Way back whenever it was… I guess about three years ago, now… I started Want Not on a lark, because I tend to bargain-hunt the way other people have actual, you know, hobbies. I mean, normal people are all, “Want to play tennis this week?” Whereas I’ve always sort of been like, “Oh, exercise makes me all sweaty and I hate that. But do you want to go see if there’s any Cole Haan purses over at Goodwill?”
Back during the very lean times after the divorce, I was able to put my sleuthing skills to good use: I would find rich people’s cast-offs at thrift stores and sell them on eBay for grocery money (true story). The point is, saving money is sort of a religion with me. I don’t worship at the foot of a giant golden coupon, or anything, but you know what I mean.
Periodically, though, someone will come over to Want Not and take great umbrage at the fact that I support credit card usage. Because true money gurus will tell you that credit cards are evil and bad and not to be trusted. And clearly I know nothing, because I think it’s okay to use a credit card!
[Sidebar: I’m sure that Dave Ramsey is a very nice guy, and probably very smart, too, seeing as how he’s gotten completely rich on the backs of people who are incapable of managing their money without his help. But some of his followers appear to be… nuts. Just an observation.]
Just to be clear, I support RESPONSIBLE CREDIT CARD USE, which means that I think it’s perfectly fine to use a credit card and take advantage of any offered benefits SO LONG AS you never buy anything you can’t afford and you pay your bill in full at the end of the month. But even that, argue some, is the fast track to hell. I’m not sure why. But whatever.
Anyway. I recently bragged over at Want Not that I had wangled myself an incredible deal on a new swimsuit over at Lands’ End—they were having a sale, and I used a free shipping code, and then in a flash of brilliance I remembered that Lands’ End is one of the eligible gift certificate merchants through Discover. So I went and looked and I had $40 worth of cashback bonus sitting around, and that $40 would buy me a $50 gift certificate, so I did that, and went and bought my suit and felt very pleased with myself because I ended up only actually spending $20 or so out-of-pocket to get it.
Sadly, the suit arrived and horror of horrors, it didn’t fit. I was very glum about it, particularly when I remembered that I’ve done this before with Lands’ End—I see a cute tankini and buy it only to discover that their tankini tops are made for women who are heavy through the midsection. On me—someone who prefers to store excess weight in the, ahem, rear—the net result is a nice fit through the bust and then gapping, flapping material over the stomach, like maybe I grabbed a maternity top by mistake. Not flattering. And no matter how little I actually paid for it, if I’m going to own a $100+ swimsuit, it had better make me look like a Greek goddess. [Note: I own a one-piece suit from there that fits me perfectly. No, I cannot explain the disparity.]
Today we were out running errands and I figured I’d just return the suit at Sears, as that would be easier than mailing it back. I don’t know if it was because we went to Sears or if this is the way Lands’ End would’ve done it, too, but even though I paid for the suit with a $50 gift certificate and $20 on my Discover card, they put the entire amount back on my Discover card.
Which means I essentially just made $10 for trying on a swimsuit that didn’t fit, because I’m now pocketing the cashback bonus I only got for buying a gift certificate.
So I’m thinking… I only need to do this 100,000 more times to make my first million, right? And then I can tell Dave Ramsey to bite me.