Waiting is the Hardest Part

8 Aug

Photo by Maegan Tintari

Photo by Maegan Tintari


Despite my frugal approach to shopping, I’m often tempted by a full-price item I fear won’t make it to the clearance section. I nearly purchased two pairs of shoes this summer at full-price before my inner nag convinced me otherwise. Thankfully, this internal nuisance was right. While there’s no guarantee something you love will be around come sale time, these two success stories just might inspire a frugal hold-out in the face of extreme cuteness.

Success Story 1

THEN: In pursuit of the perfect summer shoe, I came across a fabulous pair of chocolate sandal wedges by Ralph Lauren. Since I’m pretty picky about this type of sandal, I was thrilled to finally find a pair that met my standards. The instant comfort and neutral color provided the nudge I needed to put them in the “must-have” category.

This should be a no-brainer buy, right? Wrong. They were $70, about $20 beyond my budget. I toured the store in them twice before committing to a purchase, justifying my splurge with the use of a $10 coupon. Then, upon presenting the shoes and coupon to the cashier, I was informed the promotion didn’t start until the following week. I decided not to get the shoes and left the store empty-handed and a little heartbroken.

NOW: Just last weekend, my mom and I went to DSW to check out their clearance shoes. Low-and-behold, my coveted Ralph Lauren beauties were 30-percent off. I also had one of those amazing $20-off coupons, the date for which I double-checked! Sadly, the front of the store didn’t have my size, but my wonderful, amazing, MAGICAL mother found my size in the bargain room. Just like that, I had my perfect summer shoe for the bargain price of $35.

Success Story 2

THEN: During one of my many first-of-the-month trips to TJMaxx, I came across a darling pair of Adrienne Vittadini flats in rust. The shoes struck me as more of a fall purchase, but I tried them on anyway. Heaven. They were so comfy and super cute, with none of the “toe cleavage” I abhor in some styles of ballet flats. As I removed them from my feet, I uttered a small prayer to the shoe gods, requesting they be under $20.

The shoe gods scoffed at my selfish request. They were $40, and I already had a $15 rose chiffon blazer in my clutches. Sigh. No rust flats for me, even if $40 is a steal for designer shoes.

LATER: During one of my many mother-daughter trips to TJMaxx, I saw the shoes in the clearance section and my heart skipped a beat. Surely they’d be $20 by now. No dice; they were $30. Since I had a set of sheets in my hands, I let them be and resigned myself to never owning them.

NOW: Apparently I’m the only one who fell in love with these shoes, because they still remained on the clearance rack during one of my infrequent husband-wife trips to TJMaxx. This time, I ignored the gods and was rewarded with a $21 price tag. And even though I had a colander in my basket, I figured third time’s a charm. Just like that, I bought my coveted fall flats for $19 less than original cost.

Moral of the story: Sometimes it pays to wait, even if that’s the hardest part. And beware of the shoe gods — they’re ruthless.

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