Thursday, September 03, 2009

Smart Shopping....Just A Little Out Of Order

Interested in saving money? Thought I would share a few tricks I've learned over the years.

The biggest opportunity has to lie in clothes....both for adults and children. I buy most of our kids' clothes the year prior and it saves us a ton of money. Right now, I'm waiting for summer to go higher than 50% off. I typically wait until it's 75% off to purchase....and then I stock up on basics. By the time the intended season rolls around, I have most of what I panic to shop before school starts and such.....then I add in a few fun pieces I love. If you shop like this, just remember to not buy distinct styles. Buy simple pieces you can add trendy touches to.

I've shared this method with a few people and they suggested they couldn't accurately predict sizes....especially in babies. True. However, once they're past the age of 1, I believe you can make a fairly close estimation based on their growth patterns. And, if you're still unsure, buy basics that you know you'll need. Coats and shoes are easy. You know your kids will need sneakers year round, so any size will do. Coats are flexible and can be off a size if you make a risk in buying. Winter gear....gloves, hats, easy. Lainey has a ski jacket for the next 5 years already lined up and I didn't pay more than $8 for any piece.

This does take some discipline and planning, but I promise you'll love it if you try. While everyone else was frantically buying school clothes and fighting the tax-free weekend shoppers, we were still enjoying summer. I bought the kids new shoes when they went on sale at Nordstrom in July (half-yearly sale...can't beat it!) and then a new backpack for Carter and he was set. Lovely!

Another option is shopping for school supplies. Right now, Target has theirs at 30% off. Too high! I wait until they go to 75% off and stock up for the years ahead. Crayons for $.04. Packs of pencils for $.15. You know they'll need them them when they're super cheap and you'll save! I keep a bin in our basement full of these items and then as the kids need them, I have them. Then, with each approaching school year, I subtract what I already have from the list and add in what I don't.

OK, now focus on this's even hard for me sometimes. Buy seasonal items out of season. Pottery Barn has their large Easter baskets on sale now for $12.99, regular $34.00. That's huge!

And, one of my favorite things in our house.....our holiday basket. I have a liner for each season....most of which were purchased 6 months prior. Think spring time right now.....this Valentine liner is $7.99, regular $15.00.

And, when is the best time to buy Christmas decor? The week after Christmas.....or even a bit later. Don't fight the crazies the morning after.....wait a few days and go in at your leisure (child free works best) and choose items you'll know you'll use the years ahead. This is hard for me because I'm typically tired of Christmas when Christmas is over....but I still try to think ahead. Found light up wreaths on sale at Home Depot last year for $6 a piece, regular $30. They'll look so cute on the house this year!

My newest find....Circle E Candles (the hands down, best candle on the market) on sale, out of season. Paid 1/2 price for their holiday collection in March.....bought $26 candles for $13 each......purchased enough for me and to give as gifts....and got free shipping because I spent over $100.

And, finally......Christmas gift shopping. I do it year round! As I see things I like for our loved ones, I buy them. Some are on sale....some are not. Spreading out the spending over 12 months helps us stay on budget during Christmas and also allows for more holiday around town and such. Plus, this gives me a chance to buy more meaningful and thoughtful gifts, rather than rushing out to get something just to get it.

These methods aren't for everyone....but they help our one-income family immensely.

I'm a planner by nature, so it comes easy to me....but, once you start, you'll see the difference fairly quickly.


SASS said...

Love this post-I'm in the middle of a planning post, myself. I need to go shopping for both girls for this fall. So hard not to spend so much money-and it's frustrating when I know they'll wear it a handful of times before it's too small. GREAT tips! You should write a book. I know you have more in there ;)

donatelli98 said...

Will you be offended if I call you a nerd (with affection of course)? You are so organized, I thought I was organized, but this is over the top - I envy you! I think I am going to look at the Valentine's liner and see if with my cousin's discount I can get it super cheap! Thanks for the pointers. I have done the same thing with clothes for the girls!

starnes family said...

Nope, not offended at all. I consider it a compliment!

Moni said...

I Christmas shop year round, too. I also buy a lot of stuff online through the American Airlines Advantage Mile portal on their website. Retailers give extra miles for dollars spent through the I use my Advantage Mile Visa and get even more miles! Love it!!!!!

I am constantly stocking up year round on school supplies. As a teacher, you wouldn't believe how many students I have to supply for. They come dressed head to toe in the latest fashions but can't seem to make it to the store to buy markers. Hmmm.....

Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

I totally do this. My mom works at Gymboree. She always snags Angry Toddler odds and ends in the next size. She gets t-shirts for like $1.99 sometimes.

We always go to Lowe's and Target the day after Christmas. We have enough Christmas decorations for our ENTIRE neighborhood. No joke!

And bless you woman..I've been wanting one of those PBK baskets for two years!!!

The Rand's said...

girl, you are full of lots of great tips lately! i do none of this, well, i do the clothes one sometimes--especially when i'm with you at the galleria during christmas time! :)
i tell myself every year that i'm going to shop for Christmas year round, but it's september already and i have nothing to show for it!

Dee Stephens said...

where do you get those basket liners?

starnes family said...

Dee - Pottery Barn Kids. We have Autumn, Halloween, Christmas, Valentines and Easter. So fun! All monogrammed with Starnes.

merrilee said...

Casey, I love this post and love you for posting it! I will be going to Pottery Barn website when I am finished writing this to make some purchases. I am ALL about a sale and will also take the tip on school supplies. Oh--and I just discovered a great website: You can purchase gift cards at a discounted rate. Anthropologie is a great one and usually 25% off the original amount(I know you share my love of this store)!

Shannon said...

I can't do all that. I'm tired now.

Malinda said...

Great Tips! You and I think alike. I've already bought Christmas gifts for all the kids I buy for. I buy year round at places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx and find some really cool name brand toys. I store them in a closet in my guest bedroom and If I end up with extra toys, those are the ones I donate at Christmas.

Old Navy and Kohls have great sales on kids clothes. Old Navy runs an extra 50% off Clearance price sale a few times a year and you can find things for $1.99. I bought Cason a cute coat for $7.

My latest, greatest find is 3-packs of Take Along Thomas the Train Engines for $7.99 at TJ Maxx. That's a big deal in this house.

Jodee said...

Great minds think alike! I do most of this too! I know I save a ton of money by buying ahead. Thanks to the after Christmas sales, my husband started a snow village collection from Kohl's for me!!!