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Some things change, some don’t

I’m thinking it’s not much of a secret that I like to shop. But the thing is that I like to shop, but I don’t like to spend money. Those two things can go together, of course, but it takes a little more work.

One of the things I’ve done for years and years is to maintain a stash of gifts—assembled from various clearance finds—and then when it’s time to head to a birthday party or round up teacher gifts, I don’t have to run out and shop. This saves me from going to actual stores (because those places are filled with cranky people, plus they require getting dressed and leaving the house), plus it saves money because I’d rather buy stuff on sale whenever than buy stuff at full price because I need it RIGHT NOW.

[The best part about toys in the gift closet is that as the kids and their peers outgrow stuff, each year I do a November clean-out and go donate a bunch of stuff for the various holiday charities, and that’s all kinds of fun.]

Unfortunately, like SO MANY other things in my life, my children are ruining my careful planning. Typical. (more…)

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So many shiny things

“Is there a way for me to write about this without sounding like a materialistic asshole?” I asked Otto.

“I dunno,” he answered.

“Maybe not,” I countered.

“Maybe,” he said.

I hate it when he won’t do my thinking for me. That’s totally why I hired married him.

Nevertheless, I have to take the chance here, because it is amusing. And far be it from me to pass up the chance to make fun of myself. So I am going to have to confess the entire sordid tale right from the beginning.

It starts, of course, with me being stupid. (more…)

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Shopping my way rich

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! (more…)

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Feeling Lucky, jeans?

Why, yes. I am here to talk about my adventures in jeans shopping, again.


Once upon a time, long ago and far away, I bought a pair of Lucky brand jeans for a paltry $10. And lo, they are the most wondrous pair of jeans in the history of the universe, for they are soft and fit well through a variety of size changes; they are the only jeans I’ve ever owned which not only fit me in the waist AND in the hips BUT also have a little give in the thigh area, thereby accommodating my “problem area” (yes, they are not so much thighs as they are ASS OVERFLOW: You’re welcome!) through a bit of weight fluctuation.

I lurve them. And I thought they were discontinued. And I wept. (more…)

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Brokedown garage

So, yesterday we loaded everyone into our truck and drove up to the north Georgia mountains and procured ourselves a genuine 1950s dinette set, cracked-ice formica tabletop and all. I suspect that Otto was a good sport about the drive to go get it on account of his recent car debacle, and I’m pleased to report that all went very smoothly; there were no breakdowns or crazy people or detours, and the set was pretty much what we expected and the guy who sold it to us even knocked the price down a little.

Really the only complications were a bit of mild carsickness (those mountain roads are twisty) and the fact that Otto kept breaking out in a terrible rendition of banjo music from Deliverance.

There’s a bit of rust on the chrome table legs that needs to be polished, before we bring the set into the kitchen, so we left it in the garage. Next to the broken car. Now, who will get their purchase into working order first, me or Otto…?

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Men shop on Mars, women just shop

One of the biggest lessons I’m learning about being married again is that men and women really are just fundamentally different about some things. Much of the time those differences are “cute” or “endearing” or at least tolerable, and occasionally those differences are just plain baffling.

And I’m not just talking about what baffles me, either. I know for a fact that Otto is baffled by my shopping habits on a daily basis. He does not, for example, understand why I need so many shoes. I probably haven’t done a very good job of explaining it, either (“I JUST DO!”), but that’s because I’ve never needed to explain it to another woman. I require many pairs of pretty shoes; this is something he is learning to accept about me.

Just as a FOR INSTANCE, and based on absolutely nothing at all, really, just TOTALLY RANDOM, let’s take a look at a couple of differences in the ways Otto and I approach a major retail purchase. Just for FUN. (more…)

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I am fancy

So, Otto and I are going to a gala next week.

A GALA. I have never been to a gala. I’m pretty sure my hair isn’t shiny enough for such a thing, but now that I have this awesome haircut, we’re going to attempt it.

Actually, it’s a fundraiser. And while we, personally, are not obligated to raise any money (I mean, beyond the essential organs Otto had to sell to buy the tickets), Otto is sort of obligated to be there because of his job. I think. I don’t really know; he informed me that we’re going and I should wear something pretty.

Now, this may come as a COMPLETE SHOCK, but I don’t get out much. (You can take me anywhere twice—the second time to apologize.) And generally, that’s perfectly fine with me. But I was unexpectedly excited about the news we’d be getting dolled up for the evening. (more…)

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But I play one on the Internet

Evidently I missed my calling as a financial advisor. I’m absolutely SUPER at it, by the way. Here goes: Don’t spend what you don’t have.

You’re welcome!

If you require more information than that (so demanding), well, might I suggest this excellent article by the AP’s Heather Lalley, which happens to feature some heavily-edited sound bites from yours truly.

Alternatively, I can break it down for you into just five easy steps.

And while we’re talking about money… you do know about DonorsChoose, right? You can pick the project, the school, the teacher you want to support? It’s a great approach to a great cause (bettering our nation’s schools, and you KNOW how I am about this topic), and while there are plenty of bloggers running challenges in conjunction with this, I just hope you’ll find something that inspires you to give a few dollars. If you need someplace to start, check out the BlogHer Contributing Editors’ Challenge for ideas.

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A fitting conundrum

I love Fridays. It’s the one day of the week I allow myself some unstructured time. Monday through Thursday, it’s all work while the kids are in school. And Saturday and Sunday, all family. But generally I can sneak a few errands in on Friday before the kids get home.

Today I needed to go to the post office, because for SOME reason when I give prizes away on Want Not people actually expect me to mail them out, or something. I don’t know. People are so DEMANDING. And although I have all the makings of a home office here in my, uh, home office, I do need to leave the house to do that. (Dear Your software is incompatible with Macs. You are therefore compatible with extreme suckage. Love, Mir.)

And as long as I was headed out, I thought perhaps I’d go run some other errands. And seeing as how it’s been rather nippy here, in the mornings, suggesting that cold weather is indeed coming, I decided to go shopping for some pants. (more…)

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Wii for you, Wii for me

So. Um. Hi! It turns out that the whole thing where my kids wanted to win a Wii and I acted like “Hey, what a great idea, good luck with that!” so as to cover up the fact that I had ALREADY purchased a Wii for them—designed to be a Big! Exciting! Unexpected! Christmas present—has totally bitten me on the ass.


Yep. Some of you already guessed it, though I just found out yesterday: They won the Wii.

Now, there was a long conversation amongst the PTA about what this MEANS and whether it’s FAIR and while I know some of you have differing opinions, I just have to ask you to trust me when I say that it has been discussed TO DEATH and determined to be okay by everyone. My Christmas plans are hosed but Chickadee really worked for this (including hitting up teachers for donations, the little capitalist). (more…)

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