Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I studied Fashion Merchandising at Western Illinois University and graduated a decade ago with my Bachelor's Degree in DFMH (the new acronym for "Home Ec."). It had to have been one of if not the easiest degrees to achieve at the collegiate level. It required three and a half years of class and one semester of an internship. No minor was required. In theory, one could actually graduate in those three and a half years, if they did their internship in the summer before their final semester. I chose to do my internship in the spring, after finishing all my classes.

I used to joke about how easy my degree was. There were many times, for multiple classes, that our assignments were, "Go shopping, then write a paper about it." Each class had it's own angle on the experience. If we were writing for Visual Merchandising, we would critique lighting, displays, flow, and setup. If we were writing for textiles, maybe we could compare how the same fiber was used for various peices of clothing.

Those were my two favorite classes as a Fashion Merchandising Major. But perhaps the easiest class for the easiest degree was Accessories. Yes, you read that right, Accessories. I literally took a class to learn about jewelry, belts, gloves, umbrellas, shoes, hats, and even sunglasses. We learned everything from how to knot a four-in-hand, to what a Bolton Thumb was.

So, now, my "job" is essentially what I went to school for (finally!) I go shopping, and then I write about it. After setting aside $40.00 for the cleaning lady this week, and $20.00 for the Fun Dollars Summer Challenge, I was left with $40.00. If you look at my previous balance, that leaves me with just $5.00 left for the pay cycle.

$4.00 of that went to new "fancy" flip flops. I had two pairs of flip flips when I started the summer. One of them was already two years old, and they were my "fancy" pair. The sparkles were falling off, and even though they still worked, structurally speaking, their appearance was starting to look shabby. Mama doesn't  do shabby; I'll do thrifty, but never shabby. Shabby and Frumpy are best friends, and if one is hanging around, the other one will join soon.

The New Fancy Flip Flops
So that left me with the task of only having to replace my gold, glittery "fancy" flip flops, the ones I wore to church or out to eat. When I went shopping at Target earlier this week, I happened upon a pair of gold, cushy, "fancy" flip flops on clearance for $4.00! Bingo! They came home and the old pair went to Goodwill.

Somehow, during my spending this week, I managed to have 2 $1.00 bills in my purse. It turns out, with all the dietary restrictions I have imposed, none of my regular "treats" were available to me, which is what I usually end up buying when I have less than $5.00 left. I passed Circle K, dreaming about an afternoon fountain soda. I drove right on past Wendy's, ignoring my craving for a medium Frosty. I waved at Burger King, saying, "Sorry, french fries!" and I thought, "it's harder to spend $2.00 than I thought."

After cruising through Goodwill for a second day in a row (yesterday, I filled up a bag of clothes for the kids for $15.00, but it wasn't Fun Dollars), I took a step back. "Why am I so desperate to rid myself of these two dollar bills?" I pushed Lily in the stroller down the covered walkway from Goodwill to Bell's Outlet, blindly following my urge to purge.

When I walked in, I thought, "Surely I can find something to use for $2.00 in this store." I started in the jewelry section. I almost picked out a trio of classy gold earrings. Then I remembered, I had spent the past three days squinting into the sunlight because my sunglasses are MIA. I walked to the very edge of the store, the dark corner, where they hide the clearance accssories. It was there that the light on my face glowed brighter than it had all day. I stared down at a mangled, tangled mess of clearance sun glasses ready for the hunt.

I systematically dug through an pulled out everything that was under $4.00. I had been keeping my coins from my purchases in my purse instead of emptying them out in the family coin jar. (Yes, I know I'm cheating...) I found six pairs of sunglasses that were actual possibilities, and not outrageously hideous. Out of all of them, two actually looked decent on me. They were the same price, so I chose the more comfortable of the two. With my two paper dollars, and my coins, I paid for them with the last remaining tidbits of my Fun Dollars. And I left a business card on the register ;)

"Fancy" flip flops at Target- $4.00
Sunglasses at Bell's Outlet- $2.00 (+ $1.00 in coins)
Balance this pay cycle- $60.00 (earmarked for future expenses.)
Happy Spending!

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