Frugal Friday – Cutting the Shopping Clutter to $ave

by Tia on August 14, 2009 · 5 comments

I am a hard core “deal hunter”. When I walk into a store I instinctively make my way to the clearance sections and begin to circle, crouch and pounce on all the fabulous finds to be had. When we moved last year and I had to pack up what my family calls my “bag of tricks” aka my gift closet box(es) I knew I needed to reevaluate. The collection had grown much too large and honestly many of the items did not make much sense to become gifts for anyone I knew. A massive purge and a couple garage sales solved the temporary problem and replaced the money I had wastedspent but my mind set also needed the same overhaul. Especially since I start Christmas Shopping in July. Here are the qualifications a new “good gift deal” needs to have to make it into my cart.

The Item Must Have a Purpose- Even if the purpose is as vague as an emergency birthday gift for a child the same age(s) as my kids – it has to have a purpose. In my old box 75% and 90% off sales at Target had encouraged me to by odds and ends like chop stix and hair accessories I would never wear or gift. Just because it is a dime or a quarter does not make it a must have.

Know What You Already Have- If there are already 3 emergency gifts in the closet for a 5-6 yr old boy I do not need to add to the collection. If it is a gift for a specific person and I already have their gift I have to decided if I want to replace said gift with the new one and deal with the return. If the answer is no — then I don’t purchase the new find.

Write it Down- I always used to think I would remember what I had bought threw out the year but a Christmas of never ending wrapping and then never ending opening of said gifts straightened me out quickly. Now I keep an inventory that is started when I first start shopping. No more over buying or over giving.

Don’t Let The Price Influence You- Even if it is just $5.00 it is $5.00 you earned! This is probably the hardest for me because I am not frugal by nature and I love a great deal. Last year I saw a $60.00 Bumble Bee (my favorite Transformer) mp3 speaker for just $8.00. My kids like Transformers almost as much as I do did as a kid but the ones who would appreciate the Transformer do not have an MP3 player. Walk away from the Transformer Tia. Whew!

Re-Evaluate The Cart Before You Pay- I often decide by the time I spend a little time with an item in my cart that is was not as wonderful as I first thought. I always re-eval the cart before I head to the check out and put back any items that are not making the cut. Walking the items back also gives me time to continue rethinking the purchases and I have even left the store with nothing! The employees might think I am a little crazy but that is ok.

I still walk directly to the clearance sections when I enter a store but as I am finishing up most of my holiday shopping for the year I am keeping things real, staying in budget and not experiencing buyers remorse. For a great article on when a deal is NOT a deal check out Corrie’s article and for more Frugal Friday ideas visit Life As Mom.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

The Happy Housewife August 14, 2009 at 3:55 am

Great, great post! I shop for Christmas starting in July too, and one year had way too much stuff by December because I had lost track! I think I will keep a list in my notebook so I don’t over buy again this year.

Corrie @ "Cents"able Momma August 14, 2009 at 5:46 am

Great tips, Tia! My husband thinks I have way too many gifts stockpiled already…so I walked away from a great deal at Meijer last week. At the time it was hard…but I’m glad I did now :-). Thanks for the link, too!

niki August 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

Great post! It is easy to get carried away, especially when you “think” you are saving.


Stop by and see me over at Free2BeFrugal!

Buffie August 14, 2009 at 8:12 am

Great post. I’m going through purging my stock pile now since we’re planning to move soon. I’m amazed at how much out of date food I have and other products that we will probably never use. I’ve sold some of them at yard sales and passed others on to friends and family that can use them. Oh and I trashed the expired stuff. I hated seeing the waste of throwing out unopened stuff that was now expired. So now I plan to be much more diligent about only buying items we will use and I will also be starting an inventory system to help me keep track of what we have. So if we already have 15 jars of spaghetti sauce I don’t need to buy any more.

Erin August 14, 2009 at 3:11 pm

oh I love it! You have me figured out don’t you. and I know you wrote this just to me. Ok I admit it. Its time to stop buying even the best of deals until I get organized and figure out what I have and what I need. What a concept ‘write it down’. Who would have thought ;-)

Great post Tia! Thanks I really needed this.

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