So, I have two kids and there might be a third in the near future. I’ve subscribed to several kid’s clothing site newsletters that pop up in my email inbox daily—sometimes more than daily. Half-daily? Anyway, it sounds like a nuisance, but I’ve come to notice a pattern in those emails and other store emails in which some sales are clearly better than others—or not even different at all.
Of course, if you get an email for KidsClothes that’s a 10% off everything coupon one week, and a 20% off everything coupon the next week, it’s pretty obvious which sale is better. Some are a little harder to figure out, though.
Let’s say a jacket we want to buy from KidsClothes is $20 regular price. Last week, KidsClothes sent a blindingly bright e-mail proclaiming that the whole store was 50% OFF FOR A LIMITED TIME! That brings the price of the jacket to $10! Shipping is $5 so it’s really $15, but still, not bad, right? I get a jacket delivered to my door without ever having to get off my butt for only $15. But say I’m on the fence about buying it, and suddenly the sale is over and the price jumps back up to $20. Lame.
Next week, I get a seizure-inducing e-mail proclaiming that now KidsClothes is having a Buy One Get One 50% Off Sale with FREE SHIPPING! I don’t want to miss another sale and end up paying $20 for this jacket so I should jump on this sale! I have to get two items for the sale to take effect, so I decide to get a second jacket in a different size for my other child. The first jacket is full price, $20, and the second one is half off, $10, so $30 total and no shipping! But wait…that brings the total per jacket to $15, which is exactly what I would have paid during last week’s sale. Both sales were worded to seem vastly different, but the end price per item ends up being exactly the same.
So what’s the moral here? Keep an eye on those sales and try not to fall prey to the wording that makes you think you are getting a one-time-only mega steal. In this case, after a month, the jacket I wanted ended up going on “clearance” for $15. A coupon that could be used on clearance items was in the next newsletter, and I finally got the item for under $10. If you’d like to buy new clothing or other items, see if you can subscribe to email newsletters for a few weeks and try to catch the item when it is REALLY on sale… not just when the company wants you to think it is.
Choose either or both! Just pay $4.95 S&P for each!
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I noticed I started doing this terrible habit about the time my first child was born. In my sleep-deprived haze I realized I would throw completely random items in my shopping basket that SOUNDED like a good idea at the time, and then I’d get home and wonder why I thought I needed three cans of pomegranate-scented shaving gel to begin with. Sure, I’d eventually use them, but there was really no reason to have spent the money on three cans right then and there. So now, after I get everything on my list and have wandered through a few more aisles and am ready to go check out, I stop and go through every item in my basket and ask myself these questions:
Was this item on my list? Yes? Was it on the list because we needed it? Yes? We’re good.
Do I really need this? For example, sure, lipstick is on sale for a crazy deal right now but do I NEED a fourth shade of brown lipstick? It sounds thrifty to preemptively buy something when it’s on sale, but if I’m not going to run out of lipstick for another six months, do I need to buy it right now or can I wait for another sale in the future?
Is this something the kids randomly threw in the basket while I wasn’t looking? Back it goes.
If I’m buying this because I had coupons, did I bring the coupons with me? If I forgot the coupons, or if my infant ate the coupons when I wasn’t paying attention, is this something I really need right this moment or can I wait to buy it until next time, when I remember to bring my coupons?
If this is something I decided to buy because someone else (friend, family member) had it and it looked neat, can I borrow it from that person first to see if it even works for us before buying my own? Can I get a used one in good condition for cheaper elsewhere?
It’s amazing how much you can put back and never miss just by pausing to think for a moment before checking out! What other questions do you ask yourself that help keep your impulsive spending in check?