Bargain hunting is in my blood. So much so that I will walk away from things I actually need, just because I feel they are overpriced. It's a characteristic that has been handed down to me through generations of previous bargain hunters, and I'm already well on my way to indoctrinating my own offspring. It's a great characteristic to have, especially in today's economy. And you bet I'm going to brag about my amazing finds! In fact, today I'm wearing an $80 dress that I only paid $17 for. Yeah! Rarely do I find myself willing to pay full price for things, and here's why:
1. I was raised this way.
Learning the value of "no" is important.
My brother and I were never the sort of kids to beg for impulse items in the checkout line. It was made clear to us early on that the answer would most likely be no, so we didn't bother. That doesn't mean our parents didn't spring for the occasional treat, because they did. But learning how to control those impulses early on was a vital first step, and our parents knew it. I have carried on this parenting style with my own kids, and often get compliments in stores that they do not beg and easily accept, "No," as an answer.
2. I'm broke.When money is tight, bargains can often be the only way to get what you need. Don't get me wrong, I'm blessed. We have a nice home, decent vehicles, plenty to eat and our kids are well taken care of, but it takes nearly everything we make. Anything extra has to be budgeted for or we research and look for deals. My son recently wanted a tablet PC, but due to unforeseen expenses we told him we simply couldn't swing it. He opted to save his own money and buy it himself. When he raised a decent amount of cash, we shopped together online and picked out what ended up being a really great little tablet at an amazing clearance price. He got what he wanted nd learned a lesson about budgeting and saving.
3. I learned the difference between need vs. want a long time ago.
I ask myself, "Do I need this, or do I simply want it?"
Here's a universal truth of life: there's very little that we actually need. Clean water, nutritious food, shelter, clothing and transportation; that's about all we need. We don't need 500 channels of cable TV. We don't need the latest iPhone. We don't need twenty pairs of sneakers. I have wheeled many an item around in my shopping cart, only to decide a few aisles on that I really don't need it and I put it back. Stuff and things do nothing to make me feel better as a person and they don't increase my value in the eyes of my family and friends, so what good are they, really? A little retail therapy is fine on occasion, but making a habit of it is not a good idea.
4. Finding bargains is a challenge I enjoy.
It can be tough to find a real deal, but easier than you might think.
I love resale shops, thrift stores, clearance racks, and online yard sales. You never know what you're going to find and the prices nearly always fit my budget. If something is still overpriced in a consignment or resale shop, though, I still won't buy it. Just because someone else has deemed it a great deal, doesn't mean it fits my definition. I also love finding items I can up cycle. I have an old retail display rack on my back porch as we speak that I scored for free, and it makes an amazing towel / swimsuit station where my family can hang things to dry without bringing their damp stuff in the house. Thinking outside the box is a challenge of its own and can often yield some great results.
5. I admit it, I like to brag about the deals I find.
If I can help someone else save a few bucks, then why not?
I will gladly tell you exactly where I got the item we are talking about, and whether there are any more available. The dress I mentioned in my opening? JC Penney clearance rack, my friends. I will tell you how I up cycled that old globe into a lamp, where to find the resale shops with the best prices, and how to get to the new outlet store in town. But hey, I also admit to getting just the tiniest bit of glee from the glint of jealousy in your eye when I tell you I scored a marble electric fireplace for $60. So it's not all noble on my part. But you can easily do the same things I do. It just takes self-control and patience. I shopped for a fireplace for two years, you see. Good things come (cheap) to those who wait, right?