Thursday, April 23, 2015

Saving money the hard way

There's nothing my husband enjoys more than haggling over a purchase.
If there's something wrong with a sales receipt or the price rings up wrong, he's out the door before I can start making my fuss.
It pains him physically to have to make a return.
So when the computer at Shopko refused to recognize the three $5 off coupons I had in my hand, he was uncomfortable.
When the cashier couldn't convince the computer that yes, we had bought over $25 in merchandise, he started to grimace.
When it still didn't take the coupon (maybe because without tax added in we still didn't show that we'd spent more than $25) he was hating life.
He grabbed some gum to bring up the total.
Then we added some stuff we were going to buy so we could use our second coupon for another $25.
After that, the girl called a manager.
By now, people behind us were unhappy. We were taking a long time.
I was fine except for the fact that I didn't like being treated like I hadn't prepared when in fact I had carefully noted the coupon's expiration date, the exceptions and had even asked if I could use multiple coupons before we started.
I had made a list of things I needed to buy anyway so we could use our savings wisely.
I had dragged Marc over to shop with me because he needs sunglasses before we go to Hawaii and I figured he'd want to pick them out.
So it was annoying to hit this big bump in the road.
We waited patiently for a time and made it through using the first coupon.
When we tried to use the second, we thought it would go more smoothly.
The cashier we'd worked with had left for an early lunch (why would she do that, do you think?).
This girl started in with determination but, of course, the register declined the coupon.
"Did you use this one already?" she asked. Well, yes, the other girl had tried every coupon in my hand before she gave up.
"Did you get more than $25?" she asked. We nodded.
"Maybe you should go over there..." she said, pointing to where the manager stood across the store.
We picked up our stuff and strode over. The manager smiled knowingly and rang it all up without a snag.
"I knew they weren't doing it right," she said. "Sorry about that. Do you want to save this last coupon for later?"
I looked at Marc who had tears in his eyes.
I don't think so. The store wins.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A model citizen

Fashionistas all!
I've been bored a bit since Marc's play ("Guys and Dolls" at the SCERA until May 9) moved into final rehearsals and opening week.
One can only do so much cleaning and organizing and weed-pulling during the long evening and weekend hours.
So when I saw this little notice about a Style show at Christopher & Banks I was interested.
The ad said they wanted models. It didn't say anything about knowing what you're doing.
I called and got on the list and arranged a fitting.
On the catwalk
They said to just come in and pick out what I wanted to wear. I went in and sort of bumped my way around until I had a couple of outfits I liked with jewelry to match. I had the run of the store.
The clerks were friendly and helpful now and then.
No one seemed to be taking the whole thing very seriously.
They didn't worry about my crazy hair or lack of professional makeup or if I had the shoes to match the outfit.
Then when I came back for the big show, it was still pretty low-key.
Nobody was worrying much about the end result.
They didn't run us through the line-up or talk to us much about posture and hand placement.
I was both relieved and concerned.
Shouldn't they be more stressed?
Shouldn't there be some guidelines here?
As it turned out, it was all good.
A bunch of us came together on a Saturday morning and found our clothes all steamed and bagged for us.
We dressed. We lined up.
We walked through the store trying to look confident and casual and a lady took our pictures at the end.
It was a mild sort of fun and a different way to spend part of a Saturday.
Plus, speaking of spending, we all got 40 percent off our outfits.
I had a good time and I saved Marc about $200!

When you've got it...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The end of life as we know it

In our house, we're coming to a crossroads.
We are saying goodbye to TV as we know it.
Dish Network has finally pushed the price up beyond what we can pay and we don't trust DirectTV (our relationship with them is a whole 'nother story) so we're going to go without a safety net to a new plan.
We're trying to see if we can make it with Netflix and the local channels.
My daughter actually inspired us when they bought a Roku and dropped their cable.
My step-daughter has never had anything different and hasn't suffered.
It's going to be interesting considering Marc and I grew up in a time when TV was exciting and free.
We never thought we'd be paying for TV.
And we're slightly aghast to find ourselves paying a lot!
It's especially aggravating because the Dish salesman swooped in a while ago and promised to cut our bill in half.
He said we'd be happy and save money.
That lasted about a month or so and the bill's been climbing ever since their guys came and ripped out the old satellite to replace it with a new, mega-size, satellite.
We decided to break free and we've been just sailing along waiting for our contract to be up.
The problem is I've become used to the DVR feature.
I like not having to be in the house for a particular show because I know it's being recorded for later.
I'll have to get used to watching my favorites on delay.
We've been preparing ourselves psychologically for a few weeks now.
"Is this a channel we'll still get?" I ask Marc now and then.
"What will happen to Conference? Will I be able to find the news I like to watch?"
We started in one toe at a time.
We bought a DVD/Blu-Ray player for $45 because the old one was broken and we'd need it anyway.
We bought a flat, wall antenna for $70 with the provision that we could take it back.
We ordered Netflix.
We've alerted Dish Network.
Now we just got the convertor box our TV seems to need to do this. Another $40.
We're going to try it all out tonight and, if it works, we're on our way to saving money...any minute now, yep.