Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deals and Steals

(Warning: this post will probably only excite people who enjoy reading stories about good deals on purchases! And it only comes with one photo of my daughter. Who put me in charge of writing this blog, anyway?)

In an effort to be a more conscious and careful consumer lately, I (Amber) have been resisting the urge to buy something the moment I decide that I need it. This prevents me from making stupid purchasing decisions by giving me plenty of time to compare products, read reviews, and shop around for the best prices. Last week both our coffee grinder and my hair dryer broke and it would be fairly easy to run to target and pick up a new one of each of these for under $20. But I'd rather shop around and get something of quality that will last, so that I don't find myself back in this same situation in 6 months. 
We've been meaning to upgrade to a really nice coffee grinder anyway, so this gives us an excuse! Instead of immediately buying these things, I've added them to an ongoing list I have. That way, if I'm out and about and come across a good deal, I know exactly what I'm looking for and can accept or reject the deal accordingly. 

I read somewhere once that the happy adrenaline rush most people get after shopping causes a natural "high." But these good feelings tend to wear off quickly, causing people to buy new things in order to feel good again. However, the longer someone waits and saves and plans to purchase something before they buy it, the more satisfaction and longer-lasting happy feelings they receive from it.

It can be pretty difficult to wait when it comes to baby stuff, sometimes. It's just all soooooo cuuuuuuute! Yet I've forced myself to make lists for Eisley too. Because the one time I made an impulse purchase (a baby Einstein sound-making aquarium sleep-aid thing I bought at target on a whim when Eisley was having a difficult period falling asleep) I majorly regretted it. The thing ate batteries, stopped working properly within a month, and Eisley somehow managed to detach it from her crib. I got online and read reviews AFTER the fact and sure enough, everyone else was having similar problems. Not to mention, Eisley got over her sleep issues on her own without the help of that toy. I could have saved myself a lot of money and time by just walking away from the store, considering the purchase for a few days, reading reviews, and THEN deciding whether or not to purchase it.

For the most part, waiting has majorly paid off. For instance, I've known for awhile that I wanted to eventually get Eisley a little wooden play kitchen. I read lots of reviews and found the perfect one. It had the right features, came with play food, was the perfect size for a toddler and for our apartment, and I was tempted to buy it immediately. But it was $120. So I decided to wait. 

Two months later it went on sale. $50 off! Since it had been two months and the reviews were still good and I still wanted to get it for Eisley, I bought it! For $50 less than I would have paid initially. It's supposed to arrive at our front door today :-) I definitely feel satisfied for having waited to purchase.


Isn't it cuuuuuuuuuute? 

What's trickier than waiting to buy something I really want is practicing restraint when it comes to stuff that I really don't need that is MAJORLY on sale. 

In Milwaukee there is a bi-annual consignment sale that allows people to buy and sell their baby, kids, and maternity clothes, toys, and equipment. The stuff that is sold fills an entire warehouse at the State Fair grounds and everything is 10-95% off retail value! Last year when I went, I was pregnant and could not resist all the cheap baby clothes and shoes! Good deals were everywhere! I ended up buying more than I really needed because I went without a plan in mind.

This year, I went armed with my lists. On Eisley's immediate list was a winter snow suit, which I had considered buying a month ago, but decided to wait to see if I found any used ones in nice condition. So when I got to the consignment sale, I made a bee-line for the winter coat racks. I sifted through the coats in her size until I found a deal I couldn't pass up:

It wasn't just a winter coat. It was a water-proof ski jacket with a hood and an insulated interior layer that could be zipped out of the coat and worn as another coat. It came with snow pants with a similar warm and fuzzy layer inside. It came with mittens. And they didn't have thumbs, which is a genius move in my opinion because I cannot imagine wrestling my daughter's hands into something with thumbs. The mittens were long. They went all the way up to the elbow so that they're unlikely to fall off. They were also waterproof with a warm fuzzy interior layer. Finally, the coat ALSO came with a scarf and a hat. The entire ensemble was from Children's Place. The only thing that showed even slight wear or tear was the reflective strip across the front of the coat. The hat, gloves, and scarf were brand new: they still had their tags. 

The entire ensemble was $15. Seeing as a coat from children's place ALONE typically costs $30-$50, this was a GREAT deal. I added a pair of (also children's place) boots for $4 and Eisley is set for the winter for only $19. 

I'm so glad I waited on that coat-purchasing decision!

I then went around the sale to see if I could find anything else on my lists. Oooooh, there was a radio flyer wagon! I had one on my tentative list-for-the-future and thought if the price was right...

But it wasn't. The wagon was in like-new condition and the seller priced it accordingly. It wasn't much cheaper than a new one. So I walked on.

Then I came across the bike aisle. I knew I wanted to get Eisley a little toddler bike for next summer. It was on my list. Something simple, without pedals, that she could sit on and self-propel forward. 

And there in front of me was exactly what I was looking for! A little Radio Flyer scoot-bike. For just a few dollars! When it would normally cost around $30-$40!

Needless to say, I bought it. 

I then by-passed all the clothes, toys, and activity centers and hi-tailed it out of there before the low prices lured me into making any rash impulse purchases. 

Since Eisley's clearly a little small for the scooter-bike yet (right after I took this picture she started crying because she couldn't figure out how to get down from it), we're going to wrap it up and give it to her for Christmas or her birthday. I doubt she'll remember she's seen it already. In fact, she'll likely be more interested in playing with the wrapping paper ;-) 

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