Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If You Want To Save Money, Step Away From The Stores.

This post was originally published in June 2009. I can honestly say that I am doing a better job of staying away from the stores, especially Target, in 2010.

I found myself with some time to kill yesterday morning. My oldest daughter was attending vacation bible school from 9am - noon. I could have gone home to do some housework, but nobody twisted my arm, so I went shopping instead.

I had every intention of going shopping yesterday; the VBS is less than a mile from Target. When my car senses a close proximity to Target, it is programmed to turn into the parking lot.

I had 3 hours to blow, so I cruised the perimeter for any good clearance deals. I found dd#1 some stretch pants for $1.24 for the fall. I bought 3 different colors. That was the best deal of the day and I can justify that purchase. Some of the other things in my cart, not so much. I left spending $20.19 on things that weren't essential, but things that I will use. I found a pair of plastic baskets on the perimeter to store toys under my kids' beds. I also bought a 10 inch turntable for my spice cabinet. That wasn't on clearance, but I have been wanting one and I had 3 hours to kill so why not.

I left Target and headed to Marshall's, the bane of my existence. I usually have two kids in tow, so shopping there is never pleasant for me. Marshall's is a store where you need to take your time, because the merchandise is always different and you never know what gems you might find. Yesterday I only had one child and I was armed with snacks. You see this shopping trip was pre-meditated. I had it all planned out. I brought her favorite snacks and water and I just fed her all through the stores so that I could peruse the aisles a little better. Unfortunately it worked and I left Marshall's with a cute Adidas yoga outfit for $26. It wasn't a clearance deal, but it is really cute.

From Marshall's, we went to Lowe's to pick up one last tomato stake. After Lowe's I still had about 30 minutes to blow, so we went to the library where I SHOULD HAVE BEEN the entire time. No money spent there.

Saving money, by not spending money is still a struggle for me. I know what our financial goals are, I have them posted above my desk. Yet I still have moments of weakness where the thrill of a purchase becomes almost like a high. There was nothing that I bought yesterday that was so essential that I couldn't live without, but I shopped anyway. Had I gone home and done housework yesterday, would I have an extra $46. to put towards our goals? I guess I could take the stuff back, but my spice cabinet is already organized and my kids' toys are put away. Now that yoga outfit is still in the bag...that one I'll have to think about.

Have you shopped recently and regretted it? How do you fight the urge to shop?

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  1. OH I HAVE BEEN THERE!!!! My husband has been working on getting his electrical license and one Saturday in May I drove him to the testing spot and then had four hours to kill. And I forgot my book at home. No really, I did forget! So, like you, my car directed me to Target (right down the hill from the testing spot) - right after it directed me to the bank to check out money. And then it drove me to the mall. And all the spots I went were having killer deals (clearance stuff). And by the time it drove me back to him, I had almost none of the cash I had just checked out. I was pathetic (we only have one car, so I rarely get time out by myself). Although the deals I got WERE good, like you, I had the realization that even if I had stopped at one bookstore and purchased one book, I would have saved money by reading that in the parking lot instead of shopping. {sigh} It was a small failure...but a good reminder and lesson for the future. I'm just glad to know I'm not alone!! Hope you're enjoying your vacation!!

  2. Thanks for the laugh while here at work thinking about the money
    I spent at BJ's last night..
    I know it is all needed.. but ugh.. when trying to save money cause of the time of year.. it is so hard not to feel guilty, even when it is groceries..

    sue in NJ

  3. This sounds like me. I'm finding myself getting bored quicker (then last year) when I do this kind of shopping. I also find myself coming up with other ideas then shopping first. I figure by next year I won't even want to step into a Target! One can hope!

  4. You have made some observations that hit home, and you did it with such cute humor. (Or were you being entirely serious?!)

    We have always lived within our means, always paid off the credit card, and the past several years I have had a lot of freedom to buy what I want (within reason: we're not extravagant).

    But a new van dipped deep into the savings, and life insurance and car tags this month hit hard. I'm thinking it's time to reevaluate some of that impulsive spending!

  5. I am so glad I am in such good company...and not the only one.

    @Carrie - those clearance deals especially at Target get me every time.

    @Molly - I'm hoping boredom sets in soon too.

    @Rebecca - yes I was trying to be funny...sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

    @Anon - BJ's gets me sometimes too, especially when they have samples of food all over the store.

  6. Like you, I always have 2 kids in tow, so that cuts down on my time to browse for deals. However, I'e been there and done that more than a few times. I try to live by a rule of don't spend any money on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I do my grocery shopping over the weekend or on Monday, so that really only leaves me Friday to pick up anything else. Most weeks it's tough to live by that rule, but I find that it does save money. My house is filled to the brim with "stuff", but I have a tough time turning down a good deal, so it's easier if I don't even put myself in a situation of having to see stuff I want but not buy.

  7. My worst time for this is when I have a baby six months and under. Going out after their nap seems to be the only way to calm them if they wake up crying.

    I'm working on a grocery challenge for myself for September. I'm only buying what we need each week, and using up what we have in our pantry and two huge freezers. I'm also staying out of the other stores unless I absolutely need something, even thrift stores.

  8. You hit on something important. I've been saying this for a long time, but you illustrated it really well, in a way that I couldn't have, because I don't have a problem staying home.

    People are always telling me that I NEED to get out of the house. That would mean spending money on gas, even if I only went to the library. We are a 1-car family, and we are pretty careful with our gas usuage.

    Also, the "You NEED to get out of the house" mantra is false thinking. It's a VERY modern idea; throughout history, most women have not done this.

    Staying home saves me money, and I have plenty to do there. If I want to get outside, I can go OUTSIDE--not just go in a car to another place where I will also be inside, AND spending money.

    People are always asking me how I get so much done. Staying home gives me lots of time to do other things!


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