Friday, September 19, 2008

One of the Best Parts of Preparedness is the Thrill of the Hunt!

One of the best parts of preparedness is the thrill of the hunt. And if there ever was a professional bargain hunter, it’s me. With the crazy economy going even crazier I thought I would share some fun thoughts with you today. After all isn’t it really fun to stretch your money. And even more fun when you know you are getting a great deal. Well … at least a super good deal.

If you are in a rut of falling for the “one-stop-shopping-syndrome” let me tell you that is NOT how to save money!

There are discount outlets and then there are discount outlets. Be aware that the more the economy flounders the more store images will change to entice you into thinking they have the lowest prices. Start making notes now – even mental notes so that your wallet isn’t the target.

Two places that will allow you to stretch your budget are Big Lots and the Greentree Dollar stores. Even in these stores you must know what you are doing or hunting for bargains will break your budget. So first let me tell you, yes you can save a lot, on the other hand it’s VERY easy to overspend.

So here are a few guidelines.

Stores such as Big Lots specialize in items that are factory overages, have had label changes, are last year’s styles, etc. These items include all kinds of categories of products, such as foods, noon-foods, health and beauty aids, linens, etc. Consequently most of their products are sold at much less than comparable products in regular department stores.

Many of the items are recognizable brand name products. Some are brands from other regions or areas of the country. Some are house brands.

Impulse buying could be a major destructive factor for your budget. It’s easy to overspend when there are so many good buys. No individual item will break your bank but when you get to the checkout with a whole cartful of “good buys”, it can be disastrous.

It’s easy to overspend on items you didn’t even know you needed before you walked into the store. For example, the plastic soap dispensers you have at home may be perfectly acceptable until you see that cheerful flowered glass dispenser for only $1.99. Two dollars here and five dollars there add up quickly and can destroy your budget!

So how do you make the bargain stores work for you? First price consciousness is a MUST in any atmosphere that says BUY! Plan before you go in.

Control impulse buying! Understand before you go in that bargain stores consciously promote impulse purchases. Be aware of the power of impulse buying.

Shop from a list. Shop with a budget. Know before you go how much you can afford to spend and stick to that amount, no matter how cute “just that one more item might be.”

If you know that you always overspend on the bargains you find, set aside a dollar amount that you can spend on impulse to take advantage of those bargains, but use control! If you have to, leave your credit and debit cards at home and take only as much cash as you are willing to spend. That way you can’t be tempted to overspend.

And as a PS, here are a few more bargain store strategies and thoughts.

There is not a consistent line of products carried in bargain stores. Their stock consists of whatever is available to the buyers, and when the floor stock is gone, there won’t be any more made available. That makes the temptation to buy even greater, because you know that if you find something you like, you most likely won’t have another chance if you don’t grab it now.

Since you can’t plan on the specific item being available, at least plan on the general category. For example, you may not be able to count on buying Fruit of the Loom socks, but you can plan on buying some brand of socks at good prices.

Holiday décor is almost always more affordable here than in the regular drugstore or discount department stores.

If your children are constantly bringing home invitations to birthday parties, these types of stores make participation a lot more affordable. You can find bargains on nice gifts for just about any age friend.

Basic clothing such as socks and underwear is generally budget priced. Paper goods and school supplies abound at great prices.

Remember though price consciousness is the key. While you’ll find great prices in bargain stores, not necessarily everything is the best price you’ll find anywhere. Be aware of what things generally cost and don’t let impulse buying sway you.

About that crazy lady that is jumping up and down in the parking lot, by the little green car; just yell, “OK, Barbara what did you find today?”

Return to the Neighbotrhood


Carolyn said...

Just surfin' the blogs and found you. Glad I found you. I wanted to say Hi and nice Blog


Barbara Salsbury said...

Hi Carolyn - thanks for dropping by. Glad you found me. It's a fun blog to do. Barbara