Past Post: Targeted clearance

Just a brief note.  Lots of nasty weather in my area today.  We're fine so far, just lots of thunder, lightning and rain.  There are tornados to the south and far northeast of us.

Wanted to thank you for prayers on behalf of grandson Zach.  He is diagnosed with a common condition that is related to a viral infection NOT a bacterial one as first feared.  He should be fully recovered in 7 days to 5 weeks.

Penny Ann Poundwise Post from April 2007.

When Are Impulse Buys Good Things?

Yesterday as I wandered around Target excitedly looking for those CLEARANCE endcaps on the aisles, it occurred to me that some might not see my habit as a frugal thing.  After all I went into a store specifically to look for bargains, without a list, without a plan and without a limit.  And I spent money on stuff.  Isn't that being a spendthrift?  Isn't that what I'm not supposed to be about?   Shouldn't I feel guilty for the money spent? 

I've given this question a lot of thought in the past 24 hours.  At one point in our lives if I'd wandered into a store and shopped as I did yesterday, just wandering the store picking up this item or that, I'd have sunk our ship as it approached the horizon...Because the words 'reckless abandon' were the only ones in my vocabulary at the time. 

If I was in for a penny, I was in for a pound, as the old saying goes and my theory was if I'd spent a dollar then fifteen more couldn't matter since the budget had been so thoroughly blown,  now could it?

Before I left home yesterday I knew my mood was for shopping.  I brought down the balance on our checkbook just to be sure that it would be okay to spend if I saw anything worth buying.   I knew about how much I might safely spend without bruising our balance.  I've done this in the past when I was in the mood to shop and the balance was enough to halt the impulse and send me off to get neck deep in a big cleaning project here in the house because I knew temptation was too strong to resist if I'd go 'just to look.'  The signs were that a little shopping was okay yesterday.

When I got in the store I went to work methodically.  I started at one side of the store and worked my way back, across and down to the front and then to the registers.  Each time I saw an item that I thought was a terrific buy, I asked myself these questions:  Do we need it?  Do I have this at home already?  How many?  Would it serve a real use in our home?  How often would it be used?  Would it be a nice gift for someone?  Whom?  Is it my taste/style/size/colors?  Is it really a bargain?  Surprising how often an item was put back, simply because I answered my own questions.

Ultimately every item on my sales slip was a clearance priced item, bought for a small percentage of their usual retail cost. I got  the paper goods for our cook out next weekend.  Priced those things at the grocery store today and wow oh wow, what a savings!   I also purchased a rolling office chair (less than $10, no kidding!) and one of those rich looking faux leather bistro chairs, the ones with the extra height like a bar stool, for $12.  Those two items were for Chance's music room to give him comfortable, safe seating for his work days in there, instead of the rickety old chair that he has to hammer back together every half hour.  I also picked up a few items meant to be future gifts (and yes, I know exactly for whom they are intended).  Ultimately, looking over my list, I have no regrets, no "Oh gee, I probably shouldn't have, wished I hadn't of..." items.

Amy Dacyczyn talks about this in the Tightwad Gazette.  If she found an unexpected bargain on a grocery item or other items they normally used, even if it wasn't on her list, she bought it.  Mrs. Dacyzyn was far more disciplined than I, but I have learned  spending now to save later can be a bonus for the budget.  It's just taken me a few years to understand that there are times when it's best to buy now and times when it's best to bypass altogether.  Because I did some basic groundwork before I shopped and because I shopped with real care, asking pertinent questions along the way,  I can say safely that no budget was harmed in my shopping yesterday.

2017 note:  Fun to think that ten years later the two chairs I mention purchasing are still in our possession.  The office chair is truly on it's last casters.  The bar stool just went out to the shed because John used it so seldom of late but it still looks great.  The only item that didn't 'last' was the paper products and in reading other posts I truly did get a HUGE bargain on those items, saving nearly $20 at the time. 


Anonymous said...

Terri, Long time reader and I *think* first time poster. Just wondering if your little gs Zach had synovitis? My youngest Sam is now 9 1/2 but had his first bout of this viral based hip infammation of the synovial fluid back when he was about 5 yrs old. He is still at risk now everytime he gets sick with a virus it seems. Scary stuff when he suddenly refused to come down the stairs as a very active nonstop little boy!!! Very very glad to hear that Zach is okay and on the mend. I've been praying! Heidi in Guelph, Ontario ���� Canada

Terri Cheney said...

Heidi that's exactly what it was diagnosed as. He has to take ibuprofen and I read online that this an recur and is quite common in boys up to age 8.

Delorise said...

Sounds like you did things right in my opinion. You realized the desire to shop ( sometimes I just get that craving) and then you checked the budget to see what you could spend. I pass Target practically every time I go to town- I just never think of stopping in. Glad you had a great shopping trip--don't we just love bargains. We had no bad weather just rain (what a blessing).

Carolyn @ Our Gilded Abode said...

This brings back such fond memories of seeing Amy Dacyczyn on the Phil Donahue show in the 90's. I subscribed to and still have all her newsletters and I reference her books often. Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane!

So good to hear that your sweet grandson is on the mend.

Anonymous said...

Hope that the storms are over in your area.
Hope your grandson has a quick recovery.
I hate shopping which is one way to save money. :D

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

SO proud grandson is doing better. Praying for him.
I think you were very wise, to buy things you needed/wanted that were on sale, thus saving you money , when you had to buy them.. Smart shopping in my book. Have a great day.

Debby in KS said...

I call that Conscious Shopping. Sometimes it's just nice to go out exploring or tag along with a friend. I usually have a list of things I truly need or am looking for from garage sales and retail. It helps when I stumble on something. I occasionally see something I just want, but I mostly pay attention to things I know I'll need or use within a certain time. Since we've always been on a budget, it's become a tradition to redo one room a year over the long T'giving weekend. We decide a year ahead which room it will be. Say it's the hall bathroom. I know I'll want some new things, in addition to paint. I will shop a year for those things. It allows me to find things at garage sales, clearance, etc. And I wait until Sherwin Williams does their 40% off paint to buy that. When I last did the basement bathroom, I found perfect drawer pulls for $4 for a pack of 10. They were brushed nickel and very sturdy and nice. So, I had lots of time to wait until I found a brushed nickel faucet and light fixture to match. Found them both on clearance.

My friend was a perpetual child gift shopper. She had 3 elem. school kids and swore they went to a bday party every weekend. She never paid more than $5 per gift and kept them all in a closet. Her children would choose the one they wanted to give. It was like a little Santa's toy shop! My Little Ponies, an Ariel sleeping bag, etc. She said it was the only way she could afford for them to go. The day I went with her, she spent about $15 on 7 or 8 gifts. Total. They were all great things, too.

So, I think there is a way to hit those clearance racks guilt free! It's like the thrift store. If you know it's something you need or will use in the nearer future, I think it's totally worth it. I think we redid our entire basement bathroom (and it's my fave in the house!) for less than $50, including a good quality paint that resists moisture- necessary in our climate.

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