Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Born to Shop!

My Stepson told me the other day, that I must have been 'born to shop' and although I'd like to think I was put on this earth for something other than gracing Target hellbent on getting a bargain, he was pretty spot on.  I can't remember a time that I haven't enjoyed shopping, shopping of all kinds - I even love grocery shopping (until I reach the cash register and ponder upon how many other things I could have bought with all of that money if only we didn't need to eat!)

As a child, I looked forward to Friday afternoons as this was our shopping day. Mum and Nan would take us to the local Target/Woolworth's (before the big shopping centres started to appear) and we would get a bucket of chips, cup of cordial and Nan would buy us a $2 toy each week.  I can still vividly remember walking down the aisles and the smells of the store, some of the things we bought and events that happened when shopping such as loosing my Brother in Target (he was hiding under a round rack and Mum nearly had a coronary searching for him).  As I got older and the shopping centres got bigger, I was in awe of the atmosphere, particularly the atmosphere at Christmastime with all of the lights, crowds, decorations and music, still to this day, that is my favourite time of the year to shop!

My favourite shops by far are Op Shops - second hand stores like Lifeline etc - as a child I wouldn't have imagined walking into such shops, let alone buying and wearing things from them (snooty much).  They are wonderful outlets for home wares, clothing, books, toys and renovation items and over the years I have found many bargains and saved myself thousands of dollars - many of the items new or near new - you would never know they are second hand.  My most recent purchase was a 3.5 seat chocolate brown suede lounge, gorgeous modern design and at only $299 was a fraction of the price you would pay from a furniture retailer & the best part is, it was brand new!  

Other favourite stores I love to explore are Bed, Bath and Table, Target, Myer, Trade Secret, Pumpkin Patch, Loot & the Vast Interior & even the humble K-Mart (which has an awesome selection of fantastic home wares this year) including this gorgeous bedding, wall decal etc that I picked up the other day.

I guess my tips for finding a retail bargain are; shop often - the more you shop, the more likely it is that you will come across price reductions, only buy things you genuinely need - after all it's not a bargain if you buy it to store in the cupboard.  I don't tend to lay by as I find I get the item cheaper before the lay by expires or I change my mind about what I purchased in the first place, cancelling multiple lay by's each year can become costly.  For example one year my kids wanted those electronic interactive cubes, $59 each at Toyworld, I picked them up for $3.00 each from Target right before Christmas, guess what a lot of the kids in our family received that year!  I also picked up the I-teddy, originally $120.00 for $15.00 by playing the waiting game at Target.  Patience is luckily a virtue I have!

Another tip, after becoming an avid second hand shopper is, often if you wait, you will find the item in a second hand store.. so why buy new??  An example of this that happened to me recently was shopping for our family portraits. I went to target and bought myself a red top ($40) and my stepdaughter a white cardigan ($29) only to find a near identical red top ($2) and an identical white cardigan ($4 - WITH TAGS!) in Lifeline only 3 days later!!!! I was also able to pick up all of the Marian Keyes novels at Lifeline for $2-$3 each over time, rather than purchase the at department stores for $20+ and the other day I picked up a whole bucket of Mr Potato Head toys (including Darth Tater) for only $4 - a toy I have been resisting paying full price for, the kids now have more than they would have gotten if I'd bought new - Good things come to those who wait!  Go to garage sales and utilise eBay to your advantage also.. you'll never pay full price again..

Later this week, I am going to try out a new method of shopping for me, the world of online grocery shopping! Ill let you all know how that goes too...

Happy Bargain Shopping! :)

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