If it’s possible to be addicted to saving then I’ve got the bug — bad. There is just something so satisfying about not spending money. Some count their winnings through gambling. I get high saving. No slots player pulling a lever ever got bigger thrills than I do when they start subtracting my coupon savings from a grocery order. I am that woman with the fistful of coupons, convinced that if I pay more than a dime for toilet paper I’m a failure as a wife and mother.
“Gently used” is my favorite label. “Like new!” makes me swoon. I pride myself on finding a deal: be it a truck, tractor or a pair of shoes.
Our home is decorated in “early auction.” Auctions are my absolute favorite and how I began my early obsession with saving. I truly believe auctions are the purest form of commerce. There is great satisfaction in knowing that you paid not a penny more than the market would bear in that moment in time. Contrary to popular belief, in most sale settings you are not going to buy the farm just because you inadvertently scratched your nose.
You have to wave “hello” to someone across the room to do that. “Hey Jean over here!” so quickly becomes “Hey where did I get these cattle?”
I’m an old hat to consignment stores for gently used quality clothing. I’m rather skeptical of brand new duds. New equals unproven if you ask me. If an article of clothing looks fabulous after previous wear, I know the value is there. Scoring a $200 pair of shoes for $7 tends to make a person walk a little taller too.
Finally, we have my latest obsession in the savings trilogy: Craigslist. I’m not sure who Craig is, but he is to be commended for hosting what amounts to a free nationwide garage sale. Any user can list an item for sale on the website. If you’re interested, you contact the seller and set up a plan to get together and possibly purchase said item.
Sadly, what is basically the most awesome idea ever is tainted by the idea that every single Craigslist seller is out to hide your body in their basement. You must always remember that you are meeting a stranger you do not know. As much as I enjoy a good deal, I am definitely not a fan of being chopped up into little bits and stored in anyone’s freezer.
Last week, after nearly 12 years of faithful service as a wrestling mat, trampoline, and puppy teether, our sofa finally gave up the ghost. Sure, we could have kept soldiering on but at some point one runs out of ways to artfully arrange pillows to hide the damage.
I’ve known what I wanted for quite some time. Chocolate brown leather, wooden feet, rolled arms. I could picture it in my mind. What I couldn’t picture was paying an astronomical retail price. On a whim I typed what I wanted into a search engine. Score!
There, in glorious color photos was my dream living room set. One phone call and a short drive later it was mine for a song. I really liked the sellers too. The fact that I’m still here is affirmation enough that they weren’t serial killers, just nice folks out to clear their home of some unwanted furniture. I couldn’t love my new living room more if I’d paid full price. I guarantee, in fact, that I would have loved it a lot less.
A week later I continue to say to Mr. Wonderful daily: “Have I mentioned how much I love this couch today?” I’m sure that never gets old. On a whim (and for bragging rights) I challenged myself to find an authentic wicker picnic basket. 24 hours later it was mine — for $10. (Retail of this basket with built in cooler? A not-so-cool $100). I’m sure my snacks will taste sweeter with the savings. It should be noted that the seller of the picnic basket left it on her porch, saying she trusted me to leave the $10. How cute is that?
In fashion, decor, and so much more, saving is always in style. I truly believe that if you set your mind to it, and practice a little patience, almost anything short of a unicorn (and then, who knows?) is available at a bargain price. Just remember that if you buy from a private seller meet only in a safe place. At consignment stores always check those zippers. And if you go to an auction, don’t scratch your nose.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt loves the thrill of the bargain hunt. She welcomes comments (and good leads) c/o LifeOutLoud@comcast.net; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460 and view photos online at www.KymberlyFosterSeabolt.com.)