April 26, 2010

Broke Girl's Shopping Guide, Part I

“Sale” Does Not Mean “Buy”
You are no Pavlovian dog, so stop barking like one. Some of us instantly salivate upon seeing or hearing certain terms, nearly always posted in the colors yellow or red: sale, discount, overstock, rebate offer, clearance and so on. And then there's the lingo for you powershoppers among us. It goes like this (and for those of you who don't know, just imagine what these terms might rouse in a girl on a money-saving mission): blinkie, BOGO, catalina, eSaver, inserts (RedPlum and SmartSource) peelie, printable, tearpad.

It is easy to fall victim to retailers’ elaborate and savvy marketing strategies—no wonder, because they’ve spent billions in research dollars just to get us in their front door or on the home page. And they work even harder, and smarter than ever to seduce the last coin out of your (genuine or fake) Louis Vuitton handbag.

Broke Girls' tip for the century: Start at the other end. Begin at zero dollars and work up to what you believe to be the item’s true value and your true need and appreciation for the item--not the discount from the arbitrarily assigned retail price.

Start at Home: Shop in Your Own Closet
One of the most delightfully surprising places you can shop is in the quiet comfort of your very own home. And that's even with your computer in sleep mode! Those oversized, overstuffed closets, bins, baskets and drawers (and possibly a storage space you've been renting) are not only overflowing--you likely couldn't name what's inside many of them. The stuff you’ll discover in the back of closets, drawers, and shelves -- will amaze!

There’s that cute sweater you’d worn once but forgotten because it got shuffled under some other things. The new lipsticks that rolled to the back of the drawer, never opened. The scarf you’d bought as a gift several months before your friend’s birthday, but forgot, or couldn't find when the time arrived, so you bought her something else.

Yes, my fellow broke friends: your own home is a chic boutique just waiting to be mined. And you know what comes next: Give, toss, recycle, loan or sell what is left. More to come, my fellow broke but happy reader.

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