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.

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