You are the ultimate bargain hunter. Your know when Target does their markdowns, and fanatically scour the endcaps for the elusive 75% or 90% steal. You have boxes of gifts to give when the occasion arises, you’ve bought clothes that won’t fit your kids until 2007. Does this sound like you? Then you may be overindulging in your bargain hunting hobby.
For many moms, the thrill of finding a deal can be addicting. You pull out your purchases and proudly tell your husband, “I saved 75% on this!“ to which he replies, “How much would you have saved if you had left it at the store?“ Point well taken. Shopping becomes a sport, in which pursuit of the great deal is the game.
The problem arises when the thrill of the (bargain) hunt starts taking up too much of your time or money. However, with a little planning ahead and organization it doesn’t have to. Shopping can become productive, not something that blows your budget.
Create Shopping Lists and Stick to Them
Keeping lists will help you eliminate impulse buys, which can spell trouble for the avid bargain. By sticking to the lists you prepare, you’ll learn to differentiate what you really need from what you simply want.
*Keep a Master Gift List
Only buy a gift with a certain person and occasion in mind. You may find a great bargain, but if you don’t have someone who will appreciate it, it’s not money well-spent. Your master list should include birthdays, holidays, teacher appreciation gifts, as well as the people you need to buy for. Tuck the list inside your purse, and when you find a good deal, write it next to the appropriate person/occasion.
*Keep a Master Clothing List
One mom writes, “My daughter has a closet full of beautiful clothes. Most of them were purchased on clearance or secondhand. I rationalized every purchase saying, “I will get my money back when I resell it.” While this may be true, I am now dreading the fact I’ll have to tag each item for a garage sale or photograph it to sell on eBay. Problem is, she only wears about 25% of what she has. She could easily get by with two sweatshirts instead of five, three dresses instead of six.” Come up with a master list of which items your children need in which sizes, and cross them off as you find them. Only replace worn-out items as you get rid of them. Not only will you be saving money and valuable closet space, your child’s wardrobe will be more well-thought out and coordinated.