Posts filed under ‘shopping’
We have been blessed by box after box of hand-me-downs from friends and family. It’s been a true blessing because my son seems to outgrow his clothes ridiculously quickly.
At the current time he’s an odd fit. He has a very long torso, but he’s skinny and has relatively short legs. At least it seems that way because his shirts are always showing his belly, his pants are always slipping off his waist and his shorts somehow look like pants even though he’s taller than 99% of other children (according to his medical charts).
While I’ve received a lot of pants and shorts for my son I didn’t receive too many shirts. At least I haven’t since he grew out of 12 month sizes. If you are going to receive only pants or shirts I think pants are the best thing to get. They tend to be neutral in color so as long as they fit he can wear them and they can be paired with an adorable shirt.
I take a lot of photographs of my son each week. I’ve taken thousands since his birth and I will admit that I like to dress him in color shirts that look good on camera. Also, boys clothes tend to be rather boring, when compared to clothes for little girls, so I want to dress him in bright colorful clothing while I can. By the time he’s four or five the colors and designs are quite boring.
While I have found some items at thrift stores, for some reason mine local store has a plethora of adorable hawaiian shirts, I haven’t found much in the way of colorful shirts that I want to photograph my son wearing. I tend to buy deeply discounted items at local department stores as well as TJ Maxx and Ross. I’ve also bought a few items at Gymboree.
I like the quality of Gymboree clothing, but the way they constantly lower and raise prices drives me crazy. One day the shirt you want to buy is on sale for $9.99 and the next it’s $15. The next day they hold a 40% off sale, two days later it’s only 30% off and the next it’s back to full price.
It makes me bonkers to buy my son anything there. I’ve actually decided if I want to shop there I can never look back online at the same items again. I tracked the changes for one item over the course of two weeks and found a difference in over $6. Imagine how this adds up as you buy more and more things.
I recently bought a bunch of items for my son and then cursed myself when all of the items went on sale two weeks later. I decided to return the original items and then buy everything again as it would save me over $25.
I drove to the store last night to return the items. It had only been a few weeks since I made the purchase so I was within the boundaries of the return policies, but I was unable to receive a credit back to my card. Since the time of that purchase my credit card was compromised and the credit could only be issued to the card I originally used. I was angry, since it’s not my fault the card was compromised, but I was okay with receiving a merchandise card that could be used in store or online instead.
Apparently that wasn’t possible. According to the clerk I could only receive a merchandise credit that can be used in store. I’m not a fan of in store only cards since I tend to perform 90% of my shopping online.
When I inquired further I was told that there is a significant amount of fraud at Gymboree stores. As a result they will not issue a card that can be used online. They will only offer you one that can be used in the store.
Huh? I don’t understand the policy. What difference does it make if you are purchasing in store or online? If the store believes you are committing fraud they can certainly keep track of your purchases just as easily online as they can in the store, so why not issue a card that can be used online?
Is anyone familiar with this type of store policy? I’m sure there is reasoning behind the decision but I can’t imagine what it is.
Last night a friend of mine asked me a money related question and I thought I’d post it here to see what my wonderful readers have to say. Imagine you are shopping for clothes. The store is holding a sale where you can save $20 if you buy $80 worth of merchandise.
You browse the racks and find a dress you’d like to buy for $50. In your head you know that you don’t really need this dress, but you like it and decide it’s worth the money.
Now you are faced with a dilemma. Do you continue browsing for additional items in the hopes of finding another article of clothing that costs $30 or do you forgo the $20 savings and walk out of the store with only one item.
You know that it will be next to impossible to find an item that costs exactly $30, so you stand in the middle of the store contemplating your options. Odds are that you will find something that costs more than $30 and so you will pay an additional $10 plus any additional cost over $80.
The $20 savings is tempting. You are already planning to spend $50, so adding another $10 to buy an additional item seems to make sense, but is it really the right move? Is there a minimum or maximum threshold for this type of thing? Would you feel okay spending an additional $10 or $15, but not an additional $20?
Have you been faced with this scenario and if so what did you do?
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I subscribe to a bunch of party related blogs. I have no idea why I do this. I rarely throw parties, I’m not particularly crafty and I can’t imagine sitting around creating handmade centerpieces, gift bags and favors. Despite these facts I am absolutely mesmerized by the colorful images. In fact, while I skip over most of the blogs in my RSS reader I will without a doubt scan through the beautiful party pictures and dream of a world in which I have the patience and craftiness to attempt even one of the Martha Stewart like projects.
Until a few days ago I merely looked at the photos and thought about how cute our house would look all filled with handmade decorations. Until a few days ago the pictures and ideas remained on my computer. Until a few days ago when my husband attempted to toss a happy birthday banner into my shopping cart. “I can make something cuter than that,” I told him. It was shiny and glittery and well kind of tacky and I just didn’t want to hang it from our wall. I wanted to reproduce one of the adorable banners I saw on the Internet.
The idea seemed pretty simple. The next day I gathered up my son, my purse and a flyer from the local craft store and set out to make a homemade banner. Initially I wanted to make one from fabric, but shopping on Columbus day was not a wise idea. The line to cut fabric was ten people long and I was carrying my son in my arms. Nope, not gonna wait for that. I found a few fabric squares, which were more expensive then cutting fabric, but also ensured I could buy fabrics of varying designs. The trouble is I had no plan. I didn’t know how big the letters should be, how much fabric I would need, what colors exactly I wanted to buy. I grabbed a bunch, not knowing if it would be enough, and added three rolls of ribbon to my basket.
Oh, but on my way to the checkout lane I passed by the cake decorating section. I’m going to make a simple box cake for my son, but I hadn’t thought about decorating it. The next thing I know I’m buying cake decorating supplies, which by the way I’ve never tried to use before.
I got home and laid everything out on the dining table. That’s when I realized I’d need to iron the fabric before I can make use of it. Oh bother. And I’m not sure I bought enough of each color because I want ‘Happy’ and ‘Birthday’ in one color and my son’s name in another.
So I skip that task and move on to creating a miniature banner for his birthday cake. I google for printable shapes, dig through my old craft stash for alphabetic stickers and spend the next hour and a half making a mini-pendant banner for his cake.
Ok, looking good, although I’m not sure that the banner will actually stay in place when I stick it on the cake, but that’s a concern for another day. Back to the main ‘Happy Birthday” banner.
Hmmm, maybe I should make the banner out of paper rather than fabric. That sure seems a whole lot easier, but I don’t have enough craft paper in the house.
In the mean time I decide to head to the party store in search of plastic cutlery. I know it’s not the eco-friendly choice, but with roughly 16 friends and family members attending I don’t want to spend the evening at the kitchen sink. I leave the party store with much more than cutlery. I buy a cupcake stand, streamers, more ribbons, bottles of bubbles, cupcake holders and a whole host of other things I didn’t know I wanted until I walked into that store. Will I really put a cone shaped birthday hat on my son, who knows, but add that to the basket for another $2.
Still not sure about the fabric or paper idea I also head out to Michael’s where I buy not only paper but more ribbons and streamers in case I want to decorate the little guy’s high chair.
In total I spent roughly $50 on a bunch of paper, ribbons, fabric and party supplies that I may or may not use. Martha Stewart I am not, but I’m gonna try to make some homemade decorations for my son’s birthday. Yup. Gonna try it.
Either way I’m chalking it up to the excitement of being a first-time mom. I’m just so darn excited that my son is turning one. It’s been an amazing year and I can’t wait to celebrate the special occasion!
Long before the summer started I bought my son a very expensive swimsuit from Gymboree. I couldn’t wait to introduce my little one to the water for the very first time and I guess I wanted to dress him in something special for that occasion. I’m not sure why I thought that, but nonetheless that thinking led me to search the Internet and ultimately purchase an adorable little swim outfit that cost $35.
Now let me just say that $35 was the reduced price. My mom purchased a few outfits for my son around Christmas time and received $25 in Gymbucks that could be used towards a future order. Had it not been for that coupon the total would have exceeded $60! Yes you read that correctly. At full price the rash guard, swim trunks and little bucket hat cost nearly $60. $60 for a swim outfit that my little one will wear for a limited time this summer.
I convinced myself to make the purchase because I had my mom’s coupon in hand and I’d won a gift card for $25 to Gymboree a long time back, so the cost after shipping was just over $16.
Of course as the summer season rolled around I found an adorable swim outfit on sale at Macy’s for only $8 and received a number of rash guards and swim trunks as hand-me-downs. Although I plan to take my baby to the pool and ocean quite a bit I have more than enough swim wear for him and decided to return the Gymboree purchase.
Well I hit the jackpot at the Gymboree store. For the same price that I paid for three little swim related items I bought three long sleeved onesies (one with matching pants), two pairs of pajamas, two summer hats, a sweatshirt and a pair of overalls.
All but one item cost less than $4.50 and four were as low as $1.59. I am actually thinking about returning the overalls, which cost one-third of the overall total. They were $9.99 and while they are certainly cute I just received a brand new khaki pair of OshKosh brand overalls from a former coworker that are the exact same size as the ones I purchased.
I feel so much better about spending the money on ten items then I did on the original three. Especially since the other three items would only have been worn while swimming.
I hope when I return the overalls next week that I can find a bunch more items at rock bottom prices. Since I’ll have store credit from the return I might as well see what I can find! At these prices if my son can’t wear whatever I find I might just give them away as gifts. A lot of babies have been born to friends of ours in the past six months!
My seven month old son is still waking two to three times a night. He typically wakes up 45 minutes after we put him to sleep, then five to six hours later and then again two to three hours after that. We started him on solids a month and a half ago, but he usually only eats a spoonful or two at each feeding. The doctors tell me he can sleep through the night without being fed at this point, but I’m not sure I agree. When he wakes he breastfeeds for quite some time before I put him back into his crib. Some friends have suggested letting him cry it out, but I can’t bear the thought of it. I guess I’m hoping he’ll outgrow his night wakings without all that drama.
In the mean time I am one tired girl in the morning. Although we put him to bed around seven I don’t typically hit the pillow until at least ten or eleven o’clock. Then I wake up twice to feed him and find myself awake for good sometime between six and seven each morning. I know I need to put myself to bed at an earlier time, but it’s tough to break old habits. I’ve been a night owl for most of my life and although I love my son I enjoy the two to three hours I spend alone while he’s asleep.
I’m afraid all of this sleep deprivation is interfering with my ability to make wise decisions. The other morning I woke up at six o’clock and convinced myself I solved the problem of our cat’s food and water bowls making a mess in the basement. I ordered two new sets of cat bowls only to realize they didn’t fix our problems at all.
The day before I ordered lotion for my son’s rash only to realize I paid more for ounce for the smaller package. Luckily I was able to immediately cancel the order and purchase the larger tub of lotion, but if I hadn’t I would have unnecessarily paid more.
That was actually the second time I immediately cancelled an order seconds after clicking submit. I did the same thing a week or so ago, although I can’t remember what it is that I wanted to purchase. (I guess that goes to show just how important it was.)
In light of my money mistakes I am banning myself from any early morning purchases. I think I need to be up, awake and about for at least a few hours before I buy anything! I’m not even sure what is compelling me to buy things so early. Am I having dreams about shopping?
Do you spend more than you think you should at the grocery store? Do you consider what you’re placing into your cart and then consider the alternatives? For example, do you realize that you are paying more for shredded cheese than you would for a whole block? Do you know that prepackaged deli meat is 50% more than the meat you receive fresh from the deli? Do you buy shredded lettuce even though you know it costs more and will spoil much more quickly then buying a whole head and chopping it up yourself?
I must admit that I’ve fallen into some of these spending traps. I used to buy prepackaged salad, but got fed up with how quickly it turned brown and converted to buying a whole head of romaine. The bags used to last a day or two, the head is sometimes good a week and a half later!
The same goes for shredded cheese. If I’m looking for a particular mix I might pick up the shredded variety, if I’m buying old fashioned cheddar I’ll just pick up a block and shred it myself. That is of course, unless I find a great sale on the shredded variety.
I loved the infographic I found one All You today. (You can view it at the end of this post.) It provides a list of spending traps along with ways to avoid them. I follow most of these rules, but I must admit that I still purchase a lot of boneless chicken. Most of my recipes call for the boneless variety so unless I’m making chicken soup or chicken stock I typically purchase boneless poultry.
Looking at the graphic definitely got me thinking about it though. We eat a lot of chicken! So much so that I recently complained about how tired I am of eating it. Many of my recipes require the chicken to be baked and chopped up prior to adding it to the dish and I’m wondering if it would be cheaper and tastier to bake the chicken with the bone in the oven and then cut around the bones to extract the meat.
Hmmm. I might have to give this a try. I barely have time to make dinner as it is, so if this adds too much time to the current repertoire then I’ll have to reconsider. But this might definitely be do-able for those Sundays when my husband watches the baby while I cook a few days worth of meals.
I’m also not so sure about buying produce in bulk. I’ve tried this many times and I’m often disappointed by the quality of the apples and oranges. When you pick them yourself you know they don’t have marks and bruises. When you buy the bag it’s more difficult to decipher the quality of the product. I’ve been buying the bag lately, but I find myself cutting out or eating around quite a few bruises in my produce.
Kudos to them though for pointing out the difference between smaller cut pieces of meat. I always buy the larger portions and divide them into freezer paper when I get home. I had no idea though that the markup was 300%!
Take a look at the graphic below and let me know what you think. Do you avoid spending traps at the grocery store? Can you think of any others that should have been included?
In December of last year my husband decided to pay the $79 annual fee to purchase access to Amazon Prime. I wasn’t sure that the benefits outweighed the costs, but I was willing to give it a try. The year before my husband spent nearly $100 in shipping costs when he decided to order Christmas gifts a week before the holiday, so I figured at the very least we’d save some money on last minute shipping supplies.
Well now that we’ve had Amazon Prime for nearly six months I can say without a doubt that it has been worth the money. In an effort to receive free shipping at Amazon I used to add items to the cart to hit that magic $25 number Amazon uses to send items for free. A lot of times I ended up buying things I didn’t really need, but figured it made more sense to pay for another item then to pay for shipping.
With Amazon prime I pay $79 up front, but I no longer find myself throwing extra items in the cart. I can’t say for certain but I bet those extra items added up over the long haul.
Lately I’ve been turning to Amazon more and more frequently to purchase baby related items like diapers, wipes and safety gear. God bless all of those earth conscious parents who are willing to use cloth diapers. I commend your efforts, but we currently use disposables. If you join Amazon Mom and Amazon Prime you can find diapers and wipes at prices that are much cheaper than most stores.
The best thing about Amazon Prime is the two-day shipping. These days I want to spend time enjoying activities and games with my son. I’d rather click a few buttons on my computer than waste time shopping. With two day shipping I can get items nearly as fast as I could driving to the store.
As a bonus Amazon Prime also gives you access to movies. We cancelled our subscription to Netflix this year, so it’s been nice to use Amazon for that too.
I will definitely renew our subscription when the year is up. The discounts on diapers and wipes as well as two day shipping definitely make it worth it for us. Once my son is out of diapers we’ll reevaluate the options again.
My little guy is five months old. So far he’s on the big and tall spectrum of the height and weight scale and is already wearing clothes in nine and twelve month sizes. In the first few months he’s barely had time to wear the same outfit more than two or three times before he outgrows them. Luckily I received a bunch of outfits as gifts and hand-me-downs. I also bought a few adorable onesies using gift cards I received from my baby shower.
Now that he’s getting bigger I’ll need to buy a greater share of his clothes. I’ve considered taking advantage of end of season sales on everything from winter coats to snow boots, but of course I have no idea if he’ll continue to grow at this rate or not. While I could purchase items for nearly 90% off the retail value I fear that I’ll choose the wrong size and that they ultimately won’t fit.
A bargain is no bargain if he doesn’t end up wearing anything I buy. So now I’m wondering if I should try to estimate what size he’ll be wearing and search around for seasonal sales or if I should keep my money in my pocket since I really have no idea what size he’ll wear next season.
Any thoughts from my readers? Do you take advantage of end of season sales and have you found that most of the items actually fit when the next year rolls around?
Since my son arrived I’ve spent little to no time searching for bargains. My sleep schedule is still pretty wacky so I’m doing my best just to keep things afloat. I also LOVE being with him and don’t want to waste time driving around town to save a dollar or two. The fact that it’s cold and flu season gives me one more excuse to not venture out of the house. After all, it doesn’t make any sense to purposefully expose him to the sick folks filling their prescription at CVS or Rite Aid. Maybe I’ll change my thinking once the warm weather of spring rolls around.