My 13-year-old son is so excited about the prospect of being taller than me, I think he’s going to bake a cake when he actually reaches this milestone. Unfortunately, he’ll have to do it barefoot because his feet have grown to the point of bursting out of his current footwear.
The footwear issue has been at a critical point with him for a few months. The hiking boots haven’t fit since last summer, the soccer cleats are a full size too small, and the wrestling shoes were pinching his feet at the end of the season. The sneakers still fit, but only because we bought them two months ago. He’s been wearing them for everything: hiking, soccer, lawn mowing, and general day-to-day activities. As you can imagine, they’re pretty beat.
Saying he needs new footwear is easy. Finding the money in the budget, not so much.
Have you seen the prices on sneakers, boots, and cleats these days? Ouch. There’s not much out there for less than $50. When we’ve got three or four pairs of footwear to buy for one family member, it’s tricky to make it work without relying on credit.
Thankfully, it’s possible with a few, smart strategies. Here’s what I did, including the savings strategies I tried that didn’t work for me this time, to find three pairs of athletic shoes for $105, including shipping.
No Last Minute Shopping
The crucial time for soccer cleats is coming up fast. I knew if I didn’t find something soon, I’d be buying out of my price range. I prefer to have a couple of weeks or a month to search to increase the chances of significant savings.
The first thing I do when I need any kind of sports equipment is check Craig’s List. I’ve found surprisingly good deals on footwear and other items. The caveat is they’re gently used. I don’t mind, but, this time, none of the things we needed were listed.
I stuck a coupon for footwear in my wallet and was excited I actually might be able to use it before it expired. The Olympia Sports coupon was worth 10% off footwear, including clearance items. While I’ve found great clearance deals at Olympia Sports before, this time there was nothing in our price range, even with the discount.
Use the Internet
Finally, I struck gold in an on-line clearance section when I found a pair of hiking boots for $25 at JCP with free shipping. The clearance page was a bust for cleats, so I moved on to other stores and used search parameters to sort the selections by the lowest price. When a store had nothing in my budget, I moved on to the next one.
Save More Money Before Finalizing Orders
Eventually, I found cleats that fit my kid’s feet and my budget, but I knew I wasn’t done.
It was time to compare prices on-line with other stores. I did a general search for the brand and style of shoe I was buying. Page one of my search showed a list of retailers selling the same thing for various prices. I didn’t find a lower price, but occasionally I do, so the few minutes are worth the effort.
My next stop before ordering was Retail Me Not, an on-line coupon site. I often find free shipping deals or coupon codes that will save several dollars on my Internet purchases. This time was no exception
The soccer cleats I found were on sale at Sports Authority’s web store. With Retail Me Not’s help, I got an extra 15% off the sale price of $39.99. That paid for most of the shipping and made the cleats affordable for my family.
Though we have a few months to find wrestling shoes, he still needed a pair of sneakers that wasn’t grass stained for daily wear. Back in Internet search mode, I found a pair of running shoes on sale at Dick’s for $39.98 with free shipping. All together, I spent $105.96, not counting tax, for three pairs of shoes. Not bad, right?
Any day now, he’ll be ready to bake that cake and he’ll have a well-fitting pair of shoes to wear when he does. The cool thing is, we’ll still be able to afford the ingredients.