Okay, I'm kidding. There are many ways I earn my keep. Including earning actual money. But I've found that with a bit of Internet surfing, phone schmoozing, and creativity, a savvy housewife can almost always get what she needs for less.
I'm only partly kidding when I tell the kids that my true partner in this family is our washing machine. We run a couple loads a day. I love fresh sheets and towels, and nothing takes the wind out of your sails like a paucity of clean undies. Our beloved washer broke down this week, was fixed, but survived only one load before needing a bigger fix. Our favorite repairman said he would order the necessary part, and it would arrive in ten days.
My mission: Find the part cheaper and faster.
1. I get online and find the part at Sears. Now I have the exact part number and a baseline price for comparison.
2. I start googling local parts stores. I'd be willing to drive an hour or two to any warehouse with just one of these things. When one person tells me they don't have it, I ask, "Do you have any ideas who else I could call?" I end up calling about five different places. I find it greases the wheels on these phone calls to sound friendly and a little bit hick. For example, I was about to say, "I'm trying to procure a part" but stopped myself and said, "I'm trying to get my hands on a part." It's also helpful to give an impression of knowledge and competence by knowing specifics like the model number, part name, etc.
3. I finally speak with someone who checks the inventory of "the largest distributor in the US and Canada" and on each of his 14 trucks. He not only fails to find my part locally, he tells me his price is $60 more than the price at Sears. Okay then, Sears it is.
4. Before I click "Place Order," I google "Sears discount code." It's a long shot, but hey, sometimes it works. The second code I try gets me $12.83 off my order.
5. I use my happy discount to justify paying a premium for expedited shipping. The part should arrive Monday.
Mark and I are going to try to install the part ourselves on Monday night. If that doesn't work, we have an appointment for our favorite repairman to come on Tuesday. I appears we'll be able to avoid a laundry-induced Lord of the Flies meltdown. Just don't spill juice on your favorite jeans.