Monday, January 21, 2008

Watch Your Back: I Fought a Ceramic Elephant

I just wanted to buy a little black dress for my daughter, but first I had to fight a ceramic elephant dish and other buy-me, buy me stuff that surrounded the check-out line. It was a battle for my wallet but I made it through the maze of merchandise without spending extra money.

The back story: For the first time in over a year, my family is in the middle of a major shopping spree due to my son's upcoming Bar Mitzvah celebration, with about 200 people. We've saved money, by making our own invitations (DIY Invitations: Bar Mitzvahs, Weddings & Other Formal Parties) and finding a very affordable party site: (Big Party; Small Budget: A Frugal Event Planning Guide: Pt. 1). But I promised my mom and dad, that we would not wear recycled clothes for the event: (Mutiny: Rebellion Against Used Party Clothes: Frugal Event Planning Guide Pt.2). So we went shopping.

Our shopping cart: We've been fairly disciplined and have found great deals. We benefited from store-wide clearance sales. For example, At Marshalls, I found a pretty party dress for my 10-year-old daughter, but getting to the checkout counter was a challenge. There is a single lane -- an airport style line -- that feeds the different cash registers. This long line is hemmed in --on all sides --by stuff: Lots and lots of stuff with red tags. Most of the marked-down merchandise was from the December holiday season and I wanted to bring everything home with me. Here's a list of what I saw at the checkout line:

  • ceramic elephant dish $3.00

  • coffee table book: psychic pets about $12

  • large red serving platters about $5

  • tree-shaped sugar lollipops (a set of 10 for about $6)

  • crossword puzzle books (hardback)

  • box of note cards: $6

  • dining room table $199

  • milk chocolate-covered Oreos $5 for a small container

  • Happy holidays (signs) and wreaths

  • tree ornaments

  • cookbooks

  • an exercise CD $2.50 for a boxed set of two (This item assaulted me in Target.)

Bottom Line: Standing in the checkout line can be hazardous to your wealth.


Previous Posts

Happy MLK Day! A News Roundup

How to Recycle Eyeglasses, Suits & More

6 Ways Going Back to School Can Pay Off

My Dog Dances in the Rain: Why I Want to Live Like Scruffy


Sharon Harvey Rosenberg is the author of The Frugal Duchess of South Beach: How to Live Well and Save Money... Anywhere!, which will be published in the Spring of 2008 by DPL Press.


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