With all this weight loss talk lately, don't go thinking I have gone and ditched money saving in favour of fighting the flab though, I'm still doing my bit! You may remember I recently saved heaps on buying the boys summer clothes out of season. This was great as I am now sorted for next summer and from now on, I will know to always shop out of season, but I still had the problem of this winter to deal with - with Liam growing like a mushroom, he was going to need stocking up on pretty much everything. I was expecting shopping for winter to be a painful experience. When I was ill with the flu a few weeks ago, I rang the department store whose huge sale on kids' clothes I missed. I gave them the full sob story, how I had desperately wanted to take advantage of their specials but had been too ill to make it. The man at the other end of the phone was very sympathetic and said 'I can't say too much, but keep an eye out as there may be something else coming up in the next month. Are you on email?' I said I was and he told me to go to their website and join their email club (for Kiwis this is www.farmers.co.nz but I'm sure many large stores have one). I duly did so and in the middle of last week I received an email of a sale which was not going to be advertised in the media. It was even better than the sale I had missed - that sale had been 20% of all children's clothes; this one was between 30 and 50% on new season's winter clothes! I took myself along, managed to stock up on everything BOTH the boys needed for this winter AND next and saved a massive $244! Take note I did take care to go through the boys' wardrobes beforehand and wrote a list so I would only buy what they needed. The store wasn't even busy, as so few people knew about the sale unless they happened to walk in. It just goes to show that it really does pay to keep an eye on what the stores are doing and take advantage of any free VIP services they offer.
I find it very interesting that some savvy Vault members actually go as far as to set up a 'clothing budget' and allocate money each week to go into a specific clothing fund. I think it's a really good idea. I admit that I do have one department store card (don't worry, there's nothing on it and hasn't been for months!) which I did used to use specifically for this purpose - buying the kids' clothes. In years gone by I always used to find that whenever I needed to do a big clothes shop for the boys, I didn't have the money so I would use my store card and pay it off. Of course, back then I wasn't clued up enough to wait for sales and keep an eye out for specials in the mail, however at least I did make one rule, that the card was to be used for buying children's clothes only and nothing else. I did stick to that rule but I don't need it any more. The card is from the same store that held the massive sale the other day and I proudly paid cash for my huge swag! I wish I had known what I know now back when my children were babies. I never once thought about buying second hand clothes for my kids - although I did for myself! I always bought new for them and just used to pass anything they no longer needed on to friends or op shops - I certainly never thought about buying and selling my kids' clothes through online auctions. I can only imagine what a saviour that must be for many Mums these days and wish I had been smart enough to do the same!
Mind you, is it any wonder so many new Mums get sucked in with advertising like I was? I was appalled yesterday when I was doing my online grocery shop and a banner popped up on the supermarket website advertising new Huggies Baby Change Mats. Oh puh-lease! How on earth did countless generations before ever do without them? 'Now you can change your baby no matter where you are!' - like we couldn't do it before? When I stopped being so indignant over the change mats, I cheered up considerably to see that once again my grocery bill had dropped yet again, which it has done every time I have shopped online. I certainly don't miss going to the supermarket and my budget and waistline have certainly benefited from me not buying plastic containers full of flashy take-home salads, along with several posh cheeses and half a dozen various dips. Nope, if I want a salad these days I do it the old fashioned way, by going to the garden, picking some tomatoes and cutting a lettuce and mixing them up in a bowl!