Many months ago, I was at the mall. I made the mistake of popping into Nordstrom because it was close, and because I was looking for a particular pair of shoes. The ankle boots I’d been wearing to work had seen much better days, and I had a certain look in mind. I wanted a pair of Tom’s suede wedges. I thought they would look nice with my work dresses, and still be stylish enough that I didn’t feel the frump on a regular basis.
The shoe department had a pair, but at $80, I slammed on the brakes. Then, I noticed the high top Vans sneakers. I’d thrown out my Converse just a few months before because they were in the duct tape stage. I needed shoes. I loved the Vans, but again, the price stopped me. I walked out without buying anything, but making a note that new shoes were in my future.
Seven months passed. In that time, I spent an inordinate amount of time scrolling through pages of black ankle boots on Zappos.com, 6pm.com, and shoes.com. I tried on a pair of Tom’s knockoffs at Target, but didn’t spend $40 because Target shoes never last more than a few months. I didn’t buy ANY shoes, and kept wearing a pair of heels that were a gift NINE years ago.
Finally, just before my trip to New York, my casual lace up boots decided to break apart. I wore them anyway, but it put me in shop mode AGAIN.
I obviously need new shoes.
So, since New York, I’ve been shopping. I’ve tried on twenty different pairs of ankle boots. I’ve tried on ten different pairs of high top sneakers. I’m picky, because I need a cap toe (because it will hide the inevitable crease) and I need them to last several years.
I’ve been in Macy’s, Nordstrom, Aldo, and Kohl’s. I haven’t found anything I like for work more than the Tom’s wedges. For casual shoes, the Vans are still top of the list. To replace my casual boots, I did find a pair of boots that I LOVE, but…they cost $400.
The $400 isn’t as frightening when you learn that they’re Frye Boots. I bought a pair of Frye motorcycle boots back in 2002 and I STILL wear them from time to time. I’m not as much of a motorcycle boot gal as I used to be. I want to upgrade. The $400 pair has a cap toe and will last for DECADES.
So why am I still browsing the internet, hoping to come upon something comparable, but way less expensive?
I’ve lost a lot of time to the bargain shopping in the past seven months. I haven’t found anything I like more than what I originally wanted. Yet, I still search. Because I want to be frugal.
While I was trying on ankle boots at a Famous Footwear, the sales associate mentioned that shoes are built these days to last six months tops. I don’t want to pay $60 to $80 for six month shoes.
And I didn’t like any of those boots as much as or any more than the three pairs of shoes I’ve been interested in for MONTHS.
I wish I had a way to prove that the hours I’ve spent bargain shopping were a waste of money, too. Mostly, they were a waste of time. I wasn’t looking for something better. I was looking for something that would do, but would cost less.
That’s no way to live your life.
One thing I like about the Frye Boots is that they’d be good for travel. The Tom’s would be great for work. The Vans would be my casual Spring and Fall shoes.
I don’t want to own too many pairs of shoes, but I would like to replace shoes that are falling apart. Seven months and a million other choices have not changed my mind about the shoes I wanted in the first place. If I’d trusted that impulse, I might not have needed to walk around New York with the sole of one shoe peeling away. My colleagues wouldn’t have to hear my shoes squeak as I walk down the hall.
And I wouldn’t have had to endure the frustration of so. many. options. Seriously, shopping on any online shoe site can cause selection paralysis. I always feel frustrated and sad after I’ve spent any time on one. And for what? I still don’t have new shoes!
What I’m saying is this: if you know what you want, and you know it’s a good brand and/or product, buy it. Go with that instinct. Shopping for the “best deal” can steal joy from your life. It can suck away precious time.
Buy what you wanted in the first place and spend the rest of your time enjoying your purchase.
Spend that time living instead of shopping.