Well, this will be my last post as a 32-year-old. As I reflect these past 32 years, I think about the thing that I most enjoy, outside of my family. As a little girl, I remember going shopping at Carson Pirie Scott and TJ Maxx with my mom in and around Chicago or shopping on State Street with my super stylish grandmother. With each shopping trip, I would observe and learn how to shop on a budget for great items for myself, loved ones, and my home. It was the best feeling in the world to purchase an item for significantly less than what the regular price had been, whether it was through the use of coupons, super sales, or regular run-of-the-mill clearance shopping, it was a thrill!
Now, the old days of footing it to every store is a thing of the past. The doors have blown wide open to the options we now have to find those awesome bargains that most of us women crave. We can now shop in stores or virtually to find super great deals online.
For most of my adult life, it seems, I have been on a perpetual tight budget. So, what is a girl to do? Stop shopping? I don’t think so! If you are like me, and like to find outstanding deals on all types of things, I will share a few of my favorite spots.
Clothes and Household Items
TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Ross are the best places to find deals on all styles of clothing for men, women, and children. They usually get shipments every day, so no matter how often you shop there, you will always find something new. TJ Maxx is the higher end of the three stores and has a better selection of clothes and home goods. You will continuously find a great deal on cute purses, stylish shoes, and a veritable mish mash of décor for the house. The only thing they lack is their selection of men’s and children’s shoes. For that, Marshall’s and Ross have you covered.
Marshall’s is much like TJ Maxx, except it’s usually messier and has a large selection of shoes for the whole family. Be ready to dig if you’re looking for a deal. The clearance racks are super tight and usually not in size order. My size is usually few and far between, so I usually bypass the ladies’ section and go straight to the kid’s department, shoes, or home décor. I always find a really good deal.
Ross is very low on the totem pole, when it comes to cleanliness and selection. It’s not uncommon for the store to look empty, as if it’s going out of business or something. But don’t let that fool you! I once found a BCBG summer dress for $8, regular price! And I don’t do regular price that often, even in stores like these. I’ve found that the shoes they carry are usually the cheap ones, with one or two name brands sprinkled here and there. All in all, Ross is ok if you go in with zero expectations. They just might surprise you!
When I am in the mood to find great brand named clothing at a price usually lower than TJ Maxx, I go to my favorite women’s consignment store in my area called Clothes Mentor. If you’re familiar with Plato’s Closet, it’s like that, but for grown-ups. I can always find a great deal here! I don’t think I have ever left this store empty-handed, which is why I can only shop here every 3 months or so. I have found Tahari and Nine West suits for under $20 or $30. They have jeans from Banana Republic, Gap, Max Studio, Chico’s, etc. all for under $20. I have more luck finding my size at Clothes Mentor then I do at any of the other discount retailers. They carry gently used purses like Coach, Dooney & Bourke, and Michael Kors for well below the regular retail price. Today I saw a gorgeous Coach purse for $60, are you serious!! Recently, I bought a beautiful, cobalt blue, leather Cole Hahn purse for $25, which looked like it had never been used. The customer service is top-rate and they have a loyalty discount program. What more can you ask for? I love it there!
Random Food and House Stuff
When I am not in the mood to go to Wal-Mart, my grocery store of choice, I make a stop at either Big Lots or the 99c Only Store. Big Lots is another one of those stores that won’t score a ‘10’ on the cleanliness scale, but they have some great finds. I once bought a 6 pack of Snapple Green Iced Tea for $1.50 and no, it wasn’t expired. Just last week, I bought a 96 load container of Wisk for $4! I’m still excited about that one.
At the 99c Only Store, they usually carry overstock, about-to-be-expired refrigerated food, or products manufacturers like to test before they put it in the regular stores. My go-to items at this store is Dannon Greek Yogurt at 33c each (with an expiration date at least one week out), giant Texas toast-sized bread I use for making my cheese egg toast sandwiches (yummy!), and snacks for the kids- all brand named. When my littlest one was a baby, I would always stock up on diaper wipes, Gerber cereal, and Gerber finger snacks. If you know how much baby crap costs, then you know paying 99c is a steal!
There’s one place I go to first to find deals online- BradsDeals.com. Brad’s Deals posts coupons and deals for thousands of online retailers and serves as one-stop shop for anything you may be looking for. They are also a great resource for the Black Friday list of sales for all participating retailers. Recently, I bought a two-year subscription to Business Weekly for $10. Last winter, I bought a winter coat for my youngest son for $5.99 with a promo they were running with Macy’s. They always have great deals on jewelry and athletic shoes and apparel. This is another place where I have to visit infrequently or else I’d go broke. Earlier today, The Popcorn Factory had a deal on there for two Halloween treat baskets for $10. I had to stop myself from getting them for my boys, they didn’t really need that, right? The way it works is, Brad’s deals gives you special promo codes to enter when you go to the retailers’ sites for extra percentages or dollar amounts off and, often times, free shipping. Love it!
Well, that’s all for tonight. I have to get my beauty rest in preparation for my big day tomorrow. I love birthdays!!