Friday, March 25, 2011

What's the Big Deal?


So if you are like me…getting a good deal is your passion in life.  However, when is a deal a deal?  There seems to be so many ways to “save” money but are you actually saving any money? 

Coupons – They are all the rage at the moment.  There are entire blogs and websites devoted to coupons.  However you only save money when you use a coupon for something you need and usually buy.  Coupons are like little cut out advertisements – they entice you to buy items that you don’t normally buy because you’ll say to yourself – “it’s okay I have a coupon for it.”  Of course if you are a coupon queen and you are saving tons on every item you use – than good for you but in reality most people are just getting duped into buying crap they don’t need just because they have a coupon.

Clearance Items – This can be hit or miss.  I’ve found some great deals on clearance of stuff I really needed and I’ve bought a lot of junk just because it was on clearance.  For example, I used to buy tons of clothes from Target on clearance basically because they were cheap.  However, I’ve started asking myself a few questions before I start loading up on the $3 t-shirts or whatever.  1) Why is it on clearance?  Sometimes there’s a reason – it wasn’t a good seller which leads to fit, quality, etc. 2) Do I really need it?  Chances are I don’t.  However, when you find something on clearance that you actually need – celebrate!

Seasonal Items – I never buy a coat at the beginning of winter.  Wait a few weeks…it will go on sale or buy next year’s coat in Spring it will be at its cheapest.  Also never buy a bathing suit when they lug out the racks.  That’s when they want you to buy them.  Again, wait and chances are you can get a deal.  Here in Florida I think Target keeps bathing suits out all year long.  So there’s constantly swimsuits being marked down.  Want to redecorate/organize a room on a budget?  Wait until the beginning of the school year…all kinds of stuff goes on sale some of it is of course in bright neon or solid colors because apparently that is what every college kid wants to decorate their dorm room with but seriously you can find some good stuff.  You can make it work to your advantage.  When I organized my closet…I got all of the stuff CHEAP because it was that time of year.  Same thing goes with office supplies.  Paper, pens, clips and stuff are always cheap when school starts and you know this girl loves office supplies especially CHEAP office supplies.  Want new decorations/wrapping paper for Christmas?  Wait until after Christmas to buy them.  For example, last year I found black and white damask wrapping paper at Target at Christmas time.  I bought one roll and then after Christmas I bought three more…$1 each.  Also, the paper can be used on all kinds of gifts not just Christmas.  But as always….ask yourself….do I really need this or am I just buying it because it is cheap.

Buying online – Sure we all get tons of emails everyday about online sales but be careful.  Think about it are you getting something at a discount but then find yourself buying more stuff to reach a certain amount of money to get free shipping or is the shipping outrageous?  An example of good intentions going bad, I bought the Vera Bradley laptop skin…first I didn’t pay enough attention and I thought I was getting a laptop sleeve for that price and the shipping was like an additional $8 which was about half of what the item costs – to add insult to injury my sister Debra came out for a day of shopping and she got the EXACT same laptop skin from a shop for like $12 because it was on sale.  I ended up paying twice that ordering it online.

EBay – There are some really good deals to be found on Ebay.  Just be careful of the bidding wars…if you have to bid on something set a price in your head and don’t go over it – no matter what.  I have just started only buying things that are Buy Now.  No bidding and you know what you are going to pay straight up.  I’ve bought perfume, makeup, purses, phone accessories and a memory card reader.  Always look at the seller’s feedback and don’t forget to add in the shipping if your item is $1 and they want $7.99 to ship it…I’d pass.  Also, if you purchase something – sign up with Paypal – that way if you don’t receive it you’ll get your money back.

Wholesale Clubs – Sometimes you can find good deals…like laundry soap, TP, razors but other times you’re just getting larger quantities of items and not really getting any real savings.  So price compare – if you know how much you would pay for something somewhere else and you see it in bulk at Sams or Costco….do the math … is it cheaper?  If so, buy it.  If not, you really don’t need a million of it at once anyway. 

Outlet Malls – OMG don’t get me started.  I totally think outlets are for suckers.  Most of the prices in outlets are the prices you can get it anywhere else on sale.  So where’s the real savings.  Regular stores run sales all the time so don’t even try to tell me that it is ALWAYS on sale at the outlet.  Also, some store like Gap, JCrew, etc give you a lesser quality item for an outlet price so sure you might get a JCrew sweater cheaper at the outlet but it was made cheaper too. 

So all in all, think before you buy and when you do find that “good deal” enjoy it!

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