Friday, July 17, 2009

bargain buying

I really like a good bargain.  There is something so invigorating about a good deal—something I imagine must be similar to the thrill of the chase for the hunter. Paying full price for a piece of clothing is just about unheard of in my world, and it's no secret that places like Target and Hobby Lobby get a lion's share of my business.  I take it like a personal defeat if I pay the listed price for something that has any kind of likelihood of going on sale. I'm not kidding when I say it's harder on my psyche than my pocket book, so ingrained is the paragon of a good deal in my mind. 

But then there's the opposite side of the coin.  The side I tend to neglect and then regret.  The fact is that sometimes cheaper isn't better. I know that paying less isn't always what pays off in the long run, but then again, so often it does!  So my question is, what things are worth paying high dollar for?  

A pair of jeans? Home decor? How about shoes, makeup or nail polish? And then there is the baby category–baby clothes, baby products, baby toys... Which of those things are okay to shop consignment, and which is better to just bite the bullet and buy?  

I know everyone's opinions and budgets differ greatly on this point, but as a person who leans heavily toward all things inexpensive, I would love to have some input on the one or two things you feel like are worth the money.


The Portas said...

For me, jeans for sure. I rarely pay full price for any clothing, but I need a good well-made pair of jeans that will last a solid year or two with lots of wear-time.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the jeans comment. I don't have any kids so I don't know about kid stuff. I always see the Duggars on TV and they buy everything from discount stores. I do know that babies can make some yucky messes and I don't know that I would want to put my baby in a car seat or clothes that someone else has been yucky in. I too will keep checking comments for advice. Thanks for having a great blog.

Emily said...

As far as clothes go, I think "classic" pieces are worth spending the money on. Designer jeans...definitely worth it, you'll wear them for years! And since you (well, at least I do) tend to wear jeans a lot, it's worth having a nice looking pair or two. I feel the same about purses and jewelry. Often out with my kids I'm just in a tee-shirt and jeans, but I always have my purse with me and I think it's worth it to have a good high quality purse (my favorite designers are Amy Katheryn and Big Buddha). As far as kids clothes go...I tend to by higher quality clothes for my oldest son, knowing I can pass it down to my youngest. I've also found that shopping clearance at the end of the season in preparation for next year is the best of both worlds. For example, my daughter has a whole Gymboree wardrobe I got on sale last year and I spent about the same that my friend did for her daughter's Target dresses. (about $10-$12 for a playdress). I think the clothes are cuter and better quality. As far as baby products, I usually use store brand whenever possible. Often times they are manufactured by the same company that does the more expensive brand and just have different packaging etc.
Sorry for such a long comment but I hope it helps!

Emily said...

Oh and sorry just one more thing. As far as kids clothes go, I've also found that buying better quality means I need less overall. My daughter doesn't have a ton of dresses, but the ones she has are great quality and hold up really wear and she's gotten a ton of wear out of them without wearing them out!

In Definition said...

writing pens. i like the more expensive pens. i just CANNOT write a good letter with a 10C bic ballpoint:)

Meghan said...

I truly believe that I would rather pay expensive salon prices for a good hair cut and color...rather than attempting to do it myself, or going to a cheap cattle-herding hair cut shop.

Trust me, I have learned this lesson the hard way...a few different times.

Good hair cut and color....well worth the price paid to avoid the color catastrophies and hack jobs I have subjected myself to!

Amy said...

I feel the same way about paying full price for something I might be able to get cheaper else where but through experience I am learning like you that cheaper isn't always better. I think that whether you pay top dollar or clearence price depends on the following:
*the item itself
*how much you NEED it
*how long you expect it to last
Happy Bargin Buying to all.

brandi said...

I once read an article about "maximizers." A maximizer is someone who, though she finds an item that meets all of her qualifications for purchase, wants to keep on looking in order to find the very best deal. She just can't bear to think that there's a better bargain out there and she's not getting it. I think I definitely fall into that category. I always get buyer's remorse wondering if I got the best item for the price. All that is to say that I love a good deal too!
As for which items I'll pay more for--definitely stuff for my kids. And I learned a lesson with furniture too--buy good quality furniture or you'll just have to replace it and wind up spending more.

boltefamily said...

I never skimp on safety items like car seats, I research and buy the best. I also agree with the haircuts and color.

anna said...

Top Dollar:
-nail polish (cheap=chips)
-trash bags (cheap=holes)
-facial cleanser/scrub

-sale rack@ quality clothing stores
-quality brands on ebay
-target brand on soaps/etc

I have found ebay to be a great way to save money on quality items, whether its clothes or brand name bedding, etc, etc. Just make sure the seller has 100% feedback or a return policy.

Penny said...

Kids clothes are something you should definitely go as cheap/on sale as you can. They don't wear them long enough. Carseats not so much. Never buy those used and cheaper is not better. That's not to say that the MOST expensive is. That's where Consumer Reports comes in handy. Their safety is worth it--- I've seen too many parents spend more on bedding than carseats. ???
As far as jeans go, Lee from Wal-Mart fit me the best, last the longest, and are the cheapest I've found. I've never worn "designer" jeans, though, so I can't weigh in on those. No way am I paying over $40 for a pair of jeans.
I DO spend too much on foundation, because I'm allergic to everything and the cheap stuff breaks me out. I do make it last a while though. I don't reapply unless I'm going somewhere special.
I WISH I could afford a more expensive haircut, but... Other than that, I try to cut corners.

Pauline said...

I am a true bargain hunter! Love a good deal! Spend time on line each week printing my grocery store coupons, but won't I won't scrimp on is my NYLONS I pay 8 bucks a pair but they tend to last me 8 to 12 months!

Megan said...

I am a very thrifty individual and I LOVE good deals as well. We've bought things like our couch, tv and matress new but we always look for the best deal and price compare before buying something new. I like to have good quality items but try to buy them at a low price. IE. My Pottery Barn coffee table that I found at a garage sale for $10. I love good garage sales!!! I also look for good sales in the stores. I refuse to pay tons of money for jeans and clothes. Last winter, I found Abercrombie jeans at their outlet store for $5/pair! Can't beat that.
For me, I tend to buy name brand food products unless I know there's no difference with generic. For example, I don't like buying a can of creamed corn and opening it and finding very little corn in the sauce. I'd rather buy a brand I know the quality of and that I'll be happy with. I DO use coupons for nearly all my groceries and usually save over 50% of my grocery bill each month. ( and are two of my favorite websites).

Who is naebyrd/ rna? said...

1. A good pair of jeans is a must!!!! pay $150-$200
you will love them to death and wear them for years and it is way better than a handful of pairs that don't fit that great and you don't absolutely love.
2. A good mattress, yes find a deal but don't skimp.
3. Good towels and bed sheets, buy the best you can afford.
4. A good wooden cutting board, buy the best you can afford and take care of it, you can pass it on to your grandchildren.
5. Good shampoo, makes all the difference.
6. healthy food, don't get sucked in with coupons on junk food. Spend more for fresh organic food that will lower your healthcare cost one day.
7. don't get sucked in with a cheap price tag on a dell computer or some other PC, spend the money on a mac and you will be much happier:)
8. good shoes, buy a few pairs of the best shoes you can afford.
9. spend on making memories, these last forever, don't be too cheap to buy the cotton candy or overpriced hot dogs and soda at the baseball game.
10. NEVER buy anything you don't absolutely love!!! Don't get sucked in just because it's on sale or it's a good deal. Quality over quantity almost always is better:)

Susie said...

I'm a cheapskate. I'm a badddd cheapskate! But here's a few things that, despite my cheapskate-nature, I can't skimp on.
*Venus razors. I've never had luck with anything besides Venus. I've been buying/using Venus razors for about 6 years now. I used (when I was in the the US - land o' coupons) I'd use a coupon to get a brand new razor and a few cartridges (whenever the newest kind came out) because it was often cheaper than buying refill cartridges.
*Shampoo/conditioner. My hair is fussy. Right now I'm "using up" some bad shampoo and it's irritating me because my hair NEVER looks good. That and I need a haircut.
*Haircuts. I wish I could skimp. And for years I did. I had to admit (at a very fancyshamancy salon) that I'd been cutting my hair over the sink for years. She could tell... :D. But as much as I hated payed $130 USD for a haircut, it was the best my hair has EVER looked. I won't spend that much again, but my girlfriend is a retired hairdresser, so now I got to her. There's no overhead costs since she cuts in the entryway of her home in front of a mirror she had her hubby hang. :) $10 USD for a woman with 20 years of experience.
Palmolive dishsoap. Nothing else is good. Nothing else works. It's nice that it's often on sale.
Baby stuff. We have always been blessed with hand-me-downs. I'm a fan of a few nice things that the girls receive for birthdays or Christmas, and the rest of the time they rock what they've got. Gramma shops the sale racks in the opposite seasons ($2 for summer clothes at the end of the season) and we buy shoes when we find them on sale (we have a pair of girls 11s, Oceana wears an 8, sitting upstairs waiting). We bought a new carseat and stroller with Oceana and the carseat is still in commission. The stroller gets used, but I never liked it. That's my fault, I didn't do any research. We bought a 2nd hand jogger while expecting Naomi.
Electronics. We get the best price we can, but I doubt we don't buy 2nd hand.
Overall, I just don't spend a lot of money, and if I do I try to get the best/most for the money I do spend. All things considered.

Jana said...

1. jeans - they look better, fit better, last longer, and with as much as I wear them, it's crazy to buy anything other than the best. . .the big problem here is that now there are a million "designers" who think they can charge $175 for a pair of jeans. stick w/ the name brands who have magazine or celebrity recognition! ;-)

2. hair cut/color - why would you mess w/ this one at all?! ;-)

I read through the other comments and LOVED the pen comment. . .my fav for sure! also, we carry Big Buddha bags in our store - they are great; they retail around $89, but the quality is great for the price, and they are super cute! last, I agree w/ the girl who said don't buy anything that you don't love. . .never buy something just b/c it's on sale - the train of thought should be "would I have paid full price for this?" if the answer is yes, buy it.

Jana said...

PS I did read in a magazine one time that you should never buy expensive t-shirts. . .they they are all relatively the same, and that it's just not a good place to spend alot of money.

Jana said...

another PS - I can't believe I forgot the most important one. . .don't EVER buy cheap TOILETPAPER.

Who is naebyrd/ rna? said...

I also very much agree about the toilet paper!!!

Lee said...

Just to be as upfront as possible: This "good deal" mentality is a learned behavior and attitude for me and it doesn't come naturally. Having said that. . .

I think furniture is one area that you get what you pay for. Good quality furniture can be pricey, but it will last. Of course, not everyone can decide these things based on quality, but must decide based on budget.

I think there are other times to splurge for special things and occasions, if possible. Who wants to go out to eat for their 50 year anniversary and start the night off searching for that "good deal"? (Although there are plenty of ways to make an occasion special with things that money can't buy.) On my honeymoon, I got a purse at Saks from my husband and it was wacky expensive. But a honeymoon is a once in a lifetime thing and we knew we probably would not go quite that wacky again with a purchase.

Linda said...

I so much enjoyed reading the comments and understanding how different we all are. I would agree totally w/ the TP comment and add facial tissues as well. But wait, what in the world am I thinking??? It was Jana's and Angie's older 3 daughters who one week ago took an entire new box of tissues and shredded, then stuffed them into an old baby wipes container. Then again, the youngest of each of their girls enjoys pulling the TP off the roll and dragging it through the house. Would someone please remind me why we spend $ on toys. Go figure...

Jade.Sanford said...

Let me just say this:

Britax carseats.

I love them, have owned other brands & will never put my kids in anything else ever again. They test their seats like no other company, they're made with re-enforced steel & I have a peace of mind when we're on the road now. Very much worth the $300/seat.