In Day 31 of No Credit Needed’s 33 Days and 33 Ways to Reduce Debt and Increase Savings, NCN says to avoid the mall. And I wholeheartedly agree. Except that for me, it isn’t the mall. My problem is Target.
I love Target. I love the bright lights, the wide aisles, I even love the red and white bullseye logo. When we bought our current house a little less than a year ago, one of the things I mentioned to everyone who asked me about the house was “It is only minutes away from Target!” And it is. I had visions of going to Target once a week or so and scouring their aisles for clearance deals and considered myself a savvy shopper.
But the problem is, I would buy things I didn’t need and wouldn’t buy otherwise just because they were on clearance. Yes, that $3 pair of pants for my son was a great bargain – but only if he needed a pair of pants. Being inexpensive is no justification for buying volume that is not necessary. In fact, if I buy 5 pairs of pants at $3 each when I only needed one pair of pants that was originally $10, I would have been better off paying full price for the one pair of pants.
I have rectified this in a few ways. First, I just don’t generally go to Target anymore. I found once I stopped going just to browse, I realized that I honestly didn’t really need to go there all that often. Next, if I do go there, I go in knowing exactly what I need, and I don’t look around. I go in, I get the item, I buy it, I leave. I found doing this when I have an appointment scheduled soon after so I am in a time crunch worked really well. And my last idea hasn’t been tested yet, but I am hoping it works. Sometimes I do truly need to shop the clearance racks for clothes for my kids. But in the past, I generally browsed and bought whatever I liked as long as it was a good deal. This year, I am going armed with a list of specific items and sizes, for example, sweaters, no more than 3, size 4/5, and I am going to shop specifically from the list. I had sworn I would not go to Target at all this season, but when I was taking my son’s winter clothes out of storage this year, I found a bunch of sweaters and shirts and pants I bought for him last year on clearance that I really did need for this year. I just generally buy too much (and last year was no exception, no child needs 13 pairs of pants). So this year when everything winter goes on clearance, I will have a specific list limiting me to only what I need of each item. Hopefully it works.