October 8th, 2011
Following Wal-Mart’s announcement in late September that stores across the country would expand last year’s holiday come-on of ten toys priced at $10 to 100 toys this year. The list includes such desirables as the New Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Deluxe Action Figures, board games including Monopoly and Battleship, Tonka trucks with light and sound, the Play=Doh Burger Builder Set (for those young wannabe burger-flippers in your family, and even a Nerf sword. Among other items.
So it was probably to be expected that competitor Target would come up with an alternative plan to get shoppers into the stores during what is expected to be a dismal holiday shopping season. Target’s come-on is to offer a selection of toys discounted up to 50%. Whether that offers more savings to cash-strapped parents than the guaranteed low prices at Wal-Mart remains to be seen.
For parents who really have to buy a few ‘regular’ toys for young children this may be a good deal, as there are unlikely to be any new Transformers or Nerf swords at Goodwill. But definitely keep the resale outlets in your planning, for such things as winter coats, dress-ups for girls, trikes and bicycles, those ubiquitous plastic child cars and play sets, etc. And it’s always possible to find one-of-a-kind items they just don’t make any more that would be perfect for someone on your list. Kitchen canisters, spice racks (may have to give empty), wooden utensil sets and many other things that are more opportunistic than planned as gifts.
The whole 50% off thing sort of reminds me of when I got a 2-day job in North Chicago while my husband was in A-School (Navy) many long years ago. I had small children and he was only there for 10 weeks, so getting a regular full-time job was very unlikely. It was at the area’s Carson Pirie and Scott department store for an upcoming late summer half price sale. One day helping prepare, and the opening day of the sale as floor help in Women’s Wear.
I showed up at the appointed hour, the store was closed in preparation for the sale. Turned out our job as temps was to replace the price tags on all the items in our departments – with the ‘original’ price doubled so the sale price underneath was exactly the same as full price was just yesterday. What a scam! Then the next day we braced ourselves against the huge crowd of revved-up shoppers who had been waiting for hours on the sidewalk. Nothing can really prepare you for watching a bunch of frenzied women with credit cards literally fighting over bras, sweaters, skirts, dresses, jeans and other items they only THINK they’re getting cheap. Clothes were flying everywhere, some things got ripped in half. It disgusted me enough that I never have trusted sales gimmicks ever since.
It wouldn’t hurt to check up on the going prices for some of those items you’re supposed to think you’re getting a great price on before you go to the big box stores to spend hard earned money. You might really be saving on that $20 item now going for $14.99, but you could be making it up on that peripheral item that’s been marked up to double. It might be a really pretty candy plate with angels and Aunt Ruth would love it, but if your experience suggests you could get the same useless item at the Dollar Store for $2, $9.99 is way too much. Retail is a little like a gambling casino. Sure, there are occasional winners, but the house always wins in the end.Filed under Brand New Used, Discount Outlets, Holidays, Resale, Shopping, Thrifting | Comment (0)
August 13th, 2008
My eldest grandson graduated from high school in the top 10% of his class a couple of months ago, for which we are inordinately proud – he was taking courses like advanced biology, pre-calc, physics and advanced literature/writing, which most kids around here avoid like the plague. Now we’re facing the costs of getting him through college, since we raised him and of course we will.
We have had to seriously crimp some of our expectations about how this could happen, as things have changed both personally and societally since our children were in college. First, they don’t give out full scholarships to incoming freshmen around here, no matter how well they do in high school. You have to start with your basic Pell Grant and complete at least two semesters before you’re eligible for scholarship or extra grant money. The Pell Grant won’t come in until the second semester because the process doesn’t even start until the student’s already enrolled, so tuition must be paid up front out of pocket, along with all fees and the cost of textbooks.Alternatives, Back to School, Brand New Used, Discount Outlets, Education, Recycling, Resale | Comment (0)
April 15th, 2008
The New York Times reported on Monday, April 14 that Co-Payments Soar for Drugs With High Prices as the nation’s largest health insurers struggle to keep their profits high and their payments for health care low. The new pricing system forces patients taking name-brand medications to pay a percentage of the cost rather than a fixed co-payment of $10 to $30 a month for each medication they take.
The situation, and plans for a public demonstration in San Francisco during the AHIP annual meeting on June 19th are outlined in Insurers target the sickest: Say bye bye to $20 prescription co-pays.
This means that the burden of increasingly expensive health care now affects the insured, who may now have to pay thousands of dollars a month for medications in addition to their high monthly premiums and treatment co-pays and deductibles. America’s sickest citizens are once again being abandoned by a system that was originally designed to spread the costs of their care across a large pool that includes healthier people. Insurers say the new system will keep everyone’s premiums down, just at the time of year that Americans are discovering that they must pay double or more for the same health insurance they had last year. That’s not a very impressive system, considering that all other developed nations on the planet have universal health care.
Thus this installment of the series of inexpensive health care tips will offer some alternatives for obtaining drugs that may be beyond your ability to afford.Alternatives, Discount Outlets, Health Care, Health Maintenance, Prescription Drugs, Surviving | Comments (2)
February 19th, 2008
Selena at Apron Thrift Girl ventured into video this past November, and it turned out so well that I hope it won’t be her last video venture! Here she debunks 7 common myths about thrifting, which may help those who are new to living on a shoestring budget get past their preconceived prejudices and ingrained shopping habits. It also reinforces the things that us seasoned thrifters already know!
If you enjoy Selena’s video, don’t forget to check out her blog! There’s plenty more knowledge where that came from…
Previous Posts About Thrifting:
Thrifting: It’s An Art Form!
Credit Crunch: How to Survive the Recession
Living on Less: The Alternative Economies
The Payoff: Thrifting and Re-Selling
Free Yourself from Debtor’s Prison
Tips for Avoiding Pressure to Shop
Craig’s List: Great Resource or Scary Place?
October 9th, 2007
We’ve covered the subject of thrifting, or purchasing second hand, but there are times when you’ve just got to have new. Shoes, socks and underwear, new clothes, winter coats, household items, art and craft supplies, whatever. If your budget is tight, before you go shopping you might wish to find out where the factory outlet stores and discount outlets in your area are.
These are retail outlets that carry factory-direct items, seconds, and clothing, shoes, coats, bedding or household items in discontinued styles or colors. The prices are significantly lower than can be found at most stores, and the products are usually made in America.
Living on a shoestring budget requires a person to be resourceful, and it doesn’t hurt to remember some of the things you were taught in Home Ec classes, like how to sew. Many community colleges offer evening classes where you can learn the basics for a small fee. Schools, churches and businesses often offer evening classes in crafting, where you may find that you’ve a real flair for making things yourself.Clothing, Discount Outlets, Fashion, Sewing | Comment (0)