Christmas 1996 – I had just finished spending more money buying gifts for my friends than I did on my own family. I love my friends dearly, and I don’t mind spending money on them. However, it wasn’t just the money. It was the stress of trying to find the perfect gift for each of them. I was very quickly beginning to resent the money, effort and energy that I was expending purchasing Christmas gifts.
That’s when I came up with the Annual Snow Trip idea. Instead of the lot of us spending money buying trinkets for each other, I suggested we use that money to rent a cabin in Lake Tahoe for a long weekend.
This February will be the eighth anniversary of that decision. I have had some of my happiest memories up there. As the years have gone by, we have added a few to the group and lost a few to other responsibilities. This coming trip there will be seven of us. We are renting a cabin for four nights.
We spend the weekend eating, drinking and playing in the snow. Although we are all in our 30’s and 40’s, we still slide down the hill in snow disks. We still build forts and have snow ball fights. It is the weekend that we all get silly, eat wonderful food (Budget Savvy’s Chef Mark Parker will be there) and escape from phones, computers and general responsibility.
We are all so much happier investing the time and money in being together than the time and money spent in fighting the crowds at the mall.
Last week I took my car in for an oil change and received the call we all dread. “Mrs. Tosetti, I’m sorry to tell you that your water pump needs to be replaced as well as your timing belt and by the way, you really could use some new tires,” proclaimed my mechanic Sam.
I have been taking my car to Sam for several years now and trust his judgment. Since the heater had gone out in the car the previous week, I had a feeling the water pump would need to be replaced. Also, I was relieved to finally change the tires on the car. With an upcoming trip to Lake Tahoe, I didn’t want to have to worry about them while driving in the mountains, in the snow, in the dark. The grand total for mending my car - $740.
While I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy to write the check, I wasn’t crying in my beer either. The last time I spent a dime on the car (beside gas, insurance and registration) was two years ago when I put new brakes in it. The brakes and other minor work I had done at that time were around $400.
So, in the last two years I have spent $1140 on my car. Again, I can’t complain.
My car is a 1990 Cadillac DeVille with a minor dent in the back passenger door and one missing hubcap. We purchased the car for $100 from Paul’s aunt after someone wrecked the passenger door. The insurance company claimed the car totaled although it had just the one dent.
Paul and I were grateful for her generosity as in two months, both of our previous cars died. Since we picked up the Cadillac for virtually nothing, we were able to afford a brand new Scion. It was the first brand new car either Paul or I ever purchased.
We have the best of both worlds with the two cars. The Scion is good on gas and easy to drive around. The Cadillac is our long haul car that we enjoy taking on road trips. It’s not the prettiest car to look at right now (one of these days I’ll get that dent fixed), but WOW is it a smooth drive.
Cars aren’t particularly important to Paul and I. They have always been just a tool for us to get from point A to point B. We realize that not everyone is willing to drive an older model car. For us to not have a second car payment is definitely worth it. With any luck (and diligent care on our part) the Scion will last us at least 10 years. My goal is for it to be the last car payment we have to make. Once we pay it off, I will start shoveling the car payment money into a savings account for when the Cadillac needs to be replaced.
|Battle at BEBE Sale|
My friends Sophie and Jackie related a story to me about their weekend adventure at BEBE’s Friend’s and Family sale that took place in Benicia, CA this weekend. I have heard about stories like theirs, but this is the closest I have ever come to this kind of bargain hysteria.
BEBE’s Friends and Family sale is a once a year event where they sell their slightly damaged goods. Tops and skirt sell for $2 a piece, accessories for $1 each.
Jackie and Sophie left their homes in Daly City, CA at around 6:30 am to make the hour drive to Benicia. They arrived at 7:30 am to a line that already snaked around the building. Thinking ahead, they brought chairs and coffee and proceeded to wait – for SEVEN HOURS! While waiting, they made friends, fought off line cutters and got a little goofy from the lack of sleep, mass caffeine consumption and queue fatigue.
As they inched closer to the front of the line, they were given a large garbage bag by BEBE’s staff. After another hour of line waiting, they were given colored wristbands. The staff takes 50 customers into the warehouse at a time and the wristbands inform the staff which group you are with.
Now, standing at the door, on the verge of entering, they were briefed by the staff. They would have 30 minutes inside the building and no more.
Finally! The doors opened and Jackie and Sophie were greeted by two aisles of long tables with clothes piled in cardboard boxes. No hangers. No dressing rooms. No time! It was a huge, hysterical mess.
The women behind them pressed forward and then broke into a run. They went from box to box with barely enough time to check for sizes let alone style. It was a race to get as much in their enormous garbage bags as possible - gambling that the items would either fit or be resalable on eBay.
After 20 minutes, a staff members banged on the door barking out that they had only 10 minutes left. Panic set in as the shoppers threw clothing from one pile to the next.
More banging on the door – “Eight minutes left”. With anxiety levels at a fever pitch, they dove into fresh piles not coming up for air until the final door bang when the shoppers were told to stop.
I asked Jackie what treasures she plundered from the sale. Her list -
2 crocheted shoulder shrugs: one maroon/gold metallic weave, one brown (both wearable)
13 spaghetti strapped tops (all different styles and colors), all with one broken strap, all needing various alterations
2 camisoles: black and peach (both wearable)
2 tanks: one yellow with metallic accents, one blue-green with sequins (both wearable)
1 red top with red, velvet, corset. "I don't know what I was thinking when I put this in my bag."
1 flowing, black, skirt
1 snake skin belt
1 pair of white BeBe logo flip flops
She spent $42 but will probably spend another $42 just getting the straps mended on the damaged tops. But the total of the items if she bought them at retail is $556. It becomes a personal decision whether sacrificing your Saturday is worth $514?
What did Sophie pillage?
1 cowl neck, black sweater in super soft fabric - orig. price $89.00 - no damages
2 camisoles in black and pink - orig. price $49.00 each - slight sewing repair on one top
1 long sleeve, cowl neck, cream colored top - orig. $79.00 - stains on the back of the top
1 cream colored cropped sweater in the same super soft fabric - orig. price $69.00 - no damages
1 blue, satin and silk camisole - orig. price $49.00 - strap sewing damage
1 black silk halter tank - the price tag was taken off - no damages
1 white knee length skirt - orig. price $89.00 - no damages
1 purple lace clubbing type top - orig. price $49.00 - no damages
1 pink lace and silk camisole top - orig. price $49.00 - damage that is not repair-able
1 brown silk and satin baby doll dress - orig. price $139.00 - no damage and my best purchase out of all that I have chosen.
So was it worth it?
“I would almost rather have spent $100 bucks and buy just one of the items in the store and not waste the whole day waiting in line,” Jackie Midel.
“All in all, it was a good experience if you haven't been to an event like this. You have been warned though. The employee’s friends and family events are truly for the experienced, frugal, patient and those who don't mind the pushing and the shoving among females shoppers. Would I do it again? Probably not.” Sophie Ng
You’ve gotta love Target! I know that if I am patient, just about anything I want in that store will eventually go on sale! This week, the bathroom cabinet Paul and I have been eyeballing for the past month was 10% off. Not being a patient by nature, I am very proud of myself.
We are actually using the cabinet as a nightstand for our new bedroom which has a Balinese theme to it. It will fit in there perfectly.