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Makes 'Cents' to Me!!

April 8, 2008 - Phyllis Sigal
"Why, yes, then your suit wouldn't cost Father anything! ... That's very bright of you, Clarence, to think of that!"

That's a line from "Life With Father," a play written in 1936. Vinnie, the mom, had just asked her son, Clarence, to take back a little pug dog statue to a department store — the same department store where Clarence had seen a new suit, for $15 — which is the same price as the pug dog he was returning. So, if he takes the dog back to get the suit, the suit won't cost a thing!

Of course it makes sense!!! I just cracked up when I heard that line in the play at Towngate Theater several months ago. I may have been the only one laughing THAT hard, but it was because I understood Vinnie's logic.

When I return home from a shopping trip, I always boast to my husband about how much I've SAVED! He usually points out that I would've saved a lot more had I just stayed home.

But, I am the consummate sucker for a bargain, a coupon, a sale ... Oh, my.

When I go shopping, I usually have a wad of coupons ... $10 off this, 20 percent off that ... Some coupons give you $10 off if you spend so much, then $30 off if you spend a bit more. Yes, I have been known to spend $50 more to save $20.

Merchandisers have gotten pretty clever over the years. The coupons now come in the shape of gift cards. And I can't believe how many places I hear from during my birthday month. I get $10 to spend at Victoria's Secret, $10 at Designer Shoe Warehouse, 20 percent off at Hallmark ... all in honor of my birthday. Isn't that nice of them?

I can't stand it when I have those money-saving teasers burning a hole in my purse. I recently got an email from that offered me $15 off a pair of shoes. I was so tempted to purchase a pair, and then discovered that the pair upon which I had finally decided, a sporty comfort sandal, did not count. I had to choose a fashion sandal in order to use the coupon.

So of course, I decided not to buy them. Then, lo and behold, here comes a $20 off coupon on sporty sandals. They're still in my shopping cart ... waiting. For payday? For me to decide? Probably for the coupon to expire, then I'll kick myself ... with my sporty sandal-less foot. (Ooops. Too late ... no more coupon! Darn! I just lost $20!)

I am convinced that it makes sense to spend money so that I can save money.

For example, Kroger has been having "Mega Event Mix & Match" ... Buy any 10 participating items and get $5 off. Should be more like spend $20 to save $5. So you wander around the store and pick 10 items out of a particular list of items. Now the prices are really good ... for example, $2.50 for Weight Watcher ice cream treats, which normally cost around $5 (that I'd NEVER pay!). So if I bought 10 of those boxes of treats (or chose some other items from that particular list) I'd get the WW treats for $2 a box! What a deal! But I didn't need 10 boxes of WW so I had to fill in with a few other things ... OK, I'll use those other things. Really.

So I saved money but it was a bit complicated!

This past weekend, a pile of coupons accompanied Amanda and me as we headed to the Waterfront in Pittsburgh. The $15 off at Express is doubled if you spend $75. Use your charge, get another 10 percent off (never mind the 21 percent interest you pay!)

OK. I'll bite. Two shirts. $44.95 each. $30 off. I'll use my charge, sure. 10 percent off. But I can't find my charge. What? It needs to be reactivated? Sure. So, then I get an extra 15 percent off for the opening a new charge!

Total? $45.00 and some change.

Feeling of satisfaction? Priceless.

Well, I gotta go. It's the last day to use my 20 percent Goodwill coupons at Elder-Beerman .... I better go buy something so I can save some more money!


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