What’s your shopping style?

There are a lot of ways that people shop.

Some people always have their eye out for stuff.  They’ll shop regularly and keep their eye on things that they want and wait until they’ve dropped enough in price to be worth buying.  They’ll know when the sales are and swoop in.

Similarly, some folks regularly visit yard sales and thrift stores and craigslist or ebay or facebook etc. to browse and buy.  Or they’ll browse freecycle or their local buy nothing group.

Other people will buy things strategically.  They’ll decide what they want and then shop for it.

Some people do a lot of research before buying, some people do enough research to satisfice, some people do no research at all.

Some people buy and return, others won’t return at all and will either hold on to a bad purchase or pass it along/donate it.

Some people are willing to pay full price if it’s what they need when they need it.  Others only buy when there’s a sale or a coupon or some other way of getting a deal.

A lot of these differences are differences about how money vs. time (and mental load) are prioritized.  If you’re really busy, comparison shopping and regularly browsing for sales and deals just isn’t going to be worth the time it takes.  If you’re strapped on money, you may be more willing to wait for a deal.

Another concern is ethics– it may be worth it to spend time shopping second-hand if you care about the environment.  It may be worth paying more for a high quality product from a country that does not exploit its workers.

And some people just enjoy the process of shopping.  Some people hate it!  Some people are fine with online shopping, others enjoy going into stores.  Some people have to see an item in person, while others are ok with buying online with limited information.

My shopping style is to put off buying something until probably after I should, and then buy a whole ton of stuff that I need all at the same time.  I don’t shop for fun except for books and fancy food shoppes in the city (including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s– if we had a Trader Joe’s in town it probably wouldn’t be enough of a novelty to make it fun).  When I was in college I hung out with people who shopped for fun, so I did do some of the waiting for dresses to drop below my price point, but these days I buy clothing at whatever price it is set during my every other year outlet mall trip.  (When I do try to buy something online without my colleague-personal-shopper it usually ends up being ridiculous, except for shoes where I go to a fancy european store and let a shoe salesperson talk me into whatever type of shoe needs replacing.)

What is your shopping style?  Has it changed over the years?

Advertisements

List of things I need to do to take care of myself

  1.  Get a haircut.  It has been 2 years.  Update:  I tried to do a walk-in at the place next to DC2’s newish Saturday morning activity, but they were full-up.  When traveling dies down, if I haven’t gotten a haircut in a conference city, I will make an appointment for during DC2’s activity one of these weeks.
  2.  Get an eye-exam and new glasses.  I think it has been over a decade and my driving glasses have scratches.  I am also intrigued by the idea of computer glasses.  Update:  got the eye exam while at a conference at the Lenscrafters in [conference city] (everything is aok, though I’ve gotten slightly nearsighted in addition to my astigmatism; doctor says I can still use my glasses for just driving).  Will pick the glasses up at another conference in the same place later this month.  (Oddly, I think I’ve gotten all my glasses since 200X from the lenscrafters in this mall, and a good number of my haircuts.  I have several conference buddies who refresh their wardrobes periodically from the Ann Taylor there, though I don’t because there’s never anything in my size on sale.  I get my shoes in a completely different conference city.)  I also used my prescription to order an extra pair from (not sponsored!) zennioptical, which is where my DH gets his actual glasses.  Update:  have both pairs of glasses, and both make my vision really crisp.  I definitely needed an updated prescription!
  3.  Get a mammogram.  I filled out the online form for an appointment a couple weeks after my birthday but haven’t heard back.  I should call.  Update: scheduled for May 2nd.
  4.  Get tested for diabetes/insulin resistance or just get a metformin prescription.  I have PCOS.  Over the holidays plus during job candidate season I overindulged and didn’t listen to my hunger and gained weight eating all sorts of refined carbs.  Since then I’ve gone back to my regular mostly diabetes-friendly diet, but my weight has stayed the same instead of dropping like it usually does when I listen to my hunger, my periods have stopped (this could be menopause in action) but I keep feeling like I’m about to have my period, I’m tired and fatigued a lot, I’ve been drinking water a lot more, and I’ve been getting headaches (but maybe my hair is just too long).  Also I occasionally wake up with tingly fingers or toes.  In response I am going completely no-refined-carb (goodbye wheat thins, the cookie in cracker form), but I really ought to also just see a doctor for testing or medication.  Update:  diet change seems to help a lot, and when I do accidentally eat something with lots of sugar I feel cruddy and brain-foggy within an hour or so.  Still no period.  My current plan is to go back to the rule from my late 20s when I was first diagnosed:  3 months no period => go see the doctor.  That puts me at the start of summer to make an appointment.  Update 2:  diet change helped with that too… so I think I’m going to need to decide if I want to continue with the diabetes diet vs. go on metformin.  It is just hard to be careful about added sugar and refined flours (and I *like* refined flours), but metformin is unpleasant and can also interfere with B12 absorption which is something I occasionally have a problem with.  So I dunno.  After doing some youtube watching, it sounds like if you’re good about your diet over a 3 week period, diabetes won’t show up in the initial blood screen because you’re not getting the bad symptoms that show up in the bloodwork.  The fasting icky drink the awful orange drink tests should still show up positive though.
  5. Eat more vegetables.
  6. Get my skin checked out.  The problem with this is that the dermatologist office in town has a reputation for removing all moles, not just the ones likely to be cancerous, and he has a “non-disparagement” clause thing you have to sign, so nobody is allowed to leave a negative review on Yelp.  So I would have to find a dermatologist elsewhere and get to them.
  7. Get new brown dress shoes.  My current Pikolino’s half boots (3-4 years old) are getting worn down in the heel.

I now own more than 4 pairs of shoes…

In college I owned one pair of (generic) sneakers and one pair of (Teva) hiking sandals at any point in time.  In graduate school I added (generic/bass/stonefly) brown or black loafers and (generic/stonefly) nice black sandals.  (The Stonefly were an investment in the last year when I was on the job market.)

Most of my professional adult life I’ve been content with one usable pair of brown sandals, one pair of black sandals, one pair of black maryjanes and one pair of brown semi-dress shoes.  All pretty expensive and extremely comfortable European varieties built for wide feet like my own.* Eventually I added hiking boots, for you know, hiking (though they would also get repurposed for things requiring tennis shoes).  I would justify spending $100-$200 on a pair of shoes by only buying shoes every 5 years or so.

I don’t know if it’s just my feet heading into middle-age, or the heady feeling of having two salaries, but I’ve now got more shoes.  Not like crazy Imelda Marcos shoes, but now I have a choice about whether to wear (naot vs pikolinos) maryjanes or (pikolinos) half-boots or even (super cheap target) canvas sneakers if I need a pair of black shoes.  It used to be if I was wearing something that required black shoes I’d check the temperature and pick the maryjanes or sandals.  Similarly for something that required brown shoes.  Now there’s choice.

I even got a pair of New Balance sneakers, which I think is my first name brand pair of tennis shoes ever**.

I’m losing more of my frugality/minimalist cred.

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not.

Grumpy Nation, tell us about shoes and frugality and minimalism and cred (or the opposite!).

* I also usually keep one pair of completely worn out black flats and sandals of either color just in case that I didn’t count as part of the 4 pairs because they really should have been tossed. There have been a few occasions where I was glad to have kept them when my main pair needed to dry out (or be found).

** (with the exception of the Kinney Saddle Oxfords I had to wear in kindergarten as part of the uniform.  I don’t know why I remember that; it must have been a big deal for my mom.  I remember regularly polishing the white parts with white shoe polish.  I also had a really great pair of brown sandals that year that we bought in Mexico– the first pair that ever actually fit my wide feet.)

You can give your expensive shoes a longer life by replacing the inserts

[#2 already knew this, but didn’t tell #1 because it never occurred to her that #1 wouldn’t know this]

I was doing some post-conference shoe shopping (I <3 pikolinos!!) because the naot maryjanes I bought two years ago weren’t as comfy as they were, you know, two years ago.  The salesman, after selling me on a new pair of pikolino maryjanes that I am completely and totally in love with noted that I could extend the life of my naots by replacing the inserts because the sole was still going strong, I’d just worn down the insides.  So he sold me a pair of inserts (and a pair of sandals that I’m not completely in love with, but are comfortable and fill another need, since I don’t know when I’ll be at another Euro shoe store).

And he put the new inserts in my shoes and indeed, I no longer needed to buy the pikolinos, but I did anyway because I love them.  I have two more pairs of Naot maryjanes that can have their lives extended with new inserts as well, so I’m planning on going online and getting replacements.  Now, replacements are not cheap– $55 per pair, but that’s a lot less expensive than fancy new shoes.

I knew cowboy boots could be resoled and I knew Birkenstocks could be recorked, but I didn’t realize there was such an easy fix for Naots.  And who knows, maybe my beloved Pikolinos at some point in the future as well.

Do you repair your shoes, or do you just buy new when they wear out?

I bought shoes

My feet are so happy that they have new shoes.  This whole walking around and my feet not hurting thing is amazing.  Why did I put it off for so long?

I know why: I hate shopping and the few times I tried to buy expensive shoes I couldn’t get anybody to pay attention to me to sell things so I just left.  I am very high maintenance when it comes to shoe buying, in that I need someone to tell me what to get.  (Zappos was also a bust after several failed attempts at purchasing the correct size– I really do usually need to try things on.)

Which is why I now have a new $100 pair of sandals and then two $200 pairs of shoes after the shoe guy realized I didn’t bat an eye-lash at $189 for a pair of shoes.  It’s worth $200 to me to not have to try on a million pairs of shoes (assuming I could have found cheaper good shoes if I’d been looking myself) given that I buy shoes so infrequently and hate shopping so much.  I think the salesman got an extra kickback from the $100 Cobb Hill sandals as well, but I’m ok with that!  My feet don’t hurt!

How much was the damage?  $527 for three pairs of shoes, including tax.  How did I spend that much without blinking an eye?  Well, right before getting them I deposited a travel reimbursement check for $538.  It’s like the money was already spent!  Yeah yeah, I know, bad thinking. But I only buy shoes once every few years. I need these mental tricks to keep from being a miser.

And I did put off buying shoes for far too long.  I mean, my feet were hurting because my two pairs of work shoes were worn down because I have had them for YEARS.  Since before I got pregnant (I have a three year old), and possibly quite a while before that– I can’t actually remember when I got them.  Similarly, my brown sandals that I love but are no longer made were falling apart.  (You may remember I replaced my black sandals for #2’s wedding, but it’s too cold to wear them to work!)  When you have two pairs of work shoes, two pairs of sandals, and a pair of hiking boots… they kind of need to be replaced more frequently than I’ve been replacing them.

So that’s me.  I spent a lot all at once on super expensive shoes that I will wear for far too long.  Am I frugal?  Am I a miser?

What I am is someone who should buy shoes more often because she shouldn’t have to marvel at her feet no longer hurting.

Do you put off any purchases for far too long?  What gets you to finally spend?

 

Bridesmaid shoes, conferences, and patriarchy

#2 has decided on bridesmaid dresses that have a bit of an Ancient Greek thing going.  There’s probably a lot of that going on in weddings across the country this year given their popularity at David’s Bridal.

While listening to a somewhat dull talk at a recent conference, I noticed these sandals (in black, not tan) on the conference-goer beside me.  They look much better in person than they do on the website.  And they have just that hint of an Ancient Greek thing going on.

“Where did you get those?  They are perfect!” I whispered.

“Teva,” she whispered back.

“NO WAY!” I said quietly, causing the gentleman on my other side to give me a raised eyebrow.  (He then teased me for shoe-shopping during a talk as I looked up the name of the shoe and emailed #2 to make sure the sandal was approved before purchasing.  A few minutes later I suggested that perhaps that email he was writing was not about how exciting the talk was.  It wasn’t.)

The next day as I told my former seat-mate that I’d purchased her shoes for the wedding, the woman she’d been talking to looked down and said they were awesome shoes and she wanted them too.  Where did she get them?

“Teva”

“NO WAY!”

After we had a brief discussion of their comfort and elegance, she wrote down the exact name of the shoe for later purchase.

As I related this conversation to DH, my oldest asked why these shoes being Tevas had produced such surprise.

Well, I explained, the patriarchy makes it difficult for women to wear the same kinds of shoes as men without facing social disapprobation.  With women’s shoes, usually shoes are either comfortable or they’re fashionable but not both.  Teva is a brand that is known for being extremely comfortable, but not something you can wear to work or a wedding.  They mostly make hiking sandals.

With women’s shoes, the holy grail is elegant shoes that don’t hurt a person’s feet.  When such an impossibility occurs, it naturally elicits surprise and happiness.

It shouldn’t be that way.  Men and women should both have shoes that are comfortable and attractive.  They should be able to wear the same kinds of shoes.  But society says no.  And society suggests that when it comes to formal or professional wear, only women’s shoes should come in styles that damage a person’s feet.  Stupid patriarchy.