Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bargain Hunter

Bargain tip #1: Buy things when you don't need them.

This might seem like a recipe for disaster, clutter and over spending but this rule is what has saved me a lot of money. I will admit that this takes a little bit of planning and foresight... but it is WELL worth it. For example, in the early spring of 2007 my son was a year and a half and I stumbled on the deal of the century at JC Penney. They were offering half off of all of their sale prices on the winter clothes in the infant/toddler section of the store. I ended up buying all of my son's winter clothes in 2T and 3T sizes for $1 each!!! Pants = $1, long sleeve shirts = $1.... there were a few things that I spent $2 & as much as $3 on (I know, that's breaking the bank), but the majority of what I bought was literally for $1 a piece. Now, my son wouldn't be wearing any of these close for at least 6 months and I would be storing the 3T sizes for 1.5 years or better BUT, how could I pass that up?!?!?!?!? I couldn't buy clothes at a thrift store for that little and these were brand new clothes. So, plan for the future... upcoming birthdays, holidays, seasons... I buy birthday and holiday gifts sometimes a year in advance, if the deal is right.
The first reason that this is my number one rule is because of Clearance items. Clearance items are always better than Sale items because the store is eliminating the Clearance items to make way for new merchandise. Because the new merch. is worth more to the store, they are willing to discount the older merchandise low enough to get it out the door. That is opposed to Sale items that are usually on a temporary (small) discount pretty much just to lure you into the store. Now, Clearance items will generally be on the off season, so like the J.C. Penney sale that I scored above, you have to buy when you don't need them so you will be saving more money.
The second reason that this is my number one rule is because you are generally willing to pay more for something that you need. So if you are shopping for a black purse, for instance, you are probably going to be willing to pay a higher amount than you would if you just happen to stumble onto a black purse that you didn't necessarily need, but the price was too good to pass up.

With that said here is another example of some sweet deals that I have scored recently.

It all started with a belt. I am not usually a belt wearer... but last year I found this mustard belt on sale at Target for some crazy price like $1.50 or $2.00. I had no idea what I was going to do with this belt, but I liked it and for $2.00 (at most) it was worth the risk that I might never wear it.
So flash forward to about 2 weeks ago and I am in Old Navy and find this cute black and white muumuu style dress. I didn't have time to work out the logistics of how I am going to wear this dress at the store but I bought it any way. It is clearly a summer/strapless/knee length dress and I bought it in the middle of winter... I think the original price was $29.99 and I paid about $7 for it. When I got home and had more time, I tried it on and it is pretty shapeless, as muumuus tend to be. I am not the best at putting outfits together and I was instantly racking my brain trying to come up with a decent way to wear this dress. Then the mustard belt popped into my head and it was instantly like, "Whaaaahhlaaaaaaa." Perfect.
However, now I needed a shoe to go with. I own maybe 10 pairs of shoes (not including my insane collection of flip flops) and none of them would work with this outfit. I envisioned mustard or black flats.... I preferred the mustard color but I figured that black would work in a pinch... both of which I didn't have. So I started a quest for a mustard pair of flats, breaking my number one rule to not 'buy when you need something'. And proving my point, I was much more willing to succumb to a higher price because I actually had an outfit to wear them with. I looked at all my go-to merchants; Target, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters. The only shoe that I found was this one and Urban Outfitters.
The color is more of an ochre and a little duller than I was looking for... but it would work... but I wasn't crazy about spending $29 for a pair of shoes, especially since I am only going to wear them with one outfit.
So on my way from Target (my favorite store), I stopped into Famous Footwear, a store that I don't ever venture in. I quickly scanned the top of the shelves for a mustard shoe, (not-a-one)then I bee-lined it right to the sale rack. This was a shot in the dark... not only is a mustard flat going to be hard to find in general, but I wear a size 10 shoe!!! I know, huge. And because of this, I am very limited especially in the sale isles. But the shoe gods must have been on my side on this particular occasion because there was only one mustard flat pair of shoes on any of the sale racks and it was in a size 10..... for $15!!!!!

The best part is that they match my belt perfectly!!!! (side note: I am not crazy about the pleather bow thing on the top of the shoe so I might cut it off and find a craftier embellishment) For the record: I completely lucked out even though I did break my #1 rule!!!! :-) Happy shopping!

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