Monday, September 17, 2007

What a bargain....

I'm a well known bargain shopper. I love to see those orange red clearance stickers (the ones with the slightly rounded edges... you know at TARGET), and I'm a pro at spotting that little, 15, 30, 50, 75, 90 in the corner. It's like it's calling to me.

It's gotten me into some trouble though. Over the years I have bought some things that I didn't really need then just because they were so discounted. It adds up.

I was reading an article in some form of a magazine at the beginning of the summer - and it just clicked for me. The author said that if you buy something you don't need, you aren't saving anything. Saving money would mean putting it into a savings account, buying things on clearance (even 90% off) means you are still spending money.

I've taken it to heart, and have been trying to avoid those clearance stickers. That doesn't mean I don't still look. Earlier this summer I found some long sleeved shirts for the girls for $1.34. I did NOT pass that up. Oh, and those 97 cent skirts at Old Navy... I bought those too. I did pass on many other amazing deals.

Dan and I are now on a very tight budget. It's actually kind of a relief to have control over our finances again. I know exactly what I can and can't afford. I can buy what I need without feeling any guilt (which is common with me) and I can easily put things back that aren't a necessity or within the budget.

Where we have a hard time is eating out. We've never been super splurgers. We use coupons, don't eat at high end restaurants, and I sometimes use Mystery Shopping for a great deal while we're out. We don't normally do apps, and rarely do dessert other than for the girls (which usually comes with their meals). Yet, we eat out way too often. Even once a week at a restaurant ends up being $200-250 a month. That's a lot of groceries or gas (well, groceries anyway). So we've changed that too. We have built in our budget a certain amount for eating out. This includes fast food, my Tim Horton's addiction and restaurant meals. To make sure we stick to this, we have starting putting that set amount in cash in an envelope. When the envelope is empty... we eat at home. So far, 2 months in, it's working well. It also helps keep that cumulative amount fresh in my mind. It is a little easier now that we're back in town, so when I'm out running errands, it's a little more convenient to pop home and eat than it was when we were so far out of the way.

So... we've moved into our new little home for a year or two. It's small, but larger than we thought we'd get. When we left AZ, we had gotten rid of a lot of our furniture, including our couch and chairs. Moving into this house, it's been interesting since we've been getting our stuff out of storage for the first time in over a year. We've been sitting on a futon, and since Dan broke our entertainment center - our tv and equipment was up on the girls old tv stand from their playroom. All we needed was some plywood/cement block shelves and some milk crates and we'd be smack dab back in college.

Over the last 3 weeks we have begun the task of replacing our stuff. The catch, we had a really small budget. We needed to get a living room, some things for the kitchen, dining room and the girls room for under $1000.

WOW. Dan and I being the bargain shoppers had our work cut out for us, but we did great. Better than great.

We bought this couch and loveseat.... This was a return from another customer. More than 1/2 off.

We bought the couch and loveseat, an 8x10' rug, a solid oak entertainment armoire (which matches our side bookcases from to replace the broken one - missing the doors but we don't use them anyway), accent rugs for the back door and hall, a painting - all for under $800.

We bought a peg-rack (and the paint for it), a microwave, cabinet inserts for the kitchen (think lazy susans and stacking shelves), and a 5x8' rug for under the dining room table for under $120.

We bought the pillows and decorations for the girls room for under $30 (we can't paint so we bought removable wall stickers... they are so cute (pink and green dots)... 5 for $5.00!!).

With everything tallied, we still have $100 left. The couch and loveseat alone are normally $1000! We need to find a trash can, an end table, a lamp and a floor lamp... but I think we can easily do that with the remaining money.

So... a big thanks to the local furniture store, Target, Home Goods, the Dollar Store (where we bought the girls wall decor) and the mill store.


Momma said...

Good work, CLARENCE !!!!!!

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Kelly said...

I need to take you with me on my next shopping trip! ;)