I love family reunions. My cousins are bold and brassy. They’re loud, and quick with a funny story. They’re also cheap. At a New Year’s Day reunion last week, we swapped tales of extreme penny-pinching. One of my cousins told this story, which I thought was hilarious.

A couple of years ago, my cousin Mart decided to buy a new pair of boots. On his way to the Oregon Coast, he stopped by the Wilco Farm Store in Oregon City to see if they had anything in his size. He wears size 9-1/2 Extra Wide, and can’t always find the shoes he needs.

As it happened, they did have a pair in his size. These boots normally cost $159, but they were a special order that had never been claimed. Because the store couldn’t sell them, they marked them down to $60.

Mart, being from a long line of penny pinchers, was quick to point out to the cashier that the store was having a sale: $50 off all Justin boots. “So I owe you $10, right?” he asked. The cashier was hesitant, but went to check with her manager. In the end, Mart got the boots for $10.

The whole weekend at the coast, Mart was pleased with his shopping prowess. He told the story to his family, and everyone got a kick out of it.

On the drive home, he decided to stop by the store again to see if he could find another good deal. Sure enough, he found a pair of size 6 Justin boots marked at $50. “I thought I was going to walk out of there with those boots for free and just give them to one of my nephews,” he told me at the family reunion.

When he went to the cash register to pay, he was greeted by the same woman he’d dealt with a few days previously. She frowned when Mart suggested that because these boots were marked at $50, and because all Justin boots were $50 off, that he should get them for free. She went to talk to her manager. But before she could get very far, another checker stepped in to say that these boots were an exception — they were already marked down.

Mart made a good-natured fuss. Ultimately, the store agreed to sell him the boots for $25. He gave them to a nephew.

Mart ended his story on a sad note. “After I bought those boots, I couldn’t wear them,” he sighed. “They had too much of an arch. I had to give them to my brother, Scott.” And that’s how my penny-pinching cousin Mart got two pairs of Justin boots for $35, but ended up with nothing.

At Tuesday’s reunion, I also learned that another cousin recently moved with her husband and nine of her eleven children to 100 acres in Oklahoma. The catch? There were no buildings on the land when they bought it. The entire family is currently living in a hastily constructed 16 foot by 40 foot building with no running water. Not all of their siblings think this is a Good Thing, but I think it sounds adventurous.

This article is about Frugality, Funny Money, Real-Life