Sunday, August 3, 2014

How I Grew A Backbone and Turned a Frugal Failure Into a Victory

At the end of July I wrote about my Frugal Failures for the month. One of these was setting a budget for my sons' shoes and then relenting when T couldn't find anything that he liked in his size under budget. This kid just doesn't like crazy colors on his shoes, and everything that was under $50 in the brand that works well for him was rather colorful. Neon green and neon orange? No thanks.

I can't really say that $50 is a fair budget price; I paid more six months ago when they last needed shoes. I'm not sure I've consistently purchased shoes for them for under $50 since they moved into men's sizes. But I wanted to try.

So as I wrote, I bought one pair of shoes for $65 and one pair for $50; I planned to watch the sales ads as this store will often price match if the product goes on sale within 30 days. What I didn't expect was an email two days later with a coupon for 20% off full price shoes/apparel and 10% off sale items.

There was a catch though - the coupon said it wasn't good for prior purchases. I understood that, but I bought the shoes two days ago (!) and I could have returned them for my money back, so I figured it was worth a shot. Here's the thing though: secretly, I hate making returns, and I really hate making waves by asking for something special. I was quaking in my boots at the thought of them telling me they wouldn't do it. I was actually rehearsing what they might say and what I would say and I had to tell myself to STOP and tell myself to imagine them saying yes to my polite request. (I would like to note that Papa's opinion was along the lines of Oh well, why bother?, probably because he too is very polite and would rather not push an issue.)

I took the shoes and receipt in, I explained what I wanted to do, and they said yes! Oh, the manager pointed out the prior purchases clause, which he didn't have to do, so I pointed out that I could just return them, which I didn't have to do. But I got what I wanted in the end, and I thanked him warmly for doing it.

We received a credit back of $19.44, not exactly small change and very much worth the gas to travel three miles round trip as well as 15 minutes of our time (that's like making $77.76 per hour after taxes!). T's shoes ended up being $52 + tax, but J's were discounted to $44.99, so we made out fine.

I also learned that with patience and determination I can buy my teens shoes within budget, if not for under $50 for each pair, then at least for under $100 for both pairs.

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