Bargain Shopping! I consider it a talent I have --if I am the queen of anything, then I am the queen of a bargain. Caring for a big family, this is a skill that has kept us afloat all these years. It kills me to pay full price for something and believe me, I can find a deal if there is one to be had. So often people ask me "How do you do find these bargains?" So I have decided to do two things: First, I am going to share Deal Alerts with you and secondly, I will give you a few tips that might help you.
Tip #1: If it is on sale, it is not necessarily a bargain. 30% off is not a bargain. 50% off is a bargain if it is an essential item that you would have to purchase anyway (i.e. shampoo, dish soap, etc..) 75% off is the price to pay if it is a non essential but something that you could use (like my recent rug and comforter sets for the kids at 75% off at Target. Don't get caught up in the clearance tags--really take a look at what kind of a deal you are getting and if this item will save you money in the long run. If something is a great deal and I know that someone else would really appreciate it even though I can't use it, I often buy it and give it away or donate it to families in need. And donate forget to look in the meat section at stores, I recently purchased Paula Deen ham that were normally $30 for $8. You can get lots of deals on meat that is nearly it's sell by date--but that isn't the only reason it gets clearanced out. Both the meat and frozen foods department have only limited storage space in the back and sometimes they just need the room and so they will drastically reduce prices.
Tip #2: My favorite stores are Target, Goodwill and Salvation Army. Because I like deep discounts before it appeals to me, Target is always a good bet. I look ahead when I shop. This may not be practical if you aren't buying for a large family, but I can always count on the fact that we will need last minute birthday gifts for the kids to bring to a party, for example. I always scan the end caps at target for toothpaste, deoderant, light bulbs, etc... At Goodwill and Salvation most often the things I purchase there are clearance stuff from Walmart or Target that has made it all the way there. Sometimes they charge more for the items than you could pay at the retail stores, so watch your prices.
Tip #3: Even Sam's club and Costco have clearance items and they are not clearly marked. But when they put something on clearance, they are usually practically giving them away. I have purchase wonderful winter blankets and comforters for $4, huge bottles of dishwashing liquid for 23 cents a bottle, lysol disenfectant wipes for $1 for 4 tubs as well as food items for a fraction of the costs because they were considered "seasonal." The items are usually kept in the aisles and you just have to watch all the prices as you walk down each row. You may be surprised at what you can find!
Tip #4 Outlet malls are not that great a deal. If you shop for clearance finds within the outlet mall stores, you can get deals. But, the majority of items in outlet malls are found at about the same price as retail stores. Always watch your prices!
Tip #5 If you are a perfectionist, my motto is "Let it go.." All of our appliances are scratch and dent models. Check best buy or appliance smart. Best buy will have their scratch and dent models with prices significantly reduced and they still offer their warranties. Our fridge is dented, our double oven had a dent on the side (you can't see it!) and our 2nd fridge in the basement has a dent in the front (okay, so the handle does fall off every now and then, but it is our 2nd fridge.) They way I see it if you buy things with dents in them already, when the kids add new dents to your new appliances, it doesn't cause nearly as much stress in your life! So if you can let go of everything matching, or finding the "perfect" match to your china, you can save yourself alot of money!
Tip #6 Embrace an eclectic style. I love my home. I feels warm and inviting to me. I have antiques, shabby chic items, and modern things. I love the mismatched style we have created. I will take some pictures to show you. It is much easier to find something really cheap that goes with an eclectic style than it is to get hung up on getting everything to match.
Tip #7 Online shopping can provide you with some great deals. I buy many items from Land's end online. There quality is good and they sell "not quite perfect" merchandise that is just perfect for us. Also, if you like Coldwater Creek, their clearance events are great! Most items will be at 80-90% off and there is often alot to choose. I will let you know when I see the next big sale.
So here is DEAL ALERT #1: I was at Target today and all the valentines stuff is marked down. No surprise to most of you--but if you plan ahead for next year, you can save some money--at least cake mixes are 50%--you can always use those in a pinch.
Energy efficient light bulbs in a 3 and 4 packs are 50%. You can find them in the back where they put seasonal items--several items back there are things you would use everyday and are marked at 50%. You could wait until things go 75% but the most practical things don't always stick around that long.
Also, there are still comforters/curtains/bathroom accessories at 75% off left. Full size comforters work just fine on twin beds. I'll post some pictures!
I'll let you know when I find some more deals out there.