Anyone who knows me is already aware that I loathe shopping for basically anything. Shopping for clothes, for example, is enough to turn me into one big ball of stress. Too many choices! Meanwhile, shopping for shoes, electronics, and housewares just pisses me off.

Since I don’t like crowds, stores, or spending money – and shopping includes all three – I basically avoid it like the plague.

But since I have kids, I have to go out and buy stuff sometimes. And one trend I’ve noticed in several stores recently is a new, random “clearance aisle.” At my local Walmart, they actually have four aisles dedicated to cast-offs and unwanted crap they can’t seem to unload.

Let’s face it: Most of the clearance aisle and mark down section is just plain junk – ugly and outdated products, stuff that was absurdly overpriced to begin with, and widgets no one in the world needs.

4 Reasons to Step Away from the Clearance Aisle

beebsUnfortunately, the hefty mark downs found in the clearance aisle can give people the false impression they’re getting a good deal. Look at this Justin Bieber perfume I found on clearance near the dairy aisle at Meijer, for example. Sure, it’s 50 percent off, but do you really want cologne that must smell like Axe Body Spray, spray tan, and Skittles?

No, you don’t, and you definitely don’t want to pay $16 for it. Amiright?

Fact: Most stuff in your store’s clearance aisle is a waste of money. If you want to keep more dollars in your pocket, here are 4 reasons to avoid that aisle altogether:

If it’s not on your list, you don’t need it.

The best way to save money on everything is to only buy what you really need. Most of the time, that means hitting the grocery store with a comprehensive list and only visiting stores when you have an item to buy in mind. If you happen to wander over to the clearance aisle, you’re just asking for trouble. Remember, if you really needed something, it would be on your list already.

Clearance stuff is usually old and crusty.

If you want to see what I mean, take a stroll through the Walmart clearance aisle. What you’ll find is a mishmash of useless crap that is just plain gross. At my local store, I’ve seen everything from condoms to expired food on clearance. Yuck. By the time items make their way to the clearance aisle, they can be pretty old and funky. At the very least, you should check labels to make sure any item you buy isn’t expired or outdated.

It might not even be a good deal.

Let’s talk about that Justin Bieber cologne again, shall we? It’s sixteen freaking dollars! Why???? Remember, just because something is on clearance doesn’t mean it’s a good deal at all. Buying something at 50 percent off means nothing if you didn’t need it in the first place.

Looking for bargains can be a huge time sink.

While I’m all about saving money, I have gotten pretty protective of my time as well. I love to save a few bucks on stuff I needed to buy anyway, but not usually at the expense of family time. Just like yard sale shopping, clearance shopping can be a time sink if you’re insistent on finding those once-in-a-lifetime deals. It might be fun for a while, but it might also keep you from the things that really matter in life.

Skipping the Clearance Aisle for Good

We all work hard for the dollars we earn, so why do we insist on wasting them? By digging through the clearance aisle time after time, we’re wasting our time and money on things we probably don’t need.

In contrast, skipping the clearance aisle says we’ve decided our dollars are best used elsewhere. By avoiding it, we’re taking control and refusing to buy kitsch that clutters up our homes and complicates our lives. By stepping away from the clearance section, we’re saying no to all the Justin Bieber colognes of the world – and their kin.

Our time – and our money – is worth more than that.

Do you shop in the clearance aisle at your favorite store? What three things do you think Justin Bieber cologne might smell like?

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