! On our way out, I handed the now $3 gift card to a lady perusing Sears goods – who insisted on repaying my kindness by offering me a coupon to Gap – which just so happened to be where we were headed next, as I had $8.10 remaining on a gift card.
The coupon was for $15 off a $50 purchase. Subtract the $8.10 … and that’s $50 worth of goods for $27!! How could I possibly resist that? And so I didn’t. Instead of being practical and buying a $10 clearance shirt and spending $2 of real money, I went for a $50 sweater for $27. I mean, really, did I have any other choice?
We meandered on over to Best Buy. I’d been carrying around a $100 Visa gift card for months, and Best Buy seemed like our best bet to use it all in one fell swoop. The husband had been eyeing a new laaaaaaaser mouse, as his current laaaaaaser mouse is on its last legs. The price tag? $99.99. With Best Buy’s tax-free weekend, that left us with a penny on the card. I tossed the card on the way out … just didn’t seem worth trying to redeem that last penny.
So, we managed pretty well – we spent $50 for about $200 worth of goods. We’ve still got another restaurant certificate (to a different restaurant, maybe this one’ll accept it), an Olive Garden gift card, and $26 at Costco (and an expired membership). Maybe we’ll try for a 75% off weekend next weekend.
$663! My husband was a little scared when I told him the good news, but he sometimes forgets that I am a world-class bargain shopper. (For real. I have trophies.)
And just how much did I have to spend to save so much money? Half as much as I saved. (Ok, ok, half as much as I saved plus $10.) That’s right, by waiting 2 months to buy my leather jacket, I was able to get 3 turtlenecks, 4 sweaters, a pair of slacks, a pair of jeans, 3 pairs of khaki-jeans, a hoodie, a bathrobe, a tote bag, AND that leather jacket, for the original price of the jacket.
I love 75% off January! Mostly because I like a good bargain, but also because I love jackets, sweaters, and boots. And I would be broke if I paid full price for everything in my jacket-sweater-boot closet. Which, consequently, now has more room in it since I moved those pesky trophies to my new trophy room …
The other night, at Dairy Queen, I stole 4 packets of tartar sauce.
Now, it’s not about the money. I can afford tartar sauce. I just never seem to be able to remember to buy it when I’m at the grocery store. And when I eat my fish-sticks-frozen-dinners, it really makes me sad when I don’t have any tartar sauce. You might wonder how I can remember to buy fish sticks, but not tartar sauce – it’s because the condiments aisle comes way before the frozen foods aisle.
So, anyway, the other night, I found myself at Dairy Queen, waiting for a fish sandwich, a basket of chicken strips, and 2 blizzards – and I saw a bin of tartar sauce packets. I was ordering a fish sandwich, so I figured I had good cover – even though the sandwich comes with plenty of tartar sauce already. I donated a quarter to the leukemia kid, and then I pocketed me some tartar sauce.
As we speak, I’ve got a fish-sticks-frozen-dinner cooking in the oven. And I am looking forward to enjoying the first of my stolen goods.
Thanks to a generous gift from my husband’s grandfather, I am now the proud owner of my very own cowgirl pants. The generous gift being cash, not the actual garment.
I grew up in Washington state (NOT cowgirl country), so I was unaware until very recently that there was such a thing as cowgirl pants. When I pressed the issue with my husband (born and raised in Texas, very much cowgirl country), all he could come up with was, ‘Tight. Real tight.’
When we got married a few years back, I bought myself a cowgirl hat. A shapeable, black-and-gray mottled number, accented with turquoise bits. It’s perhaps a little flashy, but it tickled me, so it joined my collection of hats I never wear.
A few months ago, I found a cowboy store in Frederick, MD, because my husband decided he needed a new cowboy hat. He didn’t find anything he liked, but I sure did. I found my very first cowgirl shirt! It’s a completely impractical rhinestoned-handwash-only piece, but it really is quite becoming. And since my husband didn’t find anything he liked, I had to buy something to make the trip worthwhile. I’m pretty sure that’s the law.
And that’s when I found out about cowgirl pants. My husband informed me that none of my jeans cut the mustard as cowgirl pants. When he couldn’t explain what, exactly that meant, I gave up all hope of ever finding any.
Until I found myself in Texas with $100 (thanks Danny!) burning a hole in my pocket, and in close proximity to all kinds of western wear stores.
And so I tried on all kinds of jeans, all the while with my husband saying, ‘No …. tighter …’ I finally found the perfectly tight pair (I’m pretty sure I can only wear them on skinny days). And then, of course, I needed some authentic boots. And also, I was informed, a rhinestone belt. The first belt I fell in love with was $85, so I quickly fell out of love, and found a … cheaper option.
Now, my outfit is complete. Someone find me a rodeo!
Thanks to the magic of amazon.com, I made out like a bandit this Christmas. As you get older, Christmas becomes less about the stuff you get, and more about spending time with family and friends, and with finding the perfect gifts for others. So, imagine my surprise when I came home from my visit with the inlaws with a suitcase full of stuff that I love. And I owe it all to amazon!
Amazon has this wondrous invention called the wishlist. You can add anything amazon sells to your wishlist – and amazon sells EVERYTHING. Books, cds, dvds, jewelry, clothing, kitchen gadgets, appliances, toys, electronics, food – you name it, and they probably sell it. (After a quick check, amazon does not sell automobiles or livestock. So, I guess they don’t have quite everything …)
After you’ve made your wishlist, you can prioritize and comment on the items. This, of course, so others know what’s really important to you, and what’s just mildly intriguing.
And the best thing: you can mass email your wishlist out. So then everyone knows what you want! And then – you get stuff you want. And you can’t quite help feeling like you’re 6 years old and Santa brought you everything you asked for.
(Just a quick shout-out to my folks – I love the gift cards! Any time I can enjoy my favorite pasttime guilt-free is a happy day for me. Or should I say, was a happy day for me …)
I recently rediscovered something I had once loved so much: the Tysons Corner mall.
I had forgotten about my favorite mall. It happened slowly, over a matter of years, as I moved from Fairfax, to Reston, to Herndon, to Ashburn. Each move took me further west, and further from the best mall ever.
I had to go to Tysons Corner on Monday this week because it’s the only place I know of in the area with an Apple Store. And, well, I needed to go to an Apple Store because my mac mini was going to be available for pick up at my local FedEx after 8 pm that evening, and it had dawned on me early that morning that I had neglected to buy speakers for my mac mini.
On Apple’s website, I found speakers that rivaled the mac mini in adorability. I checked Best Buy and Circuit City’s websites for the tiny Sony speakers, but to no avail. It seemed that if I wanted the speakers of my dreams, then I would need to go to an Apple Store.
Usually, my husband hates malls. Even more, he hates going to malls with me, because I am capable of spending hours and hours in a mall. And, well, that’s just torturous. But – the prospect of going to the Apple Store was enough to pique his interest, and so we headed to Tysons Corner after work.
The Apple Store was a bit of a disappointment, as they did not have my tiny Sony speakers. But – while looking at the Directory to figure out where, exactly, the Apple Store was, I happened to notice that there was also a Sony store. And so we went to the Sony store.
On the way to the Sony store, it dawned on me that they seem to have added new stores to the mall. I don’t know if they added a wing or a floor, or what, but there are definitely more stores there than I remember. And also a theater! And an upstairs food court. With a Five Guys. So after I found my tiny Sony speakers (yay!) we got dinner, and caught a movie.
Most people might say that a food court is not the ideal place for dinner, but I disagree. My husband eats cheeseburgers. And when he wants to mix things up, he eats a bacon cheeseburger. I happen to like mexican, italian, chinese or bbq every now and again – and so a food court allows us both to be happy. Especially a food court with a Five Guys. (Best burgers in the world. Just ask my husband. He knows burgers.)
As we walked through the mall, I remembered all the good times . . . my roommates who worked for the Victoria’s Secret . . . the dilly bars from the Dairy Queen . . . checking my email at the Apple Store when I didn’t have internet at home . . . the dinner party I arranged with a big group of acquaintances at the Rain Forest Cafe just to avoid a date, and the guy I wanted to not date didn’t even come (mission accomplished!) . . . the dress I bought that I wore the night my husband proposed . . . Christmas shopping . . . and, well, shopping.
The great thing about Tyson’s Corner is the atmosphere. Everything is fancy and expensive looking. But they’ve got all the normal mall stores. There’s GAP and Old Navy, Payless Shoes and Claire’s. And there are plenty of not-quite-Sak’s-expensive stores. You can pretend like you’re really a part of the whole “I’m so rich” fantasy that everyone in Northern Virginia is caught up in, without having to actually really buy anything from Nordstrom or Banana Republic. You can go to Sephora and sniff coffee beans between whiffs of every perfume known to man, browse the Bombay Company as if anything there actually matches the decor in your home (if, uh, you’re talented enough to have ‘decor’) and get a makeover at one of the Hecht’s makeup counters. AND you can play with Discovery Channel Store gadgets, buy $5 shirts from Old Navy’s clearance rack, check out the displays in the Lego Store (they have Batman legos now – I think my embarrassingly large lego collection may soon get even larger), and buy gum at the CVS. In short, it’s the best place in the world. There’s a reason I have so many fond memories of the Tysons Corner mall. I have a feeling I will soon be going back – sans husband – to make even more.
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