Sneaky Stores – Savvy Shopper

Thursday, October 21, 2010

frugal shopping
Department stores may have dozens of ways to trick shoppers into spending more than they normally would, as described in this Daily Finance article , but they haven’t fooled this savvy shopper. Traveling down my path to a more frugal lifestyle full of experiences rather than stuff I have learned to spot these tricks and have a few of my own up my sleeve as well.

I rarely shop major malls any more. I usually buy only what I need rather than trendy “want” items. And, when I do purchase items I favor second-hand or thrift stores over department or specialty stores. I’ve recently discovered the last Friday of the month sales at the Salvation Army in my sisters town. Each time I’ve been I’ve found wonderful quality clothing, house wares and furniture.

I’m not much of a designer brand person. I would never pay those outrageous prices for a pair of jeans. But, if I can find good quality garments for a few dollars who cares whose name is on the tag. The greater point is to find items that will last for several seasons or several years. And that’s what I’ve done. On my last trip I found 3 pairs of Coldwater Creek jeans, in excellent condition, for $3 each; Land’s End long-sleeved t-shirts, great for wearing under my wool sweaters, for $1.50, a large ceramic mixing bowl for $2, 30-feet of garden fencing that will be perfect around new transplants or emerging seeds for $4, and an emersion blender, ideal for making pureed soups, fruit butters and of course smoothies, for $3.

But, my savvy shopping doesn’t stop there.

Ever get those $10 off cards or coupons in the mail or stuck to the Sunday paper? Well – if you’re a savvy shopper you can use them to your advantage, get what you need and not pay much (or anything) at all. I get them all the time and now have a few family members and friends that save them for me as well. I always carry a list of small items I need for the house.

The trick is to have a list of items that are priced at $10 or just over. Wait for the coupons to come out and then buy only one of those items with each coupon. If they don’t have the item you’re looking for – walk out of the store. Don’t wander around trying to find a replacement. Retailers know the longer a consumer is in the store the more likely they are to make a purchase. In the last month or so I’ve been able to buy four seasonal pillar candles ($.84); two short-sleeved t-shirts ($1.30); a package of sport socks (free); a scarf (free) and leather gloves for my thrift store raincoat ($4), and a frame for my daughters county fair picture ($1.69). Not bad. Not bad at all.

It’s a game and I’m playing it the best I can. Why spend good money on things that don’t matter? Why should I care what brand of jeans I wear while cleaning the garden or working the sheep. The truth is I don’t; don’t care to spend money on those things when it could go towards new livestock, our spring seed order or new equipment.

So, come on, folks. Play the game with me. See how much you can save. See how frugal you can become.

Creative Commons License photo credit: chocolategirl64

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