Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I had my two hours of kid-free time today and I totally made good use of it. It was great. First I went to the thrift store to look for Halloween costumes for my kids. They all want to be Star Wars characters, which is fun, and not too hard.

(Aside: My space bar seems to be on the fritz. This sucks. I have had to backspace and reinsert spaces fifteen times already. I'm irritated. This just might be the straw that breaks the Stimey's back. Oh well, how often do I use a space bar anyhow?)

Last year Sam was a Jedi and I managed to pull a costume together out of stuff we already owned. It was awesome.

This year, Jack wants to be Darth Vader and the other guys want to be Jedis, so I'm buying them all robes. The thrift store didn't have robes, but it did have a $5 Darth Vader outfit. Awesome! Plus, I got Cadoo for two dollars and an aluminum bat for the same amount, which made Sam soooo happy. ("Is that a real bat?!")

It was also interesting to look around the store, because I donate a lot of sort of weird things that I kind of assume get thrown out, but it turns out the thrift stores actually sell them. Are you looking for a Ziploc bag full of used markers? Find it at the thrift store. The freebie coloring book I donated? They're selling it at the thrift store. It's a trip.

Then I headed on over to Target for a few things. I found a Jedi costume that cost FORTY DOLLARS. Needless, to say, my kids didn't get that. Instead I purchased them robes on Amazon for about $20 each. It's a lot, but I think they'll use them frequently.

Anywho, the reason I was at Target was to buy tapes for my video cameras and to get a Balloon Time box for Sam's birthday party. I had a coupon for a free Balloon Time set, so I was pretty excited. Somehow, however, I found plenty of other things to impulse buy. Stupid Target.

When I got to the register, the cashier couldn't get the register to accept my coupon. Because Target only had the 30-balloon box and I knew I could probably find the 50-balloon box and use my coupon at a party store, I let it go.

Shortly thereafter (waiting in line at the cafe for a soda), my friend Heather, who is a frugal blogger and all-around frugal person, and the best bargain/coupon shopper I know, suddenly appeared to say hi. She had been buying fiber bars. She was outraged for me that they wouldn't take my coupon. She was all ready to go back and fight for me. (She's been known to upset a cashier or two, which is funny because she is generally a very congenial and mellow person.)

I managed to talk her down.

I convinced her to help me find some bargains down the mall at a sale that JCPenny was having on kids' clothes. And good thing I took her, because she was able to help me find the very limited selection of on-sale clothes with long sleeves. Sam should thank her too, because she talked me out of buying him the ugliest shirt on the face of the planet because, "Oh my god! It's only five dollars!"

On the way back down the mall, we stopped in to Old Navy where they claimed to be having a clearance sale that turned out to be a big fat lie. I did, however, find the most awesome ever Oakland Raiders shirt in a kids' size, which is weird, because I live in Maryland, but my family are Raiders fans, so I was all ready to freak out and buy one for each of my kids, when she talked me down again.

She told me that if I MUST buy it that I should go home and find the weekly Old Navy coupon site and print out a coupon.

She saved me a lot of money today.

After I picked Quinn up from school, we headed over to the party store to get the balloons. Sure enough, they had the 50-balloon set. Unfortunately for the cashier (and the people behind me in line), the set cost $34.99 and the coupon was only for up to $29.99.

The cashier kept trying to convince me that I needed to go get the 30-balloon set for $24.99, but I kept trying to convince her that she could just take $29.99 off the 50-balloon set price and I would pay the extra five dollars. Because 30 balloons for free did not sound as good to me as 50 balloons for $5.

She had to take multiple trips to the back and her manager made several appearances until I think I finally wore her down and she gave me the discount. Mostly. She charged me $5.99 instead of the $5 she should have. But at that point, it seemed like a big mistake to make a fuss over 99 cents. Heather probably thinks differently.

All in all, it was a pretty good morning. It was fun and relaxing to hang out with my cool friend Heather without kids, plus I got all my dumb little errands done. Not to mention that there was very little crank to be seen.


  1. Wow, you did all that in 2 hours? You must be a far more efficient shopper than I am.

    I miss seeing you and Heather - hope to see you sometime soon.

  2. yay, Jedi!

    Q-ster has been wearing his Jedi costume for months, so I'm set there. He wants his little brother to be Yoda (a height-appropriate character), so I'm trying to make a green Yoda ear hat.

  3. That's some super Jedi power to get all that done in such a short time, right?!
    I'm really grateful we don't do Halloween here.

  4. I love bargains. Now I'm in the mood to hit the thrift store...

    And I have that coupon, too. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Target can be a dangerous place without children... "ooh, look at that set of coasters- they're only $4.99!"


    I wish my son had decided what he wants to be for Halloween- he always decides on about Oct. 29th- which is very easy for me (sarcasm).

  6. I would love to have a shopping chaperone (shoperone?) like Heather. Maybe there's a new career opportunity for somebody in there. Instead of a personal shopper who tries to get you to buy stuff you could take someone who saves you money. I think I would pay for that!

  7. Oh yeah! Now I remember smacking myself for spending the $35.00 per kid for last year's Star Wars costumes when your homemade Jedi costume looked better.

    Check me out! Stupid two years in a row!

  8. I just wrote a very long comment, then had some strange form of comment deja vu and was convinced I had told the same story in your comments before. So, let's just say that I'm am shocked you were able to get in and out of Target in under two hours, much less run all of those other errands.


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