How To Find The Best Deals

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From: Misty
First, let me say I LOVE your website!!!I use it EVERY DAY! Since you have inspired me to start being more frugal with my money, I search high
and low for great deals.

I recently started shopping at Garage Sales, Dollar stores, thrift stores, etc., but sometimes I think I am getting a great deal only to realize it wasn’t that good of a deal. For instance, I spent $2.25 at a thrift store on a bunch of 12 plastic clothes hangers and that day I went to a department store that had them on sale for $2.00. Seeing this made me realize I had not saved any money at all!

Does this ever happen to you? Have you ever bought something that you were sure was a great deal, only to realize it wasn’t a good deal at all?? Should I do something different?

Hi Misty – Yes, I have made mistakes like this and still do it sometimes. I try to be as careful as I can to get the lowest price on an item. If it’s at a thrift store, I try never to pay more than half the retail price if it’s in great condition.

If it’s at a yard sale I try to pay 10% retail on small items and no more than half the retail price on large items (furniture, etc.) that are in excellent condition.

If you buy something from a store and it goes on sale shortly afterward, you can take it back to the store and most stores will give you a refund for the difference as long as it’s only been a couple weeks to a month since you bought it.

What do I do for other situations, like the hanger mistake you mentioned? Well, I repeat to myself , “Let it go… let it go.”  Really, that’s exactly what I do. I just write it off and move on, knowing that the next time I need hangers they will be cheaper at the store.

Part of that is just the learning process. You will win some and lose some. Hopefully, I have more wins. :-)

If it makes you feel any better, I just had that happen with mulch. I had gotten free mulch many times in the past from companies who cut trees and just wanted to dump the wood chips. I thought the mulch I was getting from a tree company was free, but after they had delivered it, I received a $100 bill for it. Talk about making a person sick to her stomach! I didn’t have $100 to waste on paid mulch even if I do love gardening but I just had to let it go and move on. I did ask God to cover it for me and He did! It was a mistake on my part so I didn’t feel right to have the company come and take it back. (Mike: But just as we were looking at the bill, two more trucks drove up and I explained the mistake and politely asked them not to deliver the two additional truckloads 😉 )

Don’t beat yourself up over it because it sounds like you are doing great!


I have had that same thing happen to me. I have learned two important things from these experiences. The first is “practice makes perfect.” The more you do it, the more familiar you become with typical prices for various items. Second, it’s important to realize that it all works out well in the end. For all the “boo boos” I make, I still end up saving so much more in the long run going to garage sales, thrift stores and so on that the savings far outweigh the mistakes.

Here’s one thing that helps me: If I know I need something, I check out what it costs at a department store when I am there. Then I will have a better idea about what to pay at a thrift store. Of course, there are many things I can’t plan and I just have to use my experience to determine whether to take a chance on them.

Like Tawra said, you just have to move on and realize that we all make some bad choices shopping for brand new things, too, except when you’re buying new you are often losing even more money. It happens no matter where you shop.


One of the biggest ways to save is to anticipate what you’re going to need long before you need it, if possible. When you’re not in a hurry to have something now, you’ll have more opportunities to notice prices at other places and to get it at a better price. We especially try to do this with cars, but it applies equally to virtually everything.

Tawra starts looking for winter coats in the summer. She looks for the next larger sized shoes before the kids grow out of the old pairs. If she knows she is going to be painting a room a certain color, she starts looking for mis-mixes at the hardware store or paint that has been donated to the thrift store to see if they have the right color. If so, she can usually get it for a fourth of the price of buying it new. These are just a few examples of how planning ahead can help you save a lot!


For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt.


photo by: awfulshot


  1. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Also, paying 2.25 fo 12 hangers is a good price, be it thrift shop or new. Over time the great deals outweigh the bad ones.

  2. says

    My husband and I love to shop at thrift stores, etc…but we have learned the best deals are the cooking utensils (pots/pans) and the equipment …. appliances and electronics. We just bought at $50 Seal-A-Meal with roll for $5, a $150 microwave for $10, an $8 Rocket Grill etc. Most of the smaller stuff you can find on sale or at the $1 store.

    By the way, if you EVER find a Rocket Grill, JUMP ON IT! They are the greatest thing since sliced bread! You can take a frozen chicken breast and in 9.5 min you have dinner.

  3. Margaret2 says

    Happy Birthday Tawra!

    If you have a municipal garbage or street cleaning service or department, call them and see if they have free mulch with free delivery. Many cities and counties offer this service.
    Some even have compost!

  4. says

    There is definitely a learning curve to finding the best deals. My initial foray into deal hunting landed me some products that were pretty low quality. Now I look for the best quality I can find at a price below market value and am satisfied. I also try to ‘want’ less stuff, so I can buy a few top quality long lasting items rather than a lot of ‘Chinese junk’ so to speak.

  5. Julie Johnson says

    What I learned about thrift shopping from my sister-in-law:

    always try on clothes, even if a pair of pants are $3.00, if I have to discard, then I’ve wasted $3.00.

    if I replace something in the house, bundle up the “replaced item” if it is donable, put it in the car and drop off at thrift store ASAP. Otherwise put it in the garbage immediately.
    Keep a “book list” (I don’t kindle) and when I go through the book section of a T. store, I can avoid duplicating

    • Sandra says

      Good idea Julie,
      I usually don’t pay a lot of attention to author names when buying paperbacks unless I run across one that I really, really like and then will write it down for future reference. I just skim over the synopsis and if it looks interesting will buy it. Get most of my books either free with trade at the library or at yard sales. I read a lot so need cheap books. Have learned the hard way that publishers often reprint popular author’s books with different cover graphics and change the synopsis slightly to sell more books, so have more than once bought one and I get a few pages into it and realize I have already read it.

  6. Marcia says

    It takes a lot of “hit and miss” to save money I have discovered. You’re going to make mistakes and everyone does. But kicking yourself over a quarter extra you might have spent really is a waste of energy. I know a lot of people who don’t even think about most things they’re buying and they wouldn’t even give a second thought to what they’re paying for hangers or anything else! Just the fact you’re using your brain when you buy is something. Learn from your mistakes, learning to save money is like anything else, you fall down, you pick yourself up again. Just keep going and you’ll make it!

  7. Jetta says

    For those who own smart phones or iPods – they have applications for grocery shopping. We use our iPod with an application called “Shopper” to keep track of the prices of items we purchase on a regular and semi regular basis. You can plug in as many stores as you want and organize them as you wish. That way, whether we are at Aldi’s, Walmart or the Dollar Store, we can compare prices and keep track of sneaky price increases as well.

  8. says

    Just FYI for in the future Old N@vy will give you hangers for free(even if you aren’t buying anything, just go in and ask. Chances are they have racks near the front of the store with empty hangers that they do NOT reuse! Once I found that out I stopped buying hangers.

  9. says

    Trying hard; make own laundry soap, hang clothes out, cook in bigger portions and freeze, but with my income it just ain’t making it . . . just the 2 of us, but have car payments, no credit, own our home but owe lot rent. were else/what else can I cut?

    • says

      Dianna we get this asked so often but with out knowing all the details of how much someone makes and every penny of where they spend their money it is hard to say. We have a ton of articles on the web site which tell people thousands of everyday ways to save so I would say just read our articles and get some more ideas. If you have the money we have even more ideas in our books too which most people find they pay for themselves because they learn so many different ways to save but at least keep reading the articles and make sure you have cut out everything that is not a real need and you may have to seriously look at what you consider a real need too. Many people (and I don’t necessarily mean you) have turned modern conveniences into needs so really look carefully.

  10. says

    As everyone above said, win some, lose some. But the price you paid on the hangers wasn’t a bad price, just not the best, and that’s okay, too.

    As far as turning it over to God (asking God to provide for my mistake), I do that too. I think that’s the best message in Tawra, Jill and Michael’s response.

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