Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Discount Shoes and Discounted Groceries

Yesterday was pay day - both with the pension check and my pay from the nursing home. My youngest asked for a new pair of shoes for the summer. He had seen a pair of canvas slip-ons for $20.00 at Payless when he was out with friends. I took him there after school. They had a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale and I suggested he also pick out a pair of sandals and he did (cost us another $10.00).

I felt so sad and yet strangely happy at the same time during the shoe store excursion. Sad that my son is only getting a $20.00 pair of shoes, from a discount shoe store no less. But then happy that he was so grateful and pleased with the shoes and that he got a bonus pair besides.

After our shopping (which with boys is pretty much in and out quickly), I dropped him off and went to the store for something for dinner. My oldest complained when I told him we were having turkey hot dogs. He said he'd eaten hot dogs all weekend, whenever he'd gone to one of his friend's houses - all the dads were grilling!

So, I hit the store I frequent to see if there was anything on sale that I could prepare as an alternative. As I've mentioned in other posts, this store sells meat and dairy products for half price when they are at the expiration code. Yesterday, they had some gourmet skillet meals (chicken and pasta) for just $3.00 and I picked up two for the boys because they looked especially hungry. They were excited having just gotten their practice football equipment for summer camp.

I came home and made the pasta along with bagged salad (99 cents from ALDI) and while I was cooking gave the boys French bread with artichoke/cheese spread. It was such a nice meal and I felt proud of myself for being able to feed the boys until they were full and do it on such a limited budget.

The boys wanted to watch "America's Got Talent," which we have never followed. While they were watching I served them strawberry shortcake, the ingredients I'd picked up to have over the holiday weekend. But I never made it because the boys were never home - busy with friends, marching in the parade, plus I worked this weekend. Just seeing the boys scarf down their meals with appreciation meant a lot to me. To give them a little extra with the bread and spread, to have dessert.

I felt good as a mom - that despite the financial hardships, there are glimmers of hope in a new pair of inexpensive shoes and a filling meal. I don't often feel this way, like I'm doing an adequate job since we always seem so lacking. But I did feel a sense of pride in my abilities to stretch out a dollar and again am reminded of how in the end, happiness doesn't come from the amount that is spent. I was able to provide for the boys beyond the mere basics - stomachs and hearts were content as we watched t.v. together as a family.


  1. You are teaching your sons a valuable lesson, something that is lost nowadays -- being thankful, especially with the basics of life. You are a great mom and they will continue to see that!! :D


  2. This is indeed a valuable lesson, and one they will carry with them always. How often do you hear people saying that they had a happy childhood despite not having material things? My children knew we didn't have much during their childhoods, they learnt to limit their requests for additional things to Christmas and birthdays, and they learnt how to appreciate what they have. Now they know clearly the difference between wants and needs, and I am proud to say do not waste money. All good life lessons. You need to own that you made that happen, and appreciate that you are so resilient and creative in the way you provide for them. Many many people out there would not have been eating as well as you that night despite having a lot more monetary resources!

  3. An excellent example of what a loving, resourceful person you are! :-)

    Hugs ...

  4. I expect your boys will probably grow up understanding the value of a dollar -- something that a lot of people don't seem to understand or appreciate any more. When I was growing up, both of my parents bought (or made) what we needed - nothing fancy. I never owned a barbie doll, but had some other doll that cost about a quarter as much instead. I don't care much about expensive things now. I probably haven't paid more than $20 for a pair of shoes in my life -- usually look for pairs for 5 or 10 dollars out of the bargain bin. I see it as a fun and useful game. Judging by the crowds shopping at places like Value Village, etc.. I guess there are getting to be a lot of people thinking the same way. No need to feel bad about not paying exorbitant prices for goods that are almost the same and priced for much less. Kudos to you, and to your boys for being happy with what they receive!

  5. Beth - I will try to recall your words about being a good mother when the boys give me attitude, which as you know still happens even to good moms with good kids.

    Julie - I really appreciate your saying that I was resilient and creative. This week, when things got tough at work I thought back to those descriptors and it gave me strength to carry on. I like the sound of those words. They do describe me.

    CCC - I like the word resourceful too!

    Bev - I just know that since facing financial hardship, how uninspired by shopping and material possessions I have become. And when I buy something, I take care and the time to really consider the item's value and my need/desire for it. I like how you describe it as a game. It is enjoyable for me to go into the grocery store and know I've struck gold when I pick up my 99 cent meat specials! I truly do not think I will ever go back to mindless spending but will forever more be on the lookout for bargains!