The thing about sales...
End of season clearance sales are upon us. Savvy shoppers everywhere are sharpening their pencils and making a list of things they will need for next winter. Some things to consider are: what size do you expect your kids to be wearing? What do you have that can be reused or handed down? Sold?
Do you normally receive hand-me-downs? Are you comfortable checking with friends to see if the right sized winter clothing is coming your way? Doing some queries before you go shopping might save you a bundle, even if what you are shopping for is on sale.
Gifts and useful things
Other things you might find on sale right now are winter-themed dishes, bedding and knick-knacks that might be given as gifts over the coming year. Scarf and mitten sets, lined jeans and the like are cozy Christmas gifts and can be stored until next winter.
But don’t forget you’ve already purchased these items! And don’t continue to buy more gifts next year, just because you have forgotten how much you paid. If your price limit is $50 and the regular price of the item is $50, you have done your part. Even if the item was priced significantly less, don’t feel tempted to continue spending—commit to spending as little as possible.
Don’t be swayed
As the days get longer, displays of summer tops and bright new dishes might feel like a reward for making it through another winter. But what use have you for more stuff? Yes, you may want a few new summer things, but they’re likely to be full price at this time of year. Learn the value and price of things—if you don’t know the regular price you may easily be fooled into thinking a so-called sale at one store is a better deal than the cheaper, regular price at another.
If it is a cheaply made piece of clothing, why would you pay full price when it is probably going to be on sale before the weather is nice enough to wear it? Stores display full price inventory in the lead up to the new season—soon we will be bombarded by new summer trends.
Dig out your last year’s wardrobe before deciding you need to shop. What fits, and what doesn’t? What will you do with the clothes you aren’t going to wear? Having a “one in, one out” policy helps some people curb their spending. Don’t allow yourself to bring any new articles of clothing into your home unless you can part with something you already have.
Of course, donating to one of the worthy local second hand shops or swapping with friends is a good use for your discarded clothing. Or, if you’re really ambitious, you might plan a spring garage sale and try to recoup some of the money you have spent on items you no longer want.
Do your research
If you’ve been waiting to purchase bigger ticket items for your yard, say a lawn mower or garden tractor, compare prices at a number of different stores. Inquire about sales and warranty.
Don’t jump into an impulsive purchase before you have read customer reviews and asked around. You may find a great bargain advertised on social media or kijiji. Take your time and wait for the best deal to come along.
If you are shopping for some new spring and summer things, don’t go over board. Ask yourself some questions before you pull the trigger on those purchases:
Will you still want this item in six months or a year? How about two years? Five?
If you decided not to buy it today, could you be bothered to drive back to the store tomorrow to get it?
They say that once a customer has held an item they’re much more likely to buy it—avoid handling the merchandise that you are browsing through.
Also, ask yourself if you might find the item used. Many things built years ago were better quality. If what you are thinking of buying is not something that you have been waiting and watching for, it is by definition an impulsive purchase.
Choose to sleep on it. Decide if you wouldn’t be better off putting that same amount of money against your highest payment.
Shopping for Christmas decorations after the fact is only one example of how you can save drastically by shopping off-season. To some, it might negate the excitement of the holiday, but for the frugal it is an opportunity to save.
To be truly and completely frugal, though, you have to ask yourself if buying something because it is on sale is wise at all. If you don’t need it and won’t use it, your money is better kept in your pocket.