Friday, January 1, 2010

75% off is Dangerous

Today, Walmart started it's 75% off Christmas sale. It's a dangerous time, because people are so conditioned that when they shop clearance, they believe they NEED all these cool things. I'm no different.

I drooled, I packed my cart, I begged hubby for something we didn't need. It wasn't pretty. I even went up and down the aisles talking to myself. Out loud.

In the end, I did get some items, but I put a LOT of stuff back. I got wrapping paper- 4 roll packs totaling 135 square feet for just $1.25. I picked up 2 packs, so 8 rolls, and all 8 are coordinating colors. I picked up 4 sparkly glitter covered ornaments for our tree next year for just $.25 each. I found 2 Merry Madagascar fleece blankets for $2 each. I picked up 2 packs of Chocolate Covered Cherries for Nick for $.31 each (cheaper than a candy bar, and it lasts longer!). I found some S'mores type snack mix for $1.25, which comes in a very nice reusable tin without any packaging info printed on it.

I got the girls each a pair of Christmas socks for next year for $.75 each. I bought 2 packs of satin ribbon. Both packs had 3 feet each of 5 different patterns, for 15 feet in each pack. Both packs are different, but coordinating. I got Chris a set of 3 body sprays for his upcoming birthday for $1.25. I found PJ bottoms for Rae next year for $2.50. The kids always get new PJ's for Christmas, and this year, the cheapest I found for Rae were $4.99 on Black Friday, so this was cheaper, and will work as a nice gift for her.

What all did I put back? Outdoor light up candy canes, outdoor snowmen stakes, an indoor light up Santa, a 7 foot Christmas tree ($22!), and a dart board for Chris's upcoming birthday (soft tipped, but still... flying darts in his hands?), and a lot more.

All in all, I caution you to be practical in what you pick up. 75% off is enticing, but it's still hard earned money. Keep in mind a few simple things when shopping:

  1. Did I want this when it was full price?
  2. Do I have a use immediatly in mind for this?
  3. Do I have room to store it?
  4. Will this purchase cut into any other budgets?
  5. Is this REALLY the best use of my money?
If you shop, limit yourself. Don't go nuts buying things you kind of like just because it's cheap. Practice restraint. Your wallet will thank you.

If all else fails, walk around the store in a different area for an hour, then re-evaluate what is in your cart. Still really have to have it? If not, set it aside.

I made sure that I had a use for everything I picked up- whether it was wrapping paper (I have now picked up 10 rolls of paper on clearance, which is double what I used this year, so in theory, I should be set for 2 years. Especially when you look at what I had left over this year, too), or gifts for Chris for his birthday in January, or gifts for Christmas next year, or snacks the kids can eat now.

The few items I liked that were just for the heck of it were the first ones I put back- a pretty red stocking with candy appliques on the front, outdoor decorations which just cost more in electricity later, the tree that I really don't need and would only be a secondary tree next year.

So, just keep in mind this year when clearance shopping that a good price doesn't always make it a good deal!


Gwen said...

I was totally guilty of going nuts this week with clearance stuff. The other problem that I had was gift cards. I felt like I had to spend them right away and that it was like free money.

Bad Gwen

Heather@ My Frugal Family said...

I didn't get any gift cards this year (thankfully). I tend to spend them on clearance stuff, as well, for the same reason. It's "free money", and I wind up with stuff I didn't really need. I was much better with cash than I am with gift cards!

Wanda said...

Hmmm....was it you I passed at Walmart this past Thursday? I'd never seen so many people talking to themselves as they shopped before - LOL! Oh may - there were half priced pjs that I was sorely tempted to buy as gifts for next Christmas. Then I remembered that I had resolved to make quilts for most people on my list next year, so didn't buy them. ...But now you are telling me that they are down to 75% off?! *sigh* t e m p t a t i o n....! Actually, though, I was good. I only bought the things I went in for - a few grocery items and a certain kind of spiral notebook...which I later found better and cheaper at HEB. Rats!

Bobbi said...

HOPE....that's a great one! You're a smart little money gal, btw.