Okay…now, I am no Almighty D when it comes to bargain shopping (seriously, she walks out of Target, Rite Aid, the grocery store with a land yacht full of stuff for $10 – I should call her Almighty D, the shopping goddess) but I have developed a few edicts for shopping throughout the last few years. I am going to share them with you now because it’s a better story than “I just went to Nordstrom for another industrial strength bra”.*
First, I love coupons. I am a geek with my purple plastic envelope full of them. (Speaking of coupons, I just sent my brother and his wife an envelope full of diaper and formula coupons – act surprised, Bill!). Right after I hand over my Store discount card, I also shove over the coupons I want the cashier to apply mostly because I get so excited and/or horrified watching the total that I would forget if I waited.
Second, I have a list of items that I Will No Longer Buy Full Price. This includes soda, paper towels, health and beauty items, laundry stuff, condiments and basic staples. Yes, I will literally go without diet soda if I haven’t bothered to stock up on any when it’s on sale. Alternatively, yes, I will live in a house with 6 or more 12 packs of Diet Cherry Pepsi (it’s really not THAT many) when it’s on sale for buy 2, get 3 free. I try to combine store sales and coupons whenever possible.
Third, when I’m shopping on the internet, I have learned that www.ebates.com and www.bing.com are my best friends. I am still kicking myself for not using Ebates when I booked my flights to Malaysia back in 2008 – 1% would have been a nice chunk of $. I started off using Ebates but lately I’ve had better luck with Bing cash back. I also love Slickdeals.net – the people in those forums are crafty (like D). When I’m excited about a tube of toothpaste for $1, they’re annoyed they can’t get it for free. Plus, they have sources for finding out the drug store ads weeks ahead of time, which is great (until I get to the store and think, HEY why isn’t soap on sale??? and realize it’s on sale in July – sigh).
Fourth, I am working on becoming patient and not buying stuff I don’t need. I am also trying to teach this to Gene in terms of video game prices. That said, I am glad I am usually at work on Black Friday because a day devoted to getting a low price on stuff is dangerous for me. Sometimes I think I am a dangerous shopper when I see a deal on something I absolutely do not need (example: washer/dryer set) but….aarrrgh! I still want it! The phrase “The deal will be there later” sometimes works. Other times…well, let’s put it this way: after I finish this post I’m going to scoot over to CVS and turn some Extra Care Bucks into more stuff.
Finally (because I really want to get to CVS!!), I have stopped carrying cash. Gene and I each had a sum of $ on us for the trip to Las Vegas, which made sense because we were traveling and valets, etc do not take debit cards. However, once that money is gone I’m back to plastic only. Dave Ramsey advocates getting out all your spending money (gas, groceries, etc) in cash and once that $ is gone, it’s gone. For me, it’s better to have no cash and have to explain why I went to Wendy’s for lunch. And needless to say, if I did have a ridiculous amount of cash on me, I’d just spend it on stupid things (witness my multiple McDonalds trips this week). Which is how I got the Gymboree stash (now, who wants some boys Gymbo??).
So, those are my thoughts. Yes, pretty obvious stuff to anyone but me, but I’m glad I came up with them. And, it makes me feel like I did something of value.