Move over Carrie Bradshaw, and say hello to the new shoe shopper in town: The Squirreler! Yes, it’s shoe shopping time and I’m interested in getting some shoes sometime in the next week.
That’s the only similarity, truth be told, between myself and the fictional shoe-obsessed character from Sex in the City. First off, I’m a guy and she’s most certainly not. Second, I actually don’t care for shoe shopping at all, unlike the Bradshaw personality from the show. To the latter point, I view shoe shopping as a step above taking out the garbage:) Basically, to me it’s a necessity that must be taken care of but one that I want to spend as little time as possible doing.
Right now, there are two types of shoes I need to buy:
- Black Shoes. I have a pair of black shoes that I wear to work that are nice shoes, but getting worn down. I don’t have a backup pair of black shoes, and need a really good pair for the professional life, so it’s time to buy ones. I’ve worn these for the last 3 or 4 years.
- Gym Shoes. All of a sudden, I noticed that the ones I have been wearing for a while now have a few holes in them! Didn’t realize they were in need of replacement, but they’ve just broken down so quickly, and are more worn than any gym shoe I have had in the last 20 years. I’ve worn these for the last 3 years.
Of course I have other shoes as well, and they’re in decent shape. But this episode made me realize that it’s been at least 2 years since I bought a pair of shoes of any kind.
So, this got me thinking about how often I actually buy shoes. It really does depend on the year, but I’d say I buy about 2 pairs of shoes each year on average. Again, that could mean 3 this year and 1 next year, or some other combination, but I’d estimate that I’m buying 2 per year in recent years. I could probably cut costs elsewhere and pick up one more each year, but it’s worked out fine so far.
I will say this: I don’t always buy low cost shoes. The black shoes for business will easily set me back $120 I would expect. I find that good professional-looking shoes that last will cost some money, and I think it’s worth the investment. The same could be said for the gym shoes, but I don’t want to spend more than $50 for those. So overall, I might be looking at $170 for the year on shoes.
Now, I realize that men’s shoe needs might be different than women’s. Being simpler creatures, we have simpler societal expectations of us in terms of shoes to match different outfits. My guess has always been that women, on average, absolutely legitimately need to buy a few more pairs than that per year
This all reminds me of a person with whom I worked a few years back, who I mentioned in Squirreling Gone Wild #6. She was one of the people in that story who went nuts over free food in the office, and took advantage to the point that she claimed that she only spent around $100 per month on food due to all the free stuff she took home. As far as I know, this was without any extreme couponing being used!
I had been mostly amused but somewhat impressed by her ability to seize opportunities to save money and to focus on savings. There seemed to be no intent to stop saving. However, that all ended when she once brought up the topic of her shoe shopping. She told me about how she saved a fair amount of money on some shoes she had purchased over one weekend, and I responded by saying that’s great but that’s what I spend on shoes each year. Her good natured laughing response was that I don’t get it. She then told me that she averaged a new pair of shoes every weekend!
Yes, that’s right. She bought a new pair of shoes almost every weekend!
That comes out to 52 shoes per year!
I never realized that I was talking to a kindred spirit of Imelda Marcos J
It was an “a-ha” moment that totally changed my original perception of her as this total frugalista. The reality was that she cut expenses to the bone in one area so she could spend more in another. Simple as that.
She proceeded to tell me that it’s different for women than for men with shoes, since men notice what women wear and that men are more “visual” than women in relationships.
Hmmm…I thought (and might have said). What I wanted to say but didn’t was “trust me. If men are looking at you, they aren’t looking at your shoes and don’t’ care about them nearly as much as other things”
I’m no expert, but I suspect that women might notice the shoes a man is wearing moreso than a man would notice the shoes a woman is wearing. We probably aren’t quick-minded enough to notice such details.
And besides, nobody needs 52 new pairs of shoes per year!
My take is that a “typical” man might need a few new pairs of shoes each year and a “typical” woman might legitimately need few more than that or perhaps twice as many. That makes sense to me, though admittedly it’s based to some degree on life experiences at home, in addition to random conversations and observations.
This is, if there is such a thing as a typical person, anyway 🙂
That gets me to my questions:
- How many pairs of shoes do you buy per year? If you want to share dollar value, that’s cool too!
- How do you think shoe needs of women and men legitimately differ? Am I on the right track with the numbers and ratios?