Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: The Search for the Great Deal

My husband tells me that I can go into a store that I've never been in before, an antennae pops out of my head (invisible, of course) and I can go straight to the clearance rack. I fancy myself somewhat of a deal shopper. I get it from my grandpa. If it was on sale, he'd stock up. If it was free, he'd take 10 of them. I've been dealie-doin' lately. In fact, I dealie-do'd a bit this weekend.

I was dealie-doing in Amish Country. They had signs up that said 75% off Fall and Christmas merchandise. WHEW-WHO! I got all warm and fuzzy when I found Root Candles still on the clearance. Now, I have shared with you my candle snobbery. Sorry. It just is. But! I found my scent. My love. My Tangerine Lemongrass. Hubs was going to stock up. I figured that with the discount, the candle would be $4.75. Now, that is a deal. Hubs wanted me to buy all of them. Then it happened. While it was with all the fall and Christmas, it wasn't on a further markdown. It was marked to only $13.20. No sale.

On Sunday, we decided to make a run to the outlet stores in Lodi. We usually go once a year, get a good laugh, then leave. I was armed with a Children's Place coupon for an additional 15% off and a coupon for buy one get one free Auntie Anne's pretzels. We made a beeline for the pretzels and they took my coupon. Hooray! A savings of $2.69 already! Hubs saw them giving away coupon cards and he was all about getting me one. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I've never saved anything by using the card, but it was so thoughtful. It was very cute to see that every store we went to, he was hunting through the book to see what savings we could get.

They had a Root Outlet. Oh, you have to know where this is going. So, Hubs is all excited that they have a 40% off coupon. You know me, though. I admittedly wanted the massive huge sale that was better than the 40% off. Needless to say, we found that we need to remind ourselves that outlet does not equal clearance, thus leaving us empty handed again.

But wait! There was a Jockey store next door! Hubs hunted through the coupons and found one. When we walked in, they had 40% off the already marked clearance prices. I knew that this would be good. I have another thing to admit. I'm an underwear snob. I will absolutely only wear Jockey. I will not pay full or even close to full price for Jockey, though. I left with two boxes of underwear for $11.00. Now keep in mind that each box is usually $18.00. That my friends is big savings. $25.00 worth of savings, in fact! Makes a snobby underwear brand girl happy!

Oh, across the way from there was the Children's Place Outlet. Now, I can tell you that there have been years that I have absolutely cashed in. There have been years that I have walked out with nothing. This trip wasn't bad. I found fleece two-piece jammies for $2.99 a pair. I picked up two pair (in sizes for the next two Christmas' or so), some tights and a pair of slippers. I ended up saving about $38.00 there.

So, our success at outlet shopping is kind of so-so. One reason that might be so is that we don't shop at outlets often. Again, I think that I've been dumb and kind of thought outlet equaled great sale, but that just isn't so. Many stores have regular prices. Sometimes they'll throw you a bone and you can get something decently priced. Part of my problem might be that I'm not willing to spend large hunks of money at one time, let alone at all. I'm horrible. K- knows that if it isn't on sale, we don't buy it. (Rare occasions, usually for something odd for a cold or something.)

On the way home from the outlets, Hubs decided that we should stop by the thrift store. Oh, we have now found out that thrift shopping on a Sunday is generally bad. However, I did score a great dress for Easter for a whole buck. (That's the only thing we bought!) I gave it a good laundering and now it is hanging to dry. I didn't try it on when I bought it (you can't try it on there and there was some obvious neckline soiling), but now that it is clean and dry, I've tried it on. IT FITS! I need to have my good friend Laurie give it a nip here, a tuck there and a big hem. (I'm short, remember?) An Easter dress that I love for a whole entire dollar! Whew-who! Bargain!

Onward to mainstream store shopping. Walgreen's has Lysol cleaners BOGO and I had coupons. I admit that this is another area where I tend to be brand loyal. While they didn't have my bathroom cleaner for the shower (I got a rain check), they did have the bleach toilet bowl cleaner. I was able to walk out with 4 bottles for $1.25 each. So, my trip out where I ended up sliding on ice and having to throw the truck into neutral to stop the spin ended up being half helpful. I find Walgreen's to be like that, though. At least the one near us. If you watch the ads, they can have very good sales but often they run out of product. This irritates me. And yes, I've spoken to the store manager about it.

So how is outlet shopping for you? Do you go to them? Do you run into unavailable ad items, too?


Rach said...

I live in the land of outlet shopping and I LOVE it! The Gymbo outlet is a fave, especially when I hit the clearance rack and get an additional 75% off. :o)

I also find great deals at Carter's, Clarke's, Eddie Bauer, Kitchen Collection (I got my Keurig B60 for $75 there), and Children's Place. OshKosh doesn't really have outlet prices, which is a real shame.

You still managed to find some sweet deals in spite of everything. :o)

Jamie said...

I hit the outlets maybe twice a year...due to the fact that the closest one is an hour from me. We always hit the Tangors in Charleston when visting my parents and it is really hit or miss. The Fossil outlet (my drug of choice) does have some good deals and I have purchased many times. Like you, I've walked out with tons of deals on a few occasions, and nothing on others.

Yesterday, Target was the place to be.... I scored v-day shirts for the girls for next year, paper valentines, and a couple things I'm going to put in my gift bin. All the dollar section stuff was on clearance and so was the winter things... we got a new shovel, some car wash and a couple goodies from the dollar section. Spent $30!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Since we do have one down the street I do outlet shop. But not because I get good deals, but because it's closer than the mall or anywhere else for that matter. Sometimes I can get good deals on things. I bought a bunch of stuff at the beginning of winter and spent big bucks. I opened a credit card for the store and saved another 150.00. I wouldn't have done it except I was blowing large cash and it really saved!