Have you ever heard of the Great American Apparel Diet? It’s a group of people (mostly women) who decided not to purchase clothes for a whole year. The first round of the diet apparently ended in Sept. 2010, but there are still people at it for a second round. I started reading the website yesterday and it’s left me with some food for thought. I don’t think I’m going to join the Great American Apparel Diet because I don’t buy a ton of clothing anyway, but it has made me think about my own consumerism and where I could stand to go on a shopping diet (bags, bath and body products, books, random sale items that are “too good to pass up”). Most importantly it has me thinking about WHY I buy what I do. As you know, if you read this blog, for several months now I’ve wanted to buy less and make shopping a less important part of my life. I don’t really think that I ever stopped and asked myself WHY I shop though, and I think that maybe that’s why I haven’t been entirely successful in cutting back. I fell asleep thinking about it last night and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I shop because I long for newness in my life and entertainment. My life is predictable and comfortable, boring at times, so I shop. Sure the thrill of the hunt is fun and challenging, and for the few moments the items are new I feel good, and I feel proud of scoring a great deal, but then I am quickly on to needing my next “fix” because the newness and pride wears off quickly. I don’t need new stuff. I need new experiences. I may, or may not, go on a shopping diet of my own similar to The Great American Apparel Diet, I haven’t decided. Either way I know that I will give a little more thought before I shop in the future and ask myself what my motives are. Do I NEED OR LOVE this item or am I just bored? Do I NEED OR LOVE this item or did I just want a challenge (the hunt)? Do I NEED OR LOVE this item or am I just looking for something different in my life?? If you’re looking for inspiration to stop shopping excessively, or are just curious about how people could possibly go for a whole year without purchasing and article of clothing, I encourage you to hop on over to The Great American Apparel site and start reading. You may just learn something about yourself!
Oh What Fun It Is To Buy… October 3, 2010
Christmas gifts! Yesterday I did a little Christmas shopping. First I stopped at Bed Bath & Beyond. I was there to buy utensils (apparently there is a spoon stealing monster in my house) but I also found some clearance items that were an additional 33% of their lowest marked price that I picked up. I got a large Yankee Candle jar candle for $8.70 + tax, and two packages of cloth napkins for $4.01 each + tax. I really wish I had printed off the buy 1 get 1 free Yankee Candle coupon I had happened upon earlier in the week. The candle usually retails for $24.99 so it was a still a good deal without the coupon, but with it the deal would have been really hot! Check your Bed Bath & Beyond for other clearance deals. There were items up to an additional 75% off their lowest marked price at mine!
Next I stopped at Toys R Us and picked up a Strawberry Shortcake Berry Sweet Style set and two Littlest Pet Shop special edition pets for a total of $10.74! The Strawberry Shortcake set usually retails for $19.99 and the Littlest Pet Shop items are usually $5.49 each. The SBSC was on sale for $14.99 and I used the coupon from the Hasbro Play Saver that was in the newspaper last week making it just $4.99 plus tax. The LPS items were on sale for $4.12 each and I used the buy 1 get 1 free coupon from the Hasbro Play Saver making it just $4.12 + tax for the two. In other words I was able to get around $41.00 worth of toys for around $10.00! I’m not sure what items are on sale this week (unfortunately the sale on the items I bought ended yesterday and I didn’t have time to post it before it was over). Check your Toys R Us flier (or Walmart, or Target…) and your Hasbro Play Saver coupons to see if you can find any great match-ups! If you didn’t get the Hasbro Play Saver coupons in your newspaper you can go to the Hasbro website and print off some great Play Saver coupons (they vary slightly from the ones in the newspaper)!
p.s. I think you can see the glowing eyes of the spoon stealing monster in the background of the photo! Then again it could just be the reflective strip on my son’s backpack! 😉
Update (Climbing Back On the Wagon) September 18, 2010
Here is the photo of the wristlet mentioned in this post. I am very happy that my guess was correct and it is a capacity wristlet and not a small one, and that it is in almost perfect condition. New it retailed for $98.00 (crazy right?!) which would definately not fall under a frugal purchase! At $14.00 the price was much more reasonable.
And I have decided to include the change purse pictured in that same post in an Operation Christmas Child shoe box. We’ve decided this year to concentrate on the older children (10-14 years). She may not have any change to carry it, but I’m sure she can carry or store any small treasures she has in it (and I plan on putting some small treasures in it in the shoe box to maximize space, perhaps some hair ribbons).
So far this week I’ve not made any purchases (unless you count school photos). I think it’s safe to say I’ve climbed back on the wagon. I’m starting to think about concentrating on Christmas shopping with any mad money I have over the next several weeks. I know to some it seems incredibly early, but I want to keep it low stress and low budge this year. What better way to do that than to get a head start?
At the mall today September 5, 2010
Today resulted in a trip to the mall. My oldest son had missed most of his first week of school from being ill. Today he was feeling much better and was itching to get out of the house. He requested a trip to Toys R Us to buy some Battle Strikers with his birthday money. I had some coupons for B&BW and Victoria’s Secret I wanted to use before they expired so we were off. Most of my purchases were made for gifts so it doesn’t make too much of a difference in my recent quest to simplify and my children have recently had to adopt the “one in, one out” rule meaning for each new toy they must get rid of an old one. I got everything for around $85.00.
2 Slatkin 3 wick candles (on sale 2/$20) –birthday gifts
1 Forever Sunshine body spray (free w/coupon I received in the mail) –for me
1 Cherry Blossom travel lotion (also free w/coupon I received in mail, this one I had to do as a transaction by itself). –stocking stuffer
Mascot shirt (on sale + and additional 25% off) –DS #1
2 piece cotton pj’s (on sale)–DS #2
4 pairs of panties (had coupon from the mail for a free pair + $10 off my purchase and they were on sale 3/$30.00)
Toys R Us
2 Bakugan Bakutriads (buy 1 get 1 50% off)–Christmas gift for nephews
2 Bakugan Project-A-Lites (buy 1 get 1 $50% off)–Christmas gift for nephews
Total: ? Can’t find my receipt but approximately $26.00
When you shop at the mall coupons and sales are the way to go! I know some people are uncomfortable giving out their email addresses and/or phone numbers at the register but that is how you get mailed the valuable coupons, and who doesn’t love free (or discounted) products from the mall?!
Ramblings on freebies and de-cluttering September 3, 2010
This blog sure is quiet lately. I can’t speak for the other three ladies, but I haven’t been posting lately because I have been trying to RID myself of stuff, not bring more stuff in. So there hasn’t been a lot of deal shopping going on. Yes, finally my post about simplying months ago is starting to come to fruitation. I guess even though I was feeling the urge months ago I just wasn’t quite ready yet. Anything that’s been purchased lately was more because it was a necessity (such as some clothing items and shoes that were needed for school) not because it was a great bargain. I did, however, score a couple of freebies from Amazon.com (I can’t resist good free stuff). They recently sent me an email for a $10 credit to use on anything on their site that they sell directly (no 3rd party sellers) because I made magazine purchases with them in the past (deeply discounted subscriptions paid with gift cards earned from Swagbucks if I remember correctly). I know they were probably hoping I’d order another magazine subscription that was over $10, but instead I searched the office supplies because I knew they were having some back-to-school deals, and got some nice pencils and some Crayola oil pastels (these were marked down). With my subscription to Amazon Prime I ended up paying nothing. These can be stashed away for when we need them, sent to school, used as stocking stuffers, or the pencils (not the pastels because they could melt) could be used in a Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Child Shoebox. I always take advantage of this kind of offer when one comes my way even if I don’t need anything at the moment because I can always find something to gift or donate.
As far as ridding myself of clutter… it’s going slowly. Not because I haven’t been motivated, but because re-homing everything is taking longer than I would like. But I have tossed some things, given several things away in “Free” boxes put out on the curb, have offered clothing as hand-me-downs (waiting for a reply) to my nephews, and have organized an Accessory Swap Party to take place later this month (my friends will hopefully benefit from my purse obsession). The plan was to have a garage sale but summer is winding down and it has not happened. Not wanting to continue to store the items until next year is a big reason why I’m taking alternative routes in getting rid of them. I try not to think too much about the money I (or others in the case of gifts) spent on them (especially the things I bought before I became a bargain shopper) and how I could make back at least a portion of it if I sold it instead of gave it away. Instead I’m reminding myself I’m still being green by giving, I’m claiming my space back which is good for my sanity, I’m hopefully helping others in the process, and the items have served their purpose with me so therefore (most of them) have already paid for themselves. Giving the items away is also a good inspiration for me to think twice before buying things that I don’t really need in the future! I find giving away items that served me well is much easier than items that were rarely used. That’s actually a bit opposite than I expected it would be, but that must be the cheap me coming out and overpowering the sentimental me!
Do you prefer a simple household or do you like having your closets brimming with options? How do you deal with the items you no longer want or need? Have you ever found yourself doing a complete 180 (sort of like I’m feeling like right now) and gone from a shop-a-holic to more of a minimalist, if so how’d it turn out? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
Thoughts on Clutter August 7, 2010
I really wanted to have a garage sale this summer but it has not worked out. Every weekend there seems to be something that interferes with it, be it weather or other plans. I’m really frustrated with all of the stuff (I know, I need to stay away from Goodwill and handbags for a start, although in my defense the handbags are all neatly put away in a closet when not in use) around my house. So today I’m having a “free sale”. I sure hope someone comes by and takes all of the stuff in the yard because frankly I never want to see it again! Wish me luck! I’ve done this in the past and sometimes everything goes, once even the comforter I had used to place some things on got taken, I learned my lesson with that one! Other times it takes days just for one or two items to leave. I still have plenty left for a garage sale, but hopefully this will be a start in the de-cluttering. I wonder if I can convince my husband to load up the back of the truck and make a huge drop-off to Goodwill next time we are in that area…I wish it was closer than 45 minutes away so donating was easier!
What methods do you use to rid your life of extra stuff and clutter? Or do you have a system for keeping it out in the first place? I’m hoping once I get rid of the clutter I can keep it out. I know the first thing is only to buy what I need and will use (which goes against the stock piling money-saving mentality). I’m not sure what to do about all of the stuff that is given to us as gifts (the kids in particular) though which is a HUGE part of the clutter to begin with. How do you request that others not add to it?
P.S. I’m also going to list a few items on eBay this evening once my husband gets home and can help me. I have heard that they are currently offering free auction listings (if you stay within certain parameters in your listing) so this may be a great time for me to give it a shot and rid myself of some of these handbags and accessories I bought to resell and haven’t been able to let go of!
Ideas for Saving on Back-to-School Clothes August 1, 2010
If you are anything like me you have recently been thinking about back-to-school shopping for your children, and more specifically, how you’re going to replace all of those clothes they outgrew this summer without breaking the bank. Here are a few ideas on how to bargain shop for school clothes.
1. Shop secondhand. Okay so if you read this blog at all you probably knew that was coming. I’m a huge fan of shopping secondhand items. You can often find brand new, or like new items, for a fraction of the cost. Scour your local thrift and consignment stores, garage sales, church rummage sales, Craigslist, and eBay.
2. Get an email account specifically for online shopping and sign up for mailing lists for your favorite online shops and actually read the emails. Often times you will receive discount codes or sale notices that will help you save money.
3. Always look for a discount code before online shopping even if you don’t want to receive the email updates. There are several websites that you can check for online and printable coupons before you shop. Some of these sites include slickdeals.net, retailmenot.com, couponcabin.com and fatwallet.com.
3. Shop off-season. This won’t help you save for clothes your children will need this fall, but if you can think ahead now you can pick up what they will need for next spring and summer on clearance. If you find a super deal also consider stocking up for the next year or two.
4. Gather your friends and neighbors with children and host a clothing swap. Have everyone bring their gently used children’s clothing they no longer need and let everyone “shop” each other’s outgrown and unwanted clothing.
5. Shop your own closets. If you have multiple children of the same gender, like I do, you probably save outgrown clothes to pass down among siblings. I often forget to check and see what I already have saved that can now be used and spend money I don’t really need to.
6. Speaking on hand-me-downs don’t be afraid to accept offers from co-workers, friends, and family members with children. You may feel odd at first but remember you are doing them a favor as well! Most people can’t wait to get rid of the items they can no longer use and have them out of their way!
6. Sign up for your local freecycle group at freecycle.org. You may be able to score clothes for your children that cost absolutely nothing but a little bit of gas money to go and pick them up.
7. Recycle your children’s outgrown clothing into something new to wear. There are tons of tutorials online on how to do this. For example does your daughter have a pair of jeans that are too short but still fit in the waist? Search your favorite search engine for how to turn a pair of jeans into a denim skirt! You can also find ways to turn clothing into unique and stylish accessories such as tote bags, necklaces, pencil pouches and more!
How do you like to save on back-to-school clothes shopping? I would love to hear your ideas! Please leave a comment and let us know your bargain hunting tips!