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2013-02-27 / Loose Ends

Loose Ends

Saving money – a challenge
Susan Nienow

Sometimes that’s impossible.

Last week I needed makeup and had been waiting until one of the companies offered a gift with a purchase. Just before I ran out of the stuff that transforms tired eyes into bright luminous ones, there was an ad in the paper for one of those specials.

Now, I know they price the purchase so I can’t just buy one of the cheapest items, but I always spend more than I need to. This time I bought the thing I needed and one other item. The good news is that I don’t use all the items in the gift, so I split up the goodies and give them to my daughter and daughter-in-law.

So, I come out about even. Really.

I use coupons whenever I can. Yesterday at the drug store I bought only the things I had coupons for and that were on sale. But, I had to wait for a prescription. So I also came home with lipstick, a magazine, a purse-size tube of lotion, a box of bandages and two cute little windup jumping chicks for the granddaughters for Easter.

So, I came out behind, a little.

Last week I went outlet shopping. A big sign in the window said 50 percent off. I assumed it meant everything, so I picked out two tops, a pair of pants and a sweater. But, somewhere in the store there must have been a small-print disclaimer saying: “Except for the spring things and anything that you, Susan, pick out.” Two items were a great buy, and the other two were more than I would have spent if I hadn’t already tried them on and found out they were perfect.

So, they won and I spent.

Now that I have a few new things for spring, I can turn to the seed catalogs for more savings. If I order early, the catalogs offer specials like buy two, get three. This is a great opportunity to get some different kinds of perennials. Experience has taught me patience, though. If it is on special, I can guarantee it won’t be a huge plant. I may have to wait a few years for a significant display.

It has been four years since I planted my white hydrangea, and my blooms aren’t even half the size of the 12-inch-diameter flowers pictured in the catalog. But the price was good. So who won?

This year I am buying the largest clematis I can find. They are slow growers, and I can’t wait for years for a spectacular display. For the privilege of having blooms I can see in the first few years, I will have to pay full price. Cough, cough. At least, that is my current thinking. I may change my mind when I find the young ones with a few beautiful blooms on special – buy one, get the second one half off.

A favorite retail phrase is “Save up to 75 percent.” I fall for it every time. When I get inside, the white rose bush is full price, and in the clothing store, the pants that are so slimming are also full price. I love them both. So who wins?

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