Friday, April 28, 2006

The cons of living on a budget

In Dillards with Karen. I need shoes for Leanna's wedding. Salesman approaches.
"May I help you?"
"Actually, yes. I'm looking for dressy brown heels for a wedding."
"Sure! Let's head over this way....are you looking in a particular price range?"
"Yes, I'd like about fourty dollars or--"
"Oh, I'm sorry, we don't have that."
"...okay...thank you...."

Move on to the Clinique counter. Clinique Bonus available with a $21.50 purchase. Saleswoman approaches.
"May I help you?"
"Yes, we'd like the lip gloss in Black Honey."
"Okay, that'll be $14.50"
"Hm...okay, do you have anything for $7?"
"Um, no."
"What would it take to get up to $21.50 for the bonus?"
"Another lip gloss for $14.50."
"...okay...thank you...."

Today, Jared's Jewelers to find a setting for my aquamarine stone from my grandmother. Saleswoman approaches.
"May I help you?"
"Actually, yes, I'd like to find a setting for this stone. I also have two gold rings I'd like to melt down for the setting."
"Okay, sure, let's find a setting you like."
We do. It's a gorgeous setting with an aquamarine and 6 small diamonds on the sides for $450. I figure I use the gold from the old rings, the CZs from the old rings, and the stone I have, all I'll pay for is the labor, right?
"I have bad news. It turns out we don't use other people's gold. And we also don't allow CZs. So to use your stone in this setting with our gold is $540. It'd be cheaper for you to buy the pre-made ring and do something else with your stone."
"...okay...thank you...."

I'm all for living on a budget. But I get a little discouraged when what I feel is a reasonable amount to pay for an item is nowhere near what the store thinks (which, according to supply and demand, also means that most consumers feel the store is correct).

However, I think of when I was looking for a car. I went into several dealerships with the same request every time: "six thousand dollars or less, sixty thousand miles or less, year 2000 or newer." I got several quick "no ways," several "it's not about the full cost, but what you want your monthly payment to be," and then finally, I got an "okay, let me show you what I have." And that encourages me. And unlike a car, the timing doesn't matter on getting my stone set. So I'll wait, and look around, and carry my two old rings with CZs and my stone around until I finally find someone who will put them all together into a beautiful new ring...all for the price of labor.


  1. That sounds like a very frustrating day at the mall!!! I agree though about things being so overpriced. I wandered around Ross the other day at the home furnishings section and I thought the prices were great! One of those cool measuring cups where you can look down on the amount for only $5 instead of $15. Thats what I'm talking about!!! Hang in there, you will find your ring place, just like you found your car! Maybe a private jeweler would be more willing to do that instead of a chain where they have to follow stinkin coporate rules! Love ya :)

  2. Ah yes, budget living. This is why Target is my friend!

    (p.s. Clinique DOES have $7 or $8 items - nail polish!)

  3. Oh, and the facial soap is awesome, lasts forever, and is $10.50. (Clinique junkie here.) but you're right - it IS pricey. and boo on snooty salespersons. :)

  4. And... Clinique nail polish is wonderful! Ditto, the soap. I like Ruth!

    But, all in all, living on a budget is the pits, dear. Unless you REALLY like the challenge of searching for bargains. Myself, I'd rather get in and out of the store quickly so I'm not always picky about the ruin of my budget! :)

    Anyway, Teresa's idea about a private jeweler might work. What about the one in Waco that John & Karen use?

  5. Hi Momma - I like you too! ;) I am Lydia's sister-in-law's sister-in-law, LOL. We decided that made us family. (I am married to Mike, brother of Karen Norvell, wife of David Norvell, brother of Lydia's charming hubbie!)

  6. Teresa's man slave4/29/2006 10:09 PM

    What about the one in waco that Teresa uses...I mean if your going to reference her idea you could at least use her jewler too!! That's all I'm sayin....but...yeah...good luck trying to find someone who just wants to make you a ring with your metal and stones which you didn't buy from them. You'll have to find some local family type jewler, some old guy who sits around all day with a soldering gun!! We could take them overseas, I bet we'd find plenty of places who would make a ring!

  7. Momma, meet Rachel! (a.k.a. Ruth Rachel Vendsel)
    Rachel, meet my mom! (a.k.a. Carolyn)

    And I can't believe that saleslady was ripping us off! I agree with Rachel: "boo on snooty salespersons!"

    As for living on a budget being the pits, so far it hasn't really been so bad. If all I have to complain about is not wanting to pay for lip gloss, I think I'm okay. However, I can see how things will get drastically more serious when children come into the picture.

    I will check on that jeweler John uses in Waco and see what I can find out.

    Momma and Rachel, I'm glad you got to meet! I hope someday you get to meet for real!

  8. Cliff: I didn't know Teresa had a jeweler! Just give me a name and I'll check it out!

  9. Well, this is the OTHER Karen commenting, the one married to Lydia's brother John, not to be confused with Lydia's husband, Jon. Now, how Lydia keeps all these Karens and Johns straight, I dunno. Hey Lyd, let's name our kids Karen and John and confuse the heck out of the rest of the family...and ourselves!

    Well, so far in our married life, John and I have lived pretty comfortably with our dual incomes. But lately I have contemplated quitting my job and taking up some part-time work at the church and freelancing, so I'm sure we'll get to learn hard and fast about the budget thing. And shoes... definitely a weakeness there.

    On the jeweler, John is sitting here next to me, but he's not much on blogs. He said he'll take you to our jeweler, Gholson's sometime when you're in Waco. He has been very pleased with them, and I know they'll use your gold and stuff.

  10. Karen: I've been thinking that Dave and I seem to have the only unique names, really someone should name their children David and Lydia. I mean, we can't be the ONLY ones named David and Lydia! It just wouldn't be right in our family!

    I just may take John up on the offer to go to Gholson's. I always like what he picks out from there, and would probably have a better chance working with him than with Jared's.

    And don't worry. I'm sure you'll have plenty of time for budgeting when you go overseas. :)

  11. Lydia,
    Try finding one of those people who do jewlery out of their independent person. Ask around, there are lots of them in the metroples. They usually have good prices.

  12. Ok, a garage jeweler sounds really scarry and ghetto...but who knows.

    As far as shoes! How rude! Tips for those with out sister-shop-a-holics...

    Go when there is a sale, go when there is a coupon AND a sale, always look at clearance first! Don't ask sales people unless you get desperate or already know what you want. AND look at places like Marshall's or DSW.

    I know I saw a few brown heels in my great shoe search OR I have a pair of brown shoes you might could wear!

    P.S. Keep your eye out for cute earings!

  13. I have to share a jewelry experience. There's a jeweler in town that's going out of business, so they were having a sale. We stopped by yesterday to look around. It was a positive experience only in the sense that I got a new pearl ring for half price. Other than that, a bad jewelry-buying experience. The lady was horrible, she didn't know what she was taking about, she wouldn't leave us alone, so we felt obligated to ask her questions, but then she didn't know the answer. For example, John asked her what was so great about a Mont Blanc pen. She said, "Well, they just look neat, don't they?" Does she honestly expect to sell a pen to a man with that line? Anyway, the ring is really pretty, and I'm excited about that. But it made me appreciate our jeweler (Gholson's) that much more. I think it is worth it to pay a little more for good customer service. Just something to keep in mind as you search for a jeweler.