Delighting in the Frugal Find is a wonderful thing. Going over budget on a bunch of unneeded stuff, bargain or not, may very well net you a cluttered home, an empty bank account, and less time for the things that matter.
I love a good bargain. When I enter a store, any store, I delight in discovering All Things CLEARANCE.
When we lived in the city and I had access to All of The Stores, I was a bargain shopper extraordinaire, hitting all the sales. Frequently. I did lots of shopping, but spent very little money (on each individual item). That money spent, though? It added up, and I had not much more than lots of stuff to show for it. Some of it useful. Some of it even needed or highly desired. But a lot of it ended up being just clearanced stuff.
My fetish for the frugal find found me scoping garage sales every Saturday morning, and I’d also frequently browse through and order items from clearance catalogs. When the items arrived they might not be exactly what I’d hoped for, or wouldn’t fit just right, or *gasp* looked better on the catalog model than on me. But I wouldn’t send the order back, because paying for shipping would be more than my refund! My stuff collection grew.
Things are different now. We have more children and less time. A bigger house (Yes. 1,450 square feet is still bigger than 1,200 square feet.) and a Tiny Town. I have to travel to the stores and travel farther to the garage sales. There are fewer bargains at my fingertips.
Less bargain shopping nets us a simpler life in many ways. I’m working hard to rid our home of useless clutter, even if it was a bargain. (And even if it was given to us!) I don’t need 15 pairs of shoes, even if I purchased each of them for under $10. It adds up! I want the simple pleasure of knowing that the items we have were purchased for a good deal and for a good purpose, with money designated to that purpose. I desire a purpose for my purchase!
I still have my “gift stash” (of course!) in the basement that I absolutely couldn’t be without. I still pounce on any men’s size 14 shoes that I see for under $30, because size 14 shoe bargains don’t come along every day, and size 14 shoes are very much needed by an important man in my home. I’m still drawn to the clearance racks and shelves when I have time to browse, and I still purchase what we need or even really want from them, with money designated to that need.
Today, my bargain delights come mostly in the form of bright orange and yellow Manager’s Special stickers at the grocery store. Finding a low price on food we already eat? Now that’s a bargain!
While the bargain still beckons… it’s just not a bargain if you don’t need it.
What bargains have you passed up lately? Which ones have you grinning ear to ear at the find?
This post was originally published on August 28, 2008.