Monday, October 28, 2013

Frugal Moms: Meet Your Worst Enemy

Spoiler alert: It's me versus Target in the battle for frugality, and She's winning. (Yes, I just referred to Target using a female pronoun. I feel that Target has a distinctly female personality. If Target were to be cast in a movie, She would be played by Meryl Streep, who would resurrect her character in "The Devil Wears Prada" almost exactly, except the title of the movie would be "The Devil Wears A Cute Little Sundress Printed with Cherries and OMG It's Also on Clearance for Like $27!")

Target is a dangerous, dangerous place for a gal on a budget. I went in last weekend (more specifically, I waddled in, because I am third-trimester humong-o, and my stride has begun resembling that of a penguin with blistered toes. I wish humans were amphibious and I could just swim places.) Anyhoo, I can't find my winter hat; I think it might be lost for good in the black hole that is my basement. My ears have started voicing concerns about frostbite, and I got myself a hankerin' for a Target Field Trip.

The first rule of a Target field trip is not to take your husband, unless he is equally into pulling random clothing from hangers and exclaiming, "Oh my gosh, I've totally been dying for a sweater in this color!" Husbands, in my experience, are not likely to agreeably gush over a striped, slate-gray cardigan, especially if it's the 16th thing you've pulled off the rack in the first thirteen minutes of your trip, and you aren't there to look at sweaters, you're there to get a hat, and the women's clothing section isn't even near the hat section (which he won't find out 'til you tell him later, another revelation that is unlikely to make him rejoice).

Luckily for me, my friend Hannah came over this weekend. And Hannah, like yours truly, believes Target to be like an amusement park for the materialistic side of your personality. You know, the side that usually lurks beneath a heavy curtain of frugality but occasionally likes to come out and ride the roller-coaster of "Should I buy it? Should I not buy it? It's on clearance!"

So we went. She parked the car beneath the sign with its glossy promises of how we could Expect More! And Pay Less! (You'll notice there is no qualifier there--pay less than where? Because the Hubs definitely wanted me to get my hat at a thrift store.) Hannah walked and I waddled in, breathily gasping for her to slow down just a smidge (you quite tall, non-pregnant, speed-walking woman on a mission, you).

And oh! The bright lights! The shiny packaging! The posters of gorgeous people frolicking around in Isaac Mizrahi! All of them are always laughing, except in the men's section, where they're staring at you like you are Scarlett Johanssen, and tugging at the collars of their $29.99 fleece pullovers.

You can't get to anything in Target without passing absolutely everything else. This is the sheer genius of that sly Meryl-Streep-y fox. You can't look at hats without looking at the scarves that hang seductively below them. You can't look at the scarf-and-hat combo in the mirror without noticing the earrings that glitter beneath those sparkling lights, and gosh-darned if the earrings don't totally make that look. And you can't go and ask your friend what she thinks about the scar-hat-earrings combo without seeing that peacock-blue-colored pea coats are on sale, just when peacock happens to be your favorite color, not to mention your daughter's second favorite animal, and if that's not fate, I don't know what is.

The absolute most dangerous thing in Target is that one section right by the entrance of the store: the cheap crap for a buck section. I stinkin' love cheap crap for a buck. I could spend 1/48th of my day ogling cheap crap for a buck. It's always rotating! It's always holiday-themed! On my most recent trip, I purchased googly eyes and also a package of fall-themed stickers, because I am biologically incapable of going to Target without buying something for my toddler, even if she's not there whining for it. I narrowly avoided buying the following:

  • a package of magnets with seemingly hand-drawn leaves and pumpkins and cups of steaming coffee on them, printed with such soul-soothing revelations as: "Autumn warmth."
  • a packet of stickers with "rosemary" and "basil" and "oregano" printed in script, which is of course like an endangered animal in this computer age. (I mean, do you remember how to make a cursive S?)
  • a skull-shaped container of orange nail polish. 
  • a piece of felt cut into the shape of a pumpkin. I seriously spent five minutes trying to figure out what I could possibly do with a die-cut felt pumpkin (craft pumpkin puppet? create educational pumpkin activity?). Alas, my creativity ran short, and also I was tired of standing up. So that was the end of that.
In all, I left with a teensy-tiny bag of Target purchases that still ended up costing $44.73. No matter how tiny the Target bag you leave with, you will always, always have a bit of a shock at the register.


  1. This is great Beth. If you don't want to be tempted by Target anymore, you could just move to Vermont. There are none in the entire state...

  2. hahahaha! I LOVE/HATE the cheap crap for a BUCK section! It gets me every time. At first I thought it was a good thing when we moved almost 2 hours away from the closest Target...but now I've noticed I go in there and get in this weird panick of "I have to circle the ENTIRE store because I won't step inside these doors for another year!"

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