I was raised in a house by parents who, fortunately or unfortunately, never questioned the prices of anything. Ever. Like even if it was cool to haggle at market, we never did that.
My parents never looked for a sale, never shopped in Marshalls, never clipped coupons. Keep in mind, we weren’t gazillionaires or anything, it just was the way it was. My husband was raised the total opposite, even though his family’s financial situation wasn’t one of abject poverty either. Marshall’s was the go-to store for many Monsey folks. And Syms, ahh, Syms — the home of the $75 name-brand suit. I am here to tell you all that Husband #1 still wears some of those suits, because, despite what you might think of the price, they have held up pretty well. When that store went out of business it was heartbreaking. The Suit Store on Route 4 has some decent prices, but nothing will ever compare to Syms, may it rest in peace. I have even learned to buy lovely suit pants at Target, but still, it’s not Syms.
Needless to say, when Husband #1 and I got married, our spending habits were quite different. Over the years, I learned to love looking for sales in the Shoprite circular, and other circulars as well. This made Husband #1 very, very happy. His motto has always been, “A sale only means that you are spending money on something you normally wouldn’t buy, and you are only buying it now because it is less money.” Okay, honey, whatever you say. Sometimes that is true, but I am no fool when it comes to that stuff. Especially after having lived with Husband #1 for all of these years. Believe me, when one spouse is raised with the light and heat always on, and the other spouse is raised in a cold, dark house, squabbles ensue, and the ending usually has both parties either too hot or too cold and close to tears. But I digress.
I am pleased to announce that I have found my specialty in terms of saving money. Now, before you judge, just remember the things I have written before. 1, I was raised never to question full price. 2, I married a man who never bought anything at full price. And 3, I gave birth to two out of three mini-Husband #1s, who hold by his frugal standards. So I decided that the only thing better than getting things on sale, is getting them for free. And I would now like to share a few personal stories with you. I hope you will enjoy them, be proud of me, and remember, no judgement.
We will start with the most recent one. I bought my little Strudel a package of diapers. Now, diapers are not cheap. Especially when you don’t buy generic, like I used to do for Son #3, and he turned out okay. But never for my Strudel. Anyway, when I opened the diapers, there was some type of black stuff on them. It should not have been there. A normal person would just throw them away and buy another pack, or, maybe even return them to the place where they bought them. Not me. I was on the phone with Pampers in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. When I finished with them, I had a $12 gift card and an agreement to send back — at their cost — two of the tainted diapers. I then got their permission to return the rest of the diapers to the store where I bought them, to exchange them for another box.
There you go. Not impressed? Next story.
A few years ago, Son #3 and I went to Orlando for a few days. We decided to go to the Magic Kingdom because it is, after all, the happiest place on earth. It was not. The lines were long. Our fast pass wasn’t working. There were not friendly staff members helping us find anything. One of the lines we waited on for 50 minutes ended with them telling us that the ride was broken. Aside from the amazing quality time I spent with Son #3, I was not happy. At all. So I called the credit card company and got a refund for both tickets. Yay me. I got Mickey Mouse where it hurts — his wallet.
Still not impressed? I got my hair done for a wedding in Miami. I spent way more than I ever do at my lovely Lucy, but I wanted to feel fancy. They did my hair and as soon as I walked out into the Florida sun, I frizzed like I stuck my finger in a socket. I pleaded my case to Florence at the credit card company, and boom, I got my money back. Was that one any better? Because that is all I got for now. Free is better than sale. Especially if you have low self-esteem and feel that your time on the phone with these people isn’t really worth anything.
And that is all I got. Hope you enjoyed your holiday!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is happy to be home. But she was so happy to spend quality time with her family. She feels truly grateful.