Bargain Hunting Strategies
by Cyndi Roberts
Whether you do your shopping mostly in retail stores, thrift stores, or at
garage and yard sales, there are some strategies that will work for you and
help you to find a bargain every time!
If you have a child who is hard to fit for whatever reason, you may find
that you must shop at retail stores, even though you'd rather not. Two
things to remember: buy in the off-season (this requires a little planning
ahead) and always head to the clearance racks first.
Wherever you shop, be sure to carry a list of sizes for everyone you're
shopping for. It's helpful to also jot down measurements--waist sizes,
inseam and sleeve length, for instance. All sizes may not be the same, plus
garments that have been laundered may not be the same size they were when
For shoes, make a cardboard cutout of feet and slip it into
shoes to see if it fits.
Keep a tape measure in your purse or at least in your vehicle all the time.
Carry a file of fabric samples from items you already have that you might
like to match. You can often snip a bit of fabric from a seam allowance or
some other spot that won't show. Just staple to a file card and carry in an
envelope in your wallet.
Always keep your receipts. It might help to jot a note on the back to make
it plain just what the receipt is for!
Here's a benefit to taking children shopping at thrift or
resale shops instead of retail stores: Sizes are grouped together instead of
styles being grouped together. For instance, my granddaughter, Ashley, is a
size 7 and when she goes to a resale shop, she can see all the tops in size
7 and pick out what she likes. In a retail store, she might pick out
something she likes, only to have Mom say it's not available in her size or
in that particular color. As a result, Ashley would much rather shop at the
resale shop than at the mall! And that has to be a good thing!
Find out when your local thrift store has its "clearance" sales. Just like
retail stores, resale shops try to clear out merchandise periodically,
typically when seasons change and really good buys can be found.
Garage and yard sales are great sources for baby and children's clothing
Instead of buying a newspaper just for the garage sale ads, see if there is
an online copy.
Keep in mind that sales that have multiple family sales
together in one place may have already been pretty well picked over by one
While the selection may be best early in the day at garage
sales, sometimes by afternoon or by the second day, everything will be
marked down substantially.
Develop the habit of "making an offer" at garage sales. If a price is more
than you want to pay, offer less. All they can say is no. However, it's been
my experience that people will usually accept what you offer.
One last strategy: If your child objects to previously worn clothing, simply
point out that a garment is only new for one wearing. After being worn and
laundered, everything is "previously worn"!
Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another" bi-weekly
newsletter, featuring creative ideas and tips to help you "live the good
life...on a budget!" Visit
http://www.cynroberts.com to download a free "Recipe Sampler". Subscribe
to the newsletter and receive the free e-course "Taming the Monster Grocery