How I Shop

January 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm 2 comments

First off, I know it’s been awhile. I’ve been finishing up at my job, moving, unpacking, starting school, etc. The blog was kind of my last priority, which is bad. One of the points of this blog is to keep me on track, and I haven’t stayed on track. Actually, I’ve been pretty good about larger purchases, but as usual I’ve spent a lot on food. As I get settled in, that should be less of an issue.

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As for things that aren’t food (and occasionally for food), I thought I’d do a summary of how I try to save.

First I search online to try to find the best version of what I am looking for at the best price. Sometimes quality is more important and sometimes price is, but I always try to get a good balance. I also try to take into account whether it is something I can buy used, do without, or get for free. When I wanted Dance Dance Revolution I knew it was something I could do without, so I waited and managed to get almost all the components I needed to play for free from friends or swaptree.

My new dresser

My new dresser

When I wanted a new dresser I went with the cheapest one that did not have terrible reviews. I could have gotten one for free or cheap used, but I did not have the resources to move it without spending more than I would have just going to get a new one.

Once I find the one I want to buy (assuming I am buying it, and buying it new) I see how else I can save. With Bed, Bath & Beyond it is almost always cheaper to go to the store assuming you don’t make up the difference in gas. You don’t have to pay shipping and they accept expired coupons, and you can almost always find a 20% off coupon. Other places, it varies, and you might not have access online. I usually go to retailmenot.com to find discount codes, and/or search for coupons online.

I also go to mypoints.com to check if the place I am buying from is a sponsored merchant. If it is I can get points for shopping there that I can use for a free gift card. They have gift cards to a ton of different places and I manage to rack up a lot of points just doing this and clicking the links they send me in emails without actually buying from those links. If you’re interested in starting a mypoints account, by the way, let me know so I can send you a referral email and get more points for that. I’m saving for a Target giftcard at the moment.

Whenever possible I purchase the item with my cash back credit card.

Lastly, planning in advance is my friend. I can watch for deals and sales, and if I’m ordering online I can choose the cheapest shipping method.

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How do you guys shop that I am missing (besides for clothing)-I know Ali has an awesome method of shopping all the time that lets her buy things she really likes at great prices, but it doesn’t work for me right now. Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.

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Moving Matters

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Geisty  |  February 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Can you talk about the relationship between getting organized and saving money? I bet you have some good tips.

    I have a very, very well-worn shopping tip. Don’t look to buy something close to the time you need it, especially with something specific in mind. First, specify your needs in the most general terms possible. The author of this blog recently helped me with this for the November wedding here described. I decided I wanted a “20’s style long cocktail-type dress as worn in the movies (something by Adrian would have been perfect). My trusty advisor pointed out that I was being way too particular, and that all I wanted was a long evening dress with a classic sophisticated look. Of course then it helped that she found me the perfect dress at TJ Maxx! Since I am not a good shopper, it helps me save money to take someone who is along, so I don’t make wrong purchases.

    In general though, it helps to have some long range events in mind and when you see something reasonably priced (or even a bit higher than you would pay at that moment) and flattering–buy it! When the event rolls around and you are looking for the dress you saw six months ago and thought was a little too expensive for you and are now spending hours (=$$)–your time IS worth something–and spending more money than the original for something not nearly as perfect, you will be sad. If on the otherhand, you have the perfect dress waiting in your closet, that you paid a little bit more than you thought you wanted to at the time, but now, especially since the cost has long been assimilated into your finances, you will think of yourself as a genius.

    If anyone has a way to apply this principle to home improvements, please let me know.

  • 2. Debt Free Dude  |  March 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    You make a good point that “free” may not actually be “free” by the time you move it. I bought some used exercise equipment. I still saved money off of what it would have cost new, but didn’t save nearly as much as I would have liked by the time I had it moved to my house.

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