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