Category Archives: Shopping

Cobblers! (Not the Peach Variety)

In my cheapskate research, I’ve learned a lot about BEING NICE TO MY STUFF! I grew up a rough and tumbly kid, who didn’t really care about my looks (but now, I’m SOOOO Hollywood).  I never really cared about my shoes, until I started ruining the ones I loved.  And living in NYC for 9 years, I wore down a LOT of shoes.  I was always sad to see another pair bite the dust – and then had to go on a search for another pair of uber-cheapies that I prayed wouldn’t give me blisters or longingly look at the $100 of leather boots that I hoped would go on sale one day…and have my size…

So, I got a tip from my new pal Erin Gibson (who is a fantastic, affordable, and incredibly entertaining photographer) http://encphotography.com/ – she recommended Willie’s Shoe Repair (or as I lovingly refer to it as Willie’s Cobbler).

I meandered into Willie’s on Wednesday in hopes that Willie could fix my beat up boots, my beat up shoes, a broken hand bag, and rubberize my dance shoes (that’s right, rubberize my soles).  I don’t know if Willie is a real person, but a kind gentleman named Raoul helped me out (in a dashing mustache no less).

Here’s how it broke down.

Boots: I paid $30 at TJ Maxx 4 years ago

Repair: $40 for new heels.

This is a tough one.  Raoul told me they were good Frye boot replicas (which run about $200-$300).  Frye’s are a really, really good quality boot made of leather and whatever else they use in shoes.  Mine were mostly plastic and paint.  Since I don’t have the moola to commit to Frye’s, I have to choose.  Either I can get the heel fixed for $40 or I found an upgrade of the same boots for $50 at Target.  I may just meander to Target and see how they looks.  To be continued…

Shoes:  $35 bought on sale in Portland 6 years ago

Repair:  $30 for new heels

I tried looking for a replacement for these shoes (Indigo by Clarkes – cutest!), but they are nowhere to be found.  I think I’m going to get them repaired because I still wear them a lot.

Dance Shoes:  $65 on sale 2 months ago

Rubberizing:  $25

This is a necessary evil, so I don’t slip on stage!  My shoes came with the matching rubber, but he is going to reinforce the heel with super rubber (not the real name, but that’s how I remember it).

Bag:  Gift one year ago

Repair:  $15

I LOVE this bag.  I put too much crap in it and tore one of the handles.  It seems a little much, but this is a straight-up carpet bag that none of my household needle are fighting through.   I’m glad I’m getting it fixed before it gets worse.

Cheapskate lesson: I got to speak to Raoul for a couple of minutes about shoe repair and upkeep.  He told me if I had come in a little earlier for my boots and shoes (before they were crooked nubs) the repair would have been cheaper AND the repair itself would last longer.  The heels have gotten to a point where I will probably have to bring them more often because the rubber will wear down.

He equated shoe care to car care (Another thing I’m trying to get adjusted to).  You have to change your oil and check the fluids.  Shoes (a lot less complex than a car), you have to keep the heels and pads in good shape.  He recommended next time I get a new pair of shoes, bring them in and get the heels reinforced.

It was nice chatting with an expert who is passionate about his craft.  We got to chatting about how there are a lot of disposable shoes out there that we don’t take care of and throw away.  If I had the foresight to take care of my Payless shoes, they might actually turn out to be a good investment (that I could even pass down to a friend or Goodwill store after I get bored with them).  Now, I know I won’t go running to get every pair of shoes I own rubberized, but the next time I buy some shoes I’m going to think about:

1:  Do I really need them? (Yes=Go to #2.  No=End)

2:  Are these once a month shoes or every day shoes? (Once a month=#3.  Everyday=#4)

3:  You probably don’t need to go to the Cobbler.  However, if you start to notice some wear and tear and STILL love them, go ahead and move to #4

4:  Go to the Cobbler.  Now remember, an extra $20-$30 now can save you $50-$100 in the long-term – AND your shoes and back with love you for it.

Have you guys have positive/negative experiences with Cobblers? (by the way, ‘cobbler’ is my new favorite word)

-cheapskatewood

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DIY Gift Baskets: Things I learned from being a poor artist

Being a starving artist has its ups and downs.  Mostly, emotional ups and financial downs.  It’s tough to wake up to “hopes and dreams” and go to bed muttering “Ahhh, sleep for dinner again.”

However, this economy has certainly made it very artist friendly.  Now EVERYONE understands what it’s like to hustle day in and day out.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying THIS ECONOMIC MELTDOWN IS AWESOME.  But THIS ECONOMIC MELTDOWN IS AWESOME.

Around the holidays, it’s always embarrassing and guilt inducing asking for a plane ticket home for your Christmas present.  Then everyone insists on giving you something to open, adding to the guilt parade.  I used to spend WAY too much money at Christmas to compensate for all of the generosity and support my friends and family give me throughout the year.  Then this year, I got a card from a family member — and realized that was really all I needed from them.  I know they just had a baby and don’t have tons of money.  Call me a slow learner – but hey, I’m a late bloomer.

*Cue fountains and swell music*  Not having a lot of dough doesn’t make you a cheapskate!  It makes you creative!

*Children’s chorus enters and sings Silent Night*

My friend Paula told me what she’s giving her extended family.  She’s doing a “Cozy Night In” gift basket.  She got some mugs, hot chocolate, a bottle of wine, and a DVD.  I thought that was brilliant!  A little bit of thought goes a long way.  Especially if you have lots of performer propaganda like I do! (The Apple Sisters have a CD!  Just in time for the holidays!)

Here are some ideas:

“Pick Me Up Basket” – Some coffee, an aromatic candle or lotion, chocolate,  DVD of “Up”

“Spoil Yourself” – Manicure set, nail polish, eye pillow, bottle of wine

“Holi-boozy” – Six pack of beer, Aspirin, Snacks, “Hangover” DVD

“Propaganda” – Apple Sisters CD, some Pink Wine, a pair of tickets to the Apple Sisters, and a candy apple

Come on, I had to!

Here are some additional tips for making your own gift baskets:

*Steer clear of bubble baths.  I don’t know anyone who actually uses the bubble baths they receive.

*Use DVDs, books, and music to build a theme.

*Don’t over think it.  Pick 3-4 items and you’ll be great!

*No need to overspend!  Go to Trader Joe’s or Target and get what you need.  Wine is only $3-$4 at Trader Joe’s – and it’s good.  Unless you’re buying for a wine connoisseur, don’t sweat it.

*Make your own cookies and snacks.  This is always a nice touch.  And also good on the wallet.

That’s all from Cheapskatewood headquarters.  I’m assembling my Apple Sisters themed gifts now!!

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Cyber Monday

It’s Cyber Monday everybody! Woo hoo? I thought this would be a good time to take about shopping on the Internet.

If you’re like me, I love online shopping. It’s so easy to bargain hunt and then it shows up at my house.

However, there are some pitfalls. It only really works if you know exactly what you want, in what color and what size. And when you spend on the Internet, sometimes it doesn’t feel like ‘real’ money.

I never buy clothes or shoes online unless I’ve tried them on (I made the mistake once and received a bizarre pair of stripey jeans that sound cool, but I assure you are not).

Sooooo, for all you shoppers out there, here’s a cheapskatewood tip! If you see something in the store and you have a handy dandy new-fangled phone with the Internets, always look for the prices online. Keep in mind tax and shipping, but you might just be able to save yourself some cash. When you buy something in a store, you often pay the, what I call the “convenience tax.” “I want it now and I’ll pay anything for it!” Any big event, you’ll always get stuck with it. So, if it’s significantly cheaper on the Internet and you can wait a week, wait to buy it online.

And here’s another secret to the net. There are a LOT of coupons online. And they are relatively easy to find if you are willing to add an extra minute to your search.

I order a lot of stuff from vistaprint.com for my comedy group. Sooooo – here’s what I do. Search “Vistaprint coupons” – and a list of coupon places will show up. Couponcabin.com is pretty reliable. I can find a coupon for 50% my entire order, sometimes with free shipping every single time.

Another tip, is make a list. Just like you would make a grocery list, make a list of things you need a STICK TO IT. These marketers are good at what they do, so don’t be suckered!

Back to Cyber Monday, I found some sites called cybermonday.com and cybermonday.net (They seem legit. It’s a good reference, though I’d probably just go directly to the sellers site and double-check). I recommend checking it out. But don’t get suckered into buying something you don’t need! And don’t be intimidated by time limits. “One day only” “30 minutes left!” “Buy or DIE!” Take your time and spend your money wisely.

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