Guest Post: Money Saving Meg on Outlet Shopping
My friend Meg is guest posting today. I am thrilled to hand the reins of the blog over to her for another Frugal Friday post. We had such terrific feedback from the last time she shared her tips and tricks to bargain clothes shopping.
I consider Meg a dear friend, someone whom I truly love, and being able to share this little piece of my life with her brings me such great joy.
I look forward to the next time I see her and the two friends she mentions in this post. I fully intend to insist on a shopping trip the next time I’m in their neck of the woods.
Thank you, Meg, my sister in Christ.
|This past weekend I had the opportunity to meet up with two (2) of my closest girlfriends. Dena, Bridget, and I meet semi-annually at the nearby outlets to “power eat” (A girl needs plenty of energy to shop!), quickly catch up and swap information on our lives, and give our children a chance to play with one another. I think I can speak for us all when I say we look forward to this twice a year. For us, I think, it is not just about the deals we may encounter but the camaraderie and the fun associated with the trip as a whole. That’s another thing about bargain shopping: it is meant to be a good time!
Bridget is the inevitable coupon printer; she prints coupons for our favorite haunts: The Children’s Place, OshKosh B’gosh, and Carter’s. This time, we had a 15% off total purchase at The Children’s Place and 20% off a purchase of $50 or more at Carter’s. I will say, we have been luckier in seasons past. This year we averaged approximately $100 apiece and the bargains were “so-so”.
Typically all three of us make purchases whilst thinking/planning ahead. This is one of the most important lessons in any type of bargain shopping with respect to taking full advantage of discount pricing. Our January trip consists of buying for the following Winter season. Likewise, our Back To School rendezvous is somewhat contradictory–we like to buy the remnants of the Summer stock (for the following year,) rather than purchase the latest style of jean(s), shoes, or other items for our backpack-toting youth.
If you think you can predict your child’s size the following year, this is a great opportunity for you! For example, my eldest daughter Riley adores footed pajamas (“footies”, as we like to call them). Unfortunately, she is approaching the size 6/7 mark and it becomes increasingly more difficult to find this size. I know, off the top of my head, Carter’s makes these for her. If I were to buy these during the full-priced Winter rollout in October/November, I would pay $32.00. I paid $7.99 less 20% bringing my total cost to $6.39. I have, in years past, been able to get them for $3.99 but that was not “in the cards” this trip.
Surprisingly, my best deal was to be had at Stride Rite/Sperry/Keds. They have an aisle called the “Back Wall”. This area consists of single pairs of shoes of various sizes, they represent various seasons, and perhaps these shoes are slightly irregular. I found a pair of Stride Rite shoes for Ella in a size 10.5. She is currently a 9–Yes! This is how far I plan ahead! However, they have wonderful soles (I happen to be a lover of Stride Rite technology as they have served my eldest well–she needed orthotics and physical therapy to walk), they are super cute, and they were $12.00. I perused the Stride Rite website to find something comparable to the pair I purchased and, I believe, retail price would have been in the neighborhood of $55.00. That is a savings of a whopping 78%! I also found Riley a beautiful pair of black suede loafers by Tommy Hilfiger to wear to church. The website suggested a pair similar to this would sell for $44.00. I paid $9.95, again, saving approximately 77%.
You will notice, when I shop, I hardly ever mention my youngest child, Hudson. This is because the same two women mentioned above have sons. Bridget is a mom to an eight (8) year old boy, Adrien. Dena has two sons, Vincent (6) and Lucas (3). I am fortunate enough to have loving and resourceful women in my life; Bridget handed down clothes to Dena and Dena, in turn, handed clothes down to me. Hudson has been outfitted long before he arrived. I, honestly, inherited over sixteen (16) bins of clothes from these two lovely ladies, among others! Ladies: this is another great way to save money, pinch those pennies, and allocate your funds elsewhere. I should mention, not only did I receive an innumerable amount of clothes, but these items were in excellent condition and they featured brand names like GapKids, Mulberribush, Flapdoodles, Hartstrings, and the like. I even received a pair of Ugg boot(ies) for him! I have had to buy Hudson socks and onesies. That is it! Please reach out to your girlfriends and set up a trade or barter system with your child’s clothing. It not only does your heart good, but it helps clean out your closets and organize your life. It is also somewhat nostalgic for the giver; it really warmed Dena’s heart to see Hudson in an outfit her son(s) once wore. I remember her saying, “Aw, I remember when Vincent/Lucas wore that and I am so happy to see Hudson in it”.
I tend to believe, while material “things” are just “things”, it does make items more special and personal if it is given with love and received with love. It is hard to imagine these clothes have made it through, not one but, three boys and I hope to box a majority of these clothes up and ship them to another mutual girlfriend of ours when she welcomes her first son soon.
This post was originally supposed to solely be about outlet shopping and gallivanting from store to store with bags in hand. I realized, however, the two examples I have given regarding being frugal are intertwined. It wasn’t really about the shopping, the spending of money, and the exhilaration of watching a coupon being applied to a total (although, that is really fun!); it was about “spending” time with those I love. These women are not just my friends. They are my sisters, my confidantes, they are the surrogate “Aunties” to my children, and they are my family.
I love being frugal with our money, however, I love splurging on friendship…
I wish you all blessings, until the next post, my Sisters in Christ.
I hope you enjoyed this guest post from the beautiful and very awesome Meg. Thanks again for filling in for me. It is really appreciated.
I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
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I have a group of women who I feel the same about although two of them live in Canada and another in England so our visits are few and far between. When we do meet though, being together with them makes outlet shopping the absolute BEST it’s ever been. :)
I LOVE outlet shopping! i usually get the best deals at carter’s esp for my boys. my mom usually hits up kohl’s for their 80/90% off sales for the following season as well. i don’t shop as much as i used too. thanks for the tip on the shoes, i will need some soon for my youngest so ill have to plan a trip, they are 2 hrs away!
I’m lucky to have outlets close to my house so I go ‘walking through’ for deals when I get the chance… my rule for outlets is 75% off or better… I too use the shopping trip as an excuse to hang with my girlfriends.. sometimes I just go as the ‘bag holder’ so she can shop… I also make sure I print every available coupon – make sure you check both manufacturer sites as well as the outlet mall for coupons… and if you are a AAA member, some outlets will give you additional free coupons at the customer service desk… it’s also a good place to find additional man. coupons that they ‘drop’ there… last time I got a 25% additional off at one store where I needed to shop!
I am also a fan of outlet shopping and buying ahead! Those Tommy Hilfiger shoes are adorable! I’m sure mixing the savings with the friendship makes the deals even sweeter.