My No Shopping Pact

by Merissa on March 23, 2011

in Thrifty Living

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Yesterday I had to pick up a prescription at Target so while I was waiting I looked around to see if there was anything I could get for free or really cheap. I didn't find much of anything besides some gift bags that I'm always in need of marked down to 75% off. After I left Target I drove down the road a ways. I pulled over and decided to stop in a few stores instead of head right home. I pretty much walked in and walked out. Sure I saw a few things I might like but when I looked at the price tags and compared them in my brain to prices that I know I could pay for them at a thrift store or at a rummage sale it didn't even compare. And I don't really need any new clothing or shoes so I couldn't really justify the purchase.

I'll admit it, I love to shop. That's one part of being frugal that's hard for me. I love to look around and see all the cute things that I don't have. I'm not really sure what it is, maybe it's just because I'm a girl and I love to shop!

I rarely go into stores that don't have something that I need. So basically I stick to grocery stores, Sam's Club, Target, Walgreens, and that's pretty much it. Like I've said before I only get to town maybe once a week or once every 2 weeks so I pretty much only hit up those stores. Occasionally I also get to Michael's to get a few crafty things like yarn.

Yesterday when I went into those few stores I felt a little weird. I knew I didn't want to spend my extra money on the things in those stores and yet I wanted to be in there anyways. Some of the stores have been there for about a year to 2 years and I had never stepped foot in them before.

So all this is fine and dandy for my daily life. The desire to shop is always there but I control it pretty well. I stick to only buying what I need and stay away from the "shopping for fun" thing. I think it's a good stratgy for everyday living and I'm sure it saves us alot of money.

So is there somethin wrong with shopping just to shop. Absolutely not. Sometimes it's ok to break that frugal streak and just have fun! For me, this is when we are on vacation. Alright now I'm going to tell you my vacation plans and you may think I'm crazy but hey, it's works for us!

When I start planning our trip I map out the roads. Then I head over to the surplus store directory. I look up the stores that might be on the road and I write down the addresses for those stores so we can stop. I also check out the grocery stores in the areas that we will be headed to. I will look up those stores flyers a few days before we leave and I clip coupons and write down things that I can get for free or super cheap. I'm also on the lookout for produce deals as it seems that our produce is very expensive here compared to other states and areas. Then I look up and ask around about stores that might be in the area that I want to go to. Those are non-grocery stores, and yes I will be shopping at them, for fun.

For me, it's part of vacation, to not only be able to take a break from my daily routine but my normal shopping routine too. We set a limit of what I can spend and what the hubby can spend. We are allowed to spend that amount on whatever we want without having to ask each other about the purchase first. It's just fun!

So I do 2 things on vacation. I find things to save money on that I might not normally find around our area but I also get to shop just for fun. For me, both things is fun. I love to save money and shop discount stores, and I love to shop for fun. It makes a great vacation for me and since we've already talked about it and set the money aside for both bargain shopping and shopping for fun.

What about you? Do you shop for fun? Do you set limits on shopping for fun like I do?(ie: only shopping on vacation)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Missy March 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I rarely ever go to the mall (maybe 2-3 times a year to get my ring cleaned ha). I shop mostly at thrift stores. My husband and I have a set amount of “blow money” from every paycheck and it works for us. I usually end up spending it on thrift store clothes, household items or craft supplies. I think the best way to save money is just to stay home and not go to the stores! Even thrift store shopping can be addictive and its good to keep yourself in check somehow. If I do end up paying full price for clothes I usually buy them at Target or somewhere pretty inexpensive. Great post! We’re a lot alike! :)

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2 Merissa March 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Yes, I agree that thrift stores and rummage sales can be completely addicting! I’m more into rummage sales than thrift stores but I do try and set a limit to how much I am allowed to spend on a Saturday. I only take a certain amount of cash and when it’s gone I go home. It’s harder when the hubby is with me though, he’s really starting to get into rummage sales too!

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3 Lana March 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I love to go to thrift stores in other places. Seem they often have different things than at home. I used to meet 2 friends at the mall for lunch every Tues-this was 20 plus years ago-we had a plan for a very inexpensive lunch every week but being in that mall was dangerous. We did stick to browsing the clearance racks and often did find great buys but we bought lots of things we did not need.

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4 Heather March 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I do the same things when I travel now! I used to blow lots of money on shopping because shopping had become a hobby of mine with my sister and mom. But, I’ve learned now to redirect my shopping focus and now I get way more fun out of finding deals at the stores I go into rather than getting my fun from buying items I want but don’t need. Shopping less has also freed up a lot of my time so I can accomplish more for my family. People think I’m weird but it works!

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5 Heather March 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Where is the surplus store directory you referred to?

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6 Merissa March 23, 2011 at 9:49 pm

You can find the big list HERE.

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7 Sharon March 24, 2011 at 8:58 am

Since moving to the country 3 years ago, I rarely go near the mall. About the only time I go is at christmas time and school clothes shopping time for my son (occasionally he drags me there when he wants something). I love garage sales also – but I don’t care too much for thrift stores. The ones in my area seem to have higher prices. My downfall is shopping for food. We love to eat at our house. Everything I make is from scratch but it seems like I’m always making something yummy and needing more supplies.
We have just started within the last two years to stock our supply cupboard.
I really enjoy your site.

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8 Michelle Wimp February 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I do the same thing! I look up all the goodwills, bent can stores, thrift stores and plan those into our trip. I try to make it fun for all of us and challenge us to find a certain “thing” from our trip and we (even our little man) each get a little “allowance” for each day. The “thing” can be a special collection we are doing or something to remember our trip by. At the grocery surplus stores I put the boys in charge of of getting staples (soaps, shampoos, pasta, etc), Daddy just normally races him around in the cart to keep him occupied in those stores. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, people have called me crazy, obsessed, addicted, etc. But I ask them what’s the big deal we are going to be there anyways why not check out these places we like AND save money while doing it. One way I’ve found stores is to type in the city and state name in search bar and most places have a website nowadays and a lot have all their stores listed.

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9 Schyler March 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I am at the point now because of my job that I only buy clothes once in a blue moon. I know that familiar feeling of garb-lust that overwhelms when we go into “our” store. For me it’s Forever 21 or H&M, whatever. Yes, the thrift store and clearance stores are great. I always sift through for a good find. I found a very thick wool sweater that is as warm as a coat marked down to $7 because the yarn was gnarled and snagged. My little knitting friend fixed it up for me once I bought it.

I know you’re not on facebook but my tip is this: ask a friend who IS on facebook to advertise this for you. Throw a little 3-4 person party at your house for girls the same dress size as you, or even shoe size. Bring out the clothes you never wear and swap! Feels like you’re all getting brand new things.

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