Whoa… Slow Down

I really needed a new pair of running shoes and have been leaning towards trying minimalist shoes.  I’ve heard a bunch of talk about New Balance Minimus shoes.  It just so happened that while I was on a date I spied a New Balance store and decided to stop in.

The Minimus is so expensive; the model I like is $90!

new balance ionixIt’s hard to drop $90 on an experiment.  What if I don’t like minimal shoes?  Then I have $90 shoes to … what? Walk in?  I walk in heels.  I have a closet full of strappy, gorgeous sandals for summer.  Or, if I’m slumming it, I have loads of flip flops.  Cleveland doesn’t have a lot of nice, warm days.  When it does, I want naked feet.   So I don’t want $90 running shoes I can’t run in.

Anyway, I walked into the New Balance store and the manager immediately decided to “fit” me.   So I walked across the paper to check my foot type and the manager immediately decided that the Minimus was not the shoe for me.  He also decided that the the $60 shoes I liked weren’t for me either.

I decided I would allow him to shoe me the shoes he thought would be right for my training (for the Columbus Marathon in October). Minutes later the manager emerged with 3 boxes of shoes and a package of inserts.

The first pair of shoes the manager recommended were $144!  I was having a hard time with $90 shoes and was checking out $60 shoes and the manager decides that I’m going to be shelling out $144 for shoes?  And he had inserts too.  For $144, they better do the running for me and there’s no way on earth I should need accessories.

I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but on top of being insanely expensive, the $144 shoes were some of the ugliest shoes I’ve ever seen.  Look:

new balance 1260v3I would never wear these.  I’m not an elite runner so there is no way I need $144 shoes.  And if I was an elite runner, I would be sponsored and wouldn’t be paying for my own $144 shoes.  The way a shoe looks is still important to me.  I’ve run many a race in Nikes and Asics I bought at Kohl’s when they were on sale and I had a 30% off coupon.  And I have a few pairs of more expensive Asics.  There was little difference between the cheap pairs and the expensive pairs.  The biggest difference is how well the shoes last.

The next pair of shoes the dude had me try on were equally ugly, but less expensive.  At $114, they were surely a bargain.

Luckily at that moment, more customers entered the store.  So I peaked into the last box the manager had brought out for me.  It contained the ugliest sandals I had ever seen.

I hate salespeople that treat me like a chump.  He could have probably sold me the $90 Minimus with little problem.  But no, he had to grab the two most expensive pairs of shoes in the store and try and get me to buy them.  And his dreams included selling me inserts and ugly sandals.  I came in the store wearing gorgeous strappy sandals and he thinks I’m going to buy gross, old lady sandals.

So I came home and ordered a new pair of Nikes off amazon.  They are super cute but are more than I really wanted to spend.

Here are my new shoes:

nike flex 2013They are super cute and airy but the padding is rather strange.  It hits right before my heel in almost a straight line.  I did a 2 mile run this evening in them and it was significantly different than my Asics but I think it’ll be fine.

Anyway, the moral of this story is that salespeople shouldn’t be so greedy.  I ended up paying $75 for shoes.  A $75 sale is much better than the no sale the salesman got because he made me uncomfortable when he came out with such ridiculously priced shoes.

And, I may end up with a pair of Minimus, but I think I’ll ask for them as a Christmas gift.






Money – That’s What I Want

I am not big on budgeting.  I make, or made, a decent wage so I assumed that as long as I wasn’t extravagant, I should be able to cover expenses. We don’t have fancy cars, we don’t go to fancy restaurants, we don’t travel much.  We have a middle class standard of living.

Unfortunately, over the past 7 years or so, our buying power has decreased so much that even our modest lifestyle is now above our means.  And with the oldest starting college this year, I have started budgeting.  I’m in my first full month so it’s all new.  It’s going to be frustrating, I see that already.  There were so many things I already neglected to include in my budget: car license plate renewals, haircuts, pet food.  I figure that the first couple of months will be just getting to know where our money goes.  I never thought about buying whatever fundraising thing someones brings around, or going out to eat at a middle-of-the-road restaurant once every week or two.  I never minded treating a friend to lunch or spending $7 on a fancy greeting card.  If I wanted the latest book by whoever, I just bought it.  Now I have to consider all of that.

Already, this exercise has made me realize that there are things for which I am really loathe to pay.  I don’t begrudge having to pay for the license plate renewals, haircuts, or pet food.  But I hate having to pay for Subway.  My in-laws used to own one so we could just pop in, when we weren’t working there, and grab a sandwich on occasion – or for every meal if one was as big of a mooch as one of my brother-in-laws.  So, Subway does not figure into any budget.

I also detest paying for bandaids.  My kids use them almost like stickers.  It’s irritating to go buy the jumbo box of bandaids and, when I honestly need one, find it completely empty and the box still in the medicine cabinet.

I hate paying for cable, but our phone and internet are wrapped into that price.  I think I need to evaluate that more closely.  And I hate my huge cell phone bill.  We have 5 phones with unlimited data and shared minutes on a family plan.  The kids might be down graded to dumb phones like mere mortals.  Maybe my husband too because he can get his data through his work phone.  Who really needs 2 smart phones?

We’re not renewing any of our magazine subscriptions.  If I can’t read it for free through my library’s Zinio subscriptions or online, then I’m not going to read it.  And, as my local newspaper is cutting back to only 3 days of home delivery, I’ll cancel that except on Sundays.

I hate paying for car repairs.  I miss when cars were simple enough that most repairs could be done in the driveway.  We still do our own oil changes.  Most other things are too complicated anymore.  Home appliance repairs is another category of things for which I hate paying.  But more than disliking paying for repairs, I hate that even expensive appliances are made to be disposable.  How wasteful.  So, we’re going to continue to do as many repairs as we can on our own.  The internet is such an awesome resource for this.  It allows me to be much more ambitious in the repairs we attempt.  So, we’re going to repair things that we may have simply replaced preciously.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs are expensive.  We have a garden every year, but I want to expand our garden this year.  I’m not into canning, but I will try it this year.  And I did blanche and freeze excess before anyway.  I really got into pickling last summer and that will continue.

I’ve been reading blogs that help me with my resolve to be more attentive to my spending.  Wise Bread’s Frugal Living is a good start.  I’ve also been reading tips from anti-consumerism groups.  I try to read one thing (article, tip, blog post) every day for encouragement.  This is going to be an interesting journey.  I expect to learn a lot about myself.  And I hope my kids learn some lessons also.