Category Archives: Shopping

Summertime Shopping

The word is spreading. And I’m happy about it!

Hung out with an old college friend last weekend. We spent a couple of days at Edisto Beach during my visit back to my South Carolina home state. Let me start out first with saying it’s really great having friends who want to spend quality time with you; especially friends you only get to see once a year. It’s even better when that friend offers up their family’s condo to do just that! It is a nice place on a beautiful golf course, with a small pond filled with large turtles. Are you getting the picture?

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Yes. It was a peaceful place to just do nothing. And we tried to do as much of that as we could.

But during one of our talkfests, Leigh was excited to share with me some really cool savings she happened upon on the way down to the beach. I don’t remember if she said it or I mentioned it, but the topic of catching raindrops came up as she started to share her incredible shopping savings.

Leigh is the mother of three, including two college students! She’s also married to an accountant. So making wise financial decisions is an important part of her daily family life. As a high school principal, Leigh also wants to be able to look professionally good at work. So when she went into a retail store to trade out a bathing suit she’d purchased earlier, she noticed a store sale that she couldn’t resist; after all, since she works year-round, and not off for the summer months as many of her teachers are, she needed a few more pieces for those super hot summer days in the South.

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But she wasn’t expecting such great savings; like the $90.00 dress she picked up for only $20 bucks! And the $58.00 blouse she got for $14.00. But probably the best savings of the day was a $50.00 shirt for just $5.00! So for less than $40.00 Leigh walked away with almost $200.00 worth of merchandise. And not just any merchandise, but clothes she actually needs and will wear. You see, that makes the difference. Shopping just for sales is the beginning of a problem, if that’s your only motivation. And that’s not where we at Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets, are coming from. However, if you’re shopping for need, then take the time to seek out sales, so that you’re also saving money (catching those raindrops) in the process!

So take the time to look for ways to save those dollars the next time you go shopping. There are plenty of savings out there for the taking. As a matter of fact, we’re coming into the best time period to purchase summer clothing and shoes for incredible prices. Why? Because our retailers seem to think that we’re ready for them to start loading in the Back to School fall items; even though the calendar says it’s not even the official first day of summer (June 21)!

But remember, their craziness is our gain!

Why Sometimes the Best Blessings Come in the Smallest Ways

So while stopping by a grocery store today, my purpose was to pick up some milk, find something for dinner, and keep moving. I didn’t really have time to do a complete shopping trip, but had forgotten to thaw some meat. I figured about $5.00 for my two cartons of almond milk, and up to another $5.00 tops for whatever I was going to pick up for dinner. But the moment I walked into the store, there in front of me was a display of fresh, whole pineapple for only 99 cents. So of course, I grabbed several of those, and also three of the bags of salad mix that had been marked down to 99 cents — all because they’re set to expire AUG 21. Sometimes, you’re just in the right place at the right time.

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After grabbing the milk I came for, and deciding to try a bag of black bean chips (really hoping it tasted better than it sound), I headed to the check out. Lucky for me, I was watching the register and noticed that the cashier double rang the pineapples, and at the original price and not the sale price. He caught the mistake, and subtracted it out and off the bill. Once my bill was totaled and I paid, I walked away slowly, a little confused by how little the amount was. I had 10 items, and yet my bill came to less than $10.00. I knew six of the items were 99 cents each, but I also had milk, chips, and a cucumber.

Confused, I went back to the cashier, who seemed surprised when I said “I think your computer took too much off the bill.” He just looked at me, laughed a little, and said, “I don’t know anything if you don’t.”

I stood there a bit longer, so he pointed me to the customer service and said, “but if you really want to do something about it, she can help you out.”

I’m sure he thought I’d call it a day, put the receipt into my purse and leave. But I didn’t. I went over to customer service, and repeated to her, “I’m not really sure how, because I can’t find the mistake on the receipt, but I know I underpaid for my groceries.” As we went over it, she took the receipt from me, went section by section, and finally just said, “well, I can’t find it,” and so she handed it back to me. 

My response to her?

“Oh well, I guess it’s just my day to be blessed!” I laughed, looked back at the receipt, knowing that this $8.98 total should have been almost twice that. Then I put it down into my purse and headed out the door. 

With payday still being two weeks away (bad part about only getting paid once a month), I decided, oh okay, I’ll take it!

Why Shopping this Weekend Could Save You Lots of Money

Tomorrow is our nation’s 239th birthday anniversary. Happy Independence Day! Celebrate the importance of the day. Hang out with friends and family, and enjoy cookouts and outdoor games in the neighborhood.

But after you get that electric ice cream maker going, and before you throw those hamburgers on the grill — GO SHOPPING!

This 4th of July weekend kicks off one of, if not THE, best times to shop for summer.

Why wait until July to shop for summer items? That’s easy. Because our retailers have become so obsessed with what I call “season jumping” that they put seasonal items on sale in the middle of the actual season the items are intended for, desperate to make space for items of the next season! For those of us in the South, that means summer’s out, and Fall’s Back to School items are in. The commercials have already started running!

You need more sunscreen, citronella candles, tiki torches, planters, lawn and patio furniture, outdoor fans and even grills? Head over to your Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and other stores like that. Want some colorful outdoor pillows, unique outdoor lanterns, lighting, and picnic items like plastic plates, utensils, and cups? Go check out places like Target, Pier 1, and even a grocery store like Kroger.  Remember, those red, white, and blue napkins aren’t just be for the holidays. Grab on-sale red today, use for a Christmas or Valentine’s gathering later. Blue? White? Anytime!

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But maybe you don’t need any more outdoor living supplies. This weekend is also great for buying summer clothing and shoes. Tank tops, shorts, sundresses and sandles have to go to make room for the more school-appropriate pants, skirts, tops and even sweaters. Yes, some retailers rack sweaters in their stores in August!

For the South, although our kids return to school by the second week of August, we still have three more months of hot-to-warm outdoor living. So that retailer rush that traditionally kicks off over the Independence Day weekend, is a great time for you to take advantage of the often 50%-75% off for things you need anyway, or can buy now and use next summer!

And don’t forget your gift closet. Grab some items now to give as gifts later — birthdays, Christmas, weddings, hostess, coaches, and babysitter gifts. Or just treat yourself. I did during the Bath and Body Semi-Annual Sale (still going on now), with bath, body, and home items up to 75% off. Why not send some of those wallflowers off to college with your coed for their dorm room? They’ll probably appreciate it. Or get a new calming candle for your office? Or hand lotion for your purse.

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No, I don’t own stock in any of these companies (but maybe I should). I just want to make sure my friends spend wisely. And there’s nothing like catching sales today for something you might need tomorrow and saving money in the process because of your advance planning for it all!