Both children have summer birthdays, just three and a half weeks a part (because my daughter arrived three and a half weeks early!). One huge advantage of late summer birthdays? Frugal mom has a chance to scope out the sidewalk sales for gifts. Now don't be alarmed regular reader, I did not make a special destination trip to a mall or shopping center. No, I walked to Hilldale Mall from my office located next door. Once there I visited three stores: toy store, book store, and a favorite clothing store of mine that is moving. And bargains were found. Keep in mind that before walking to the store, in fact before July 2014 came into existence, our family budget contained a line item for such an adventure -- gifts and repair/replace.
The toy store had Legos on sale, 25% off, not something you will see every day. A box was selected for our old child, a self declared Lego addict. For the younger, a floor puzzle of a farm, also at 25% off. Inside I selected three other items for the younger one, who's birthday is first. All of those received 20% off because I had saved my frequent customer reward coupon for this time of year. Rarely do I buy the kids gifts unless it is for a birthday (summer) or winter holidays (winter). But during the year we have occasion to attend a classmates birthday. When that happens I pop into the toy store before or after work, without either of my children, and select a small gift. Gift wrap is free, and the points add up. Once we hit $150, we get 20% off the next purchase -- not just one item, but the entire purchase. Now that it has been used, it will take me another year to spend the $150 -- or so I hope.
Then it was on to the UW Bookstore. Bucky t-shirts were half off, and several were selected for the kids. It is never to early to start promoting Bucky, and that fact we have a nationally ranked school minutes from home, with in-state tuition (and my alma matter). An added bonus was finding 8 boxes of holiday cards at 75% off! They are now stashed away, ready for November and December. At the register I pulled out my Belly Card, which tracks customer loyalty. The UW Bookstore is also a point of frequent purchases for my office, just next door, and the spending will turn into future discounts.
Last I stopped at Terese Zache, a favorite store of mine. There I found a lovey black and white cotton fitted sweater that was 80% off, from nearly $200 to $40. It fit well and could easily be worn for client meetings or with jean and a t-shirt on a weekend. I predict a decade of wear. And then I could not resist a lovely fall scarf with creams, plumb and browns. At $14 it was no real bargain, but it will put a smile on my face once the fall weather arrives. Frugal is not always about cheap, it is about the wise expenditure of money -- and time.
So, that is my recap of how a frugal one uses sidewalk sales. In my youth I was attracted to them like bugs to a light on a summer night. No real thought or purpose, just a reaction to SALE! No more of that, I am much more purposeful with my time and money. Regular readers know I tend to shun shopping, but not entirely. I just shun mindless shopping or shopping as a form of entertainment.