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“My Shoes Cost $10,” Confessions of a Bargain Shopper

March 15, 2010

Seriously!  If you found some slammin’ shoes and they were the right size, color, good quality and the right fight, and they were only $10, wouldn’t you buy them?  Would you tell people who like them and that you knew and didn’t know how much they cost?  Would you be ashamed to tell them how much they were and where you got them?  Let me tell you, I’m a mom of a 15-year-old teenage girl, I pay the majority of the household bills, rent and auto insurance; I buy all of the groceries and cook all of the meals.  I deal with all school-related functions, buy all the school supplies and school clothes and on top of that have to pay for medical insurance, hair appointment, and other teenage necessities, therefore I’m no stranger to shopping on a budget. 

Although I’d like to spend a fortune on my shoes and clothes, I also know that my priorities come first when you have a family.  My boyfriend’s hours at work were more than cut in half , leaving it up to me to step in to take care of things as they occur. 

So I found a pair of Michael Antonio’s red pumps with a buckle across the instep, and a gold 4-inch heel.  I found them at a local area swapmeet in Los Angeles where I frequently go on occasion.  There’s a shoe shop there that has all of the latest trends in shoes, boots, tennis, flats, and flip-flops — for any and every occasion.  And just across the way is a clothing section where you are bound to find the right outfit for a particular event (of course, not prom wear).  I’ve purchased many of my shoes from there ranging from $9.99 – $27.99, and because I’m a frequent customer, I’m sometimes given the luxury of not having to pay tax.  But hey, I really like the sales ladies that work there, too.

Don’t shush me when I say, “my shoes cost $10.”  Nor do I want to be told I’m not a real woman because I didn’t spend more than $75 on my shoes.  Who came up with that rule?  Who said that just because I didn’t spend a fortune on my shoes and clothes that I’m not a real woman.  Who said I have to spend $100+ on shoes in an already and still struggling economy, and with a teenage girl whose taste in clothes and shoes changes like she changes her underwear?  I wrote a post some time ago stating you don’t have to spend your life savings just to look good.  And I’m sorry, but if I have to spend $100 on one pair of shoes just to have some status in society, to be looked at as a woman of class and integrity, I’d rather be barefoot.  My clothes and shoes shouldn’t make me a woman with a title that can easily be stripped from me, but it should be how I wear them that says I’m proud to be me.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I won’t buy my clothes and shoes at shady places.  I like Chadwicks and Metrostyle.  There is a neighborhood boutique my daughter and I go to all the time that has great clothes; and depending on their catalog, I can find some really nice summer wear in 7th Avenue’s catalog.  I discovered only because of the prices of their shoes and boots.  Sheikh Shoes is another source for stylish and trendy shoes at reasonable prices.  I like Bakers, too, but I can’t do Baker’s prices right now.  I spent $49 on a pair of shoes from, turned around and spent up to $39 on a pair of shoes from, and about $25 on a pair of shoes from Fredericks of Hollywood — none of them were over $50.  I’m just keeping it real.  I get compliments when I go out because I know how to mix and match, and put an ensemble together that speaks volumes.  My daughter told me some months ago while we were out, “downsize your wardrobe!”

If I find something that I really like and it’s really expensive, odds are I can find something similar and spend up to three times less than the retail cost.  Bargain shopping has saved me a good amount of money over the past few years.  The last time I spent $100 on anything was a strapless top I got from Victoria’s Secret — and after I got it, I thought, “is this what all the hype was about?”  I wanted to return it so bad, then realized I had already spent the money and returning it wasn’t going to make me feel any better so I kept it as a general reminder of what not to do again.

My thing, too, is I don’t want to be looked at any less because I didn’t spend a certain amount of my shoes, or didn’t buy designer brand, or that I don’t go to Beverly Hills to get my hair done, or wear expensive makeup and perfume.  I don’t want to be looked at any differently because my wardrobe doesn’t scream designer, or because I don’t buy my daughter name brand clothes and shoes — wait, let me take that back, I did manage to luck up on a pair of Ed Hardy’s high top laceless tennis but I didn’t pay retail for them, in fact I found them at Ross Stores during one of their designer weeks.  So, on occasion I may buy my daughter name-brand, but the secret is, it didn’t necessarily come from there.

I see nothing wrong with being a bargain shopper.  It’s being responsible with my money, for sure.  And at the crash of the economy many men and women were forced to change their spending habits; cutting back, cutting down and cutting out much of their life’s luxuries.  It put them back in touch with being frugal and learning money management to get them through difficult times.  And believe me when I say that I’ve  come through some difficult times.

In my wardrobe you’re likely to find Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Carlos Santana, Jessica Simpson and Liz Claiborne.  And I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t pay retail.  It’s knowing where to go.  So if you’re like me, a bargain shopper to the heart, flaunt it.  I like designer wear just like the next person, but when you’re on a tight budget like me, you do the next best thing, but look good doing it.

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