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Cheapskate Mom

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Guest blogger Michelle Kemper Brownlow: We just did the back-to-school shopping. My kids wanted Hollister, Aero and Abercrombie. Funny, they had no interest in paying for any of it. Funnier, they actually THOUGHT I would melt my credit cards on this whim!

woman holding out coins
First, I never go shopping without coupons -- especially the ones that offer a percentage off of your whole purchase. You can easily find coupons online. Sometimes the store offers larger discounts if you shop online, too, so bone up on your children's sizes -- it'll save you a buck (or ten).

Second, we always walk straight to the back of the store to begin our shopping. "Clearance" doesn't mean "stained and torn"; these clothes are simply items that were overstocked and/or the sizes that are hardest to sell.

Third, we weed through the mother lode before going to the register. Do we really needten graphic tees from Old Navy?

Fourth, we always visit an overstock discount store like T.J. Maxx or Ross. We are talking designer clothes for under thirty dollars! (I once got a pair of Lucky Brand Jeans at Ross for $29.99.)

And last, if the cashier asks if you want to save an extra ten or twenty percent by signing up for a store credit card, say "YES!" (Unless you have extreme debt issues, of course.) They will put the purchase on your new account, you will save 20 percent, you will pay off the card with their guaranteed "no finance charges" ... and then you will cancel the account and cut up the card.

My three children and I knocked out most of our back-to-school shopping in one day -- and for just over $300! (Seriously!) I am talking skinny jeans, name brands, shoes and the like. I was so proud of our victory, I saved my receipts so I could look at them every now and then.

Printed at the bottom of two of the three receipts is a "Your Savings" section. We spent $62.39 at Justice, but with my "40 percent off your entire purchase" coupon, we saved $58.76. At Old Navy, we shopped from only the clearance racks and used a "30 percent off your entire purchase" coupon. We spent $79.39, but saved $41.53!We also went to Ross, and my kids were so in love with their $161.86 in purchases that they ripped the tags off as soon as we got home, before I could revel in the savings. But we did some serious shopping there.

Two days later, we did the school-supply shopping ... and I was glad we'd saved money on clothes, because the calculators, binders and flash drives broke the bank.


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171 comments so far | Post a comment now
The Real Cheapskate Mom September 9, 2010, 5:23 PM

I have three kids, soon to be four. My two year old daughter is always dressed in the latest fashion, has matching shoes for every outfit, etc…yet I don’t think I’ve bought her clothes in over a year. My neighbor gives me all of her daughter’s old clothes. My oldest has gotten a few hand-me-downs from my sisters’ kids, but most are not my style, so I buy him clothes (and save everything he’s outgrown for his little brother, whom I also rarely buy clothes for, despite the fact that he’s growing like a weed.) However, if I spent $300, $200, even $100 on a season’s worth of clothes for him I would consider myself insane. My oldest ALSO grows like a weed, and at 7 and a 1/2 he usually wears out the clothes before he out grows them. Grass stains, rips, etc. Normal 7 yr old boy behavior. I’d be pissed if the shirt he spilled taco juice all over tonight had cost me $20. Actually, it cost me nothing….hand me down. But, when I buy my kids (or myself, or my husband) “new” clothes, it always comes from Salvation Army (except socks, underwear and bathing suits) and I shop on “family day” when everything is half off. I’ve bought my son an entire season’s worth of clothes for UNDER $20, including shoes. Name brand, great condition. True, not everything there is worth your fifty cents (yes, that’s how much clothes cost)…you have to weed out the worn, torn stuff. But I’ve found like new condition, even brand new stuff with tags for great prices! And when my kids get them messy, or outgrown them in a week, or whatever, I don’t care. Hey, I get to go shopping again! :)

PS This is not to rag on your shopping. I’m not saying YOU’RE insane for spending $300 on clothes….a lot of people consider that an awesome deal. Also, I’m a general fan of your posts and look forward to more.

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