The holidays bring out the bargain hunter in me.
Black Friday has been my favoritest holiday for quite a few years. The husband and I used to dump the maniacs with the in-laws on T-Day evening and hit the stores running by 5am. We were an awesome team. We had the playbook memorized.
There was the Divide and Conquer, which could be used in a single store, or a wider zone, multi-store method. There was the Full Court Press, where the offense would grab the merchandise while the defense maneuvered the shopping cart to clear the path. And there was the Out of Bounds play, where someone would wait on line with the cart while the other grabbed a few more items.
And then we'd celebrate our victory over breakfast. Followed by a nap.
Once our home team really out-numbered the in-laws, our tradition had to change. We started tag teaming Black Friday. The husband would hit the midnight sales or get crazy enough to hit the insane lines for the 4am sales, and I would head out on my own once he came home.
Sure, we did most of it for the sport, but we really did snatch up great deals. This wasn't insanity for insanity's sake.
This year, BF really didn't have much to offer us. There was no thirst for victory to quench. And it was kind of sad.
I headed out to Walmart around 8, unable to fully let go of the tradition. I wandered the aisles with a heavy heart, picking up a few odds and ends in attempt to sooth myself. I did get a few good deals on some small gifts. The only steal of the day wound up being my own Christmas wish. I snagged a Cricut Expression (retail $499.99, often on sale for $249-299) for $199. Which has actually made me feel guilty for the past week.
And then I went on to take advantage of the Nikon sale and bought myself a new camera, which has made me feel even more guilty.
I had much more luck with Cyber Monday, something I hadn't really participated in, since I've always blown my budget 3 days earlier. I won't go into detail, but the packages have started to roll in. I averaged about 50% savings, with free shipping on nearly everything. Not too shabby.
So I'm trying to rationalize my splurges. The whims I indulged probably come close to matching the savings I got. And these are things I've been wanting for a very long time, but didn't feel comfortable paying retail. And I definitely didn't pay retail! They're things I know I'll use to their full value. They're things that will make me happy, once I get passed the guilt.
But the spam thing...
You know all of the grocery shopping spam that goes around? Usually something like this:
"The Free Groceries Loophole!
Being a mom of 4 I know how important savings are. I am also a cashier at a major supermarket. When I noticed the same 4 people always coming in and getting overflowing carts of products for practically nothing, I knew I had to find out how they are doing it. One day I decided I would ask them when they are on my line. They all told me they are members at XYZ dot com, which they told me is a savings clearinghouse for just about anything you can imagine. It didn't take me long to visit their site and sign up for the sampler kit. When the package arrived about a week after I signed up, I knew I had something special in front of me. The people I spoke with weren't kidding, groceries I knew were at huge discounts but just about everything else to from perfumes to fine jewelry and tools. I hope this will help others too!"
I hate spam. I hate Spam, and I hate spam. I haven't indulged in Spam since I discovered what Spam was, and I haven't indulged in spam since I discovered what spam was. But I did learn to make my mom's Spam casserole with real ham, and I learned to look for legitimate grocery store savings. The following is NOT spam. I'm pretty sure it's impossible to spam your own blog.
I did try a grocery site about 2 years ago. It was 100% legit, but I had commitment issues. It required things like... remembering to buy the Sunday paper. I was expected to organize my coupons. And one of the big keys was sticking to lists. When I realized they weren't giving me a shopping fairy to take care of all of that, I quit.
But now I'm in full bargain mode. I've gotten a taste of what it feels like to buy myself fun stuff, and I want to squeeze more money out of my budget to be able to do things like that. Or send 4 kids to college. Or keep up with my hair maintenance appointments so I don't ever have to spend 4 hours in a salon again, trying to fix myself. So, once again, I signed up at http://www.thegrocerygame.com/.
Please believe me- this is not spam!
I just went grocery/drug store shopping based on The Grocery Game for the second week. The first week, I saved around 30%. This week, cross my heart, I saved 50% on my bills. On stuff we actually use. Including meats and produce. Including 7 boxes of cereal, which will be gone in less than 2 weeks, I'm sure. Including batteries and curly light bulbs. And I didn't buy any Spam.
I'll admit, I did buy hot dogs. At least they weren't in cans.
Now here's some quasi-spam. The Grocery Game does offer a 4-week trial for $1. If I refer people, I can get free weeks on my membership. Instead of posting my referral info and saying "Do this now!" I'm just going to tell anyone who might want to ask me about it to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm not posting this because I'm desperate to save about $10 over a 12-week period. If I were that desperate, I'd return my camera or sell a maniac. I'm posting it because I really did save a good chunk of cash and want to share the info with anyone who's willing to look like a loony tune in order to do the same.
Today, I think I may take a few pictures and maybe even work on a few scrapbook pages. Tonight, I might start opening boxes and wrapping gifts. In the long run, I've probably broken even. How can I let myself feel guilty about that? After all, I have at least 7 years before Yale tuition bills start rolling in!