So, I was spacing out the other day – just flipping through our 10 channels – and I happened to land on an old rerun of “Friends.” It wasn’t intentional, but it was one of those times when you just want something to stare at. Anyway, the episode was about a table that Rachel bought from Pottery Barn. She was trying to keep it a secret from her roommate Phoebe – the all-natural, buy local, hippie/space cadet of the group – because she knew Phoebe would object to the chain store purchase. So, for the next 30 minutes, Rachel’s attempts to keep this terrible secret play out and “hilarity” ensues.
Personally, I’m neither a brand snob like Rachel nor a “local-only” hipster like Phoebe. In fact, I pretty much abhor shopping all together. That’s why this past weekend was so extremely painful for me.
The annual FINCON conference is coming up, which is something I know 99% of you couldn’t care less about. Just imagine a convention center full of financial dweebs discussing budgets, spreadsheets, and blogging for 3 days and you pretty much got it. This type of stuff would bore normal people to death. For stiffs like me, it’s the social event of the year (and I’m freakin’ pumped for it)!
At the conference, we get to hang out with all of our colleagues and online friends, which is a total blast. Holly and I also have the honor of presenting an award, which means we’ll have to be on stage…in front of the entire convention. Because of this, my bae told me that we needed to look our best for the shindig.
Now, I barely get out of my pajamas before 3 PM, so my wardrobe could be considered a little light. As I briefly pondered this thought, my wife was just standing there, waiting for her words to sink in. Suddenly, everything was becoming clearer. This could only mean one thing: shopping.
I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags
Remember the first day of school when everybody would show up in their favorite brand new outfit? Fashion at FINCON is kinda like that, except for adults…financially nerdy, socially awkward adults.
I tried to suggest that we’d fit in fine, we could just wear what we had. No dice.
I told her nobody else would be dressed up. Still no luck.
Clearly, it was time to pull out the big guns, so I said, “I’d rather not spend the money.” The fire that shot forth from her eyes was meant to char my dainty little soul. I quickly scurried to the corner of my bedroom to regroup.
Somehow, I mustered up my last bit of strength, imploring Holly not to make me go. But, at this point I knew all attempts to resist would be futile. She was determined to make us look geek chic, and there wasn’t anything in the world that could stop her.
Fighting Through the Pain
Seriously folks, I haven’t been clothes shopping in years. I mean, I’ve picked up a few things here and there, but really shopping? Nuh-uh.
Fortunately, this is a pain I’m only forced to endure about every 5 years or so. Keeping this in mind, I persevered. Through gritted teeth, 2 nights, and 8 hours of endless clothes shopping, I eventually prevailed! We even had the kids in tow, which is a great way to test your patience if you’re interested in a fun character building exercise!
Still, through all of the trials and tribulations of our consuming binge, we were able to save a few bucks. (Leave it to Holly! That girl knows how to work a deal.) Here’s how you can do it too.
Tips to Save Money on Shopping
- Shop for sales. – It may seem obvious, but the easiest way to save money on shopping is to find the sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for groceries or clothing, there are enough sales around that you should never have to pay full price to find items that will work. Take a look around. Don’t be a brand snob. And save.
- Check online for coupons. – Before you head out, make sure to check online for coupons. Websites like ShopAtHome.com, RetailMeNot.com, and Savings.com can help you find some great deals at your favorite stores. Check your pride at the door and coupon it up!
- Make your purchases with a store credit card. – You probably know this already, but you can usually get some pretty decent discounts just for signing up for a new store credit card. This is super helpful if you’re going to make a pretty good sized purchase. Of course, clothing stores aren’t the only places that offer credit. You can use store cards to buy furniture, hardware, and even electronics. Just be sure to pay the balance off immediately!
- Ask at the counter for discounts. – In addition to store cards and online coupons, don’t be afraid to ask the cashier if they know of any special offers that are happening. You might find out that the store’s offer is better than your coupon. Better yet, you may be able to use them together!
- Get those rewards! – If the discount offered for using your store card isn’t that great, make sure to use your favorite rewards card to rack up some points – especially if you’re going on a shopping binge like we did. Yeah, this technically isn’t saving you any money. But, you might as well earn something for all the money you’re spending!
I Survived the “Great Shopping Spree of 2015”
All in all, I survived the shopping trip and was pretty happy with the purchases we made. Of course, Holly still made me try on all of the clothes I bought right when we got home. I’ve never understood why she makes me do that. I mean, didn’t I just spend 8 hours trying all this stuff on to begin with? Oh well, thus is life in the Club Thrifty household.
Let me know, do you love to shop or do you feel my pain? Do you have anything you need to shop for that you might be dreading? Fire away below!