Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saving Moo-La-La #1: Scoring Christmas Steals

Post-Christmas REDS!!

Redline clearance that is...

I know it's a bit late to catch any after-holiday deals, but it's never too late to plan ahead for next year (lifestyle adjustment!).  I make sure to stash some of our Christmas cash during the days of mistletoe and Santa-impersonating with the intent to hit up the deals AFTER the Christmas rush.

For example, I saw beautifully monogrammed stockings (similar to the ones pictured above) in a magazine last November and immediately was a pantin' after them!  The "see it/buy it/WANT IT NOW" (ie, my AMERICAN heritage!) urge in me was about to rationalize to my hubby the cost of $150 (for a fam of six, with monogramming and shipping cost) for this great NEED.  Thankfully, I put the brakes on my stinkin' thinking and decided to be patient and wait for the sales.

The candy-cane flavored hot chocolate was still cooling when I switched into full on Elmer-Fudd-Mode and was ready to go holiday sale hunting!  I grabbed my four wittle wabbits and off we went: Target, Wal-Mart, the local mall and even Menards (I know you must be SO jealous of my thrilling hometown where we have SUCH fantastic selection for shopping).

When "sale-shopping" is planned ahead and in the budget (and you bring cash to spend ONLY what you planned to), it's no longer impulse shopping!  

A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist. 
— Franklin Jones

UNLESS you have planned ahead for it and need it!  We hit pay-dirt at Menards (of all places!) and I spotted these lovely, well-made knit stockings knocked down from their original price of $30 to...$6 bucks a pop!  Score one for a thrifty chic! 

Next, I brought the original magazine picture with their monogrammed names in a pretty font to show a seamstress at our local printing shop in town.  I  had them sew on each of our names for only...$5 bucks!  I LOVED the finished product:

That means had I pulled an All American Greed-Need purchase before Christmas, I would have spent $150 but by doing a little digging post Christmas, I spent only $66...that's a savings of $84 by simply waiting ONE month.  I can't wait until THIS Christmas when we can hang those babies by the fireplace with visions of sugarplums and extra dollars dancing in our head.

You may not have a craving for monogrammed Christmas stockings but the idea of this "Saving Moo-La-La" post is simply this: delayed gratifications is truly...GRATIFIYING!

Here's some fun thoughts about delayed gratification I recently stumbled upon:

This study has been replicated by David Walsh Check out this Youtube clip. There is a very strong link between delaying gratification and success in life, the earlier we learn this skill the better off we will be. However it is never too late to learn how to delay your immediate gratification; here are some tips that can help you along the way.
1. Make an Advance Decision and Know What You Want Get your decision in writing. Try to be as detailed as possible about your decision as well as the expected outcome. Sometimes it can be hard to say NO to things, you have to have a clear picture of what you want in order to resist the urge.
2. Know what is Important to You- Know Your Values. In order to be able to delay immediate gratification you need to know what is important to you, what do you value to most. Is it the satisfaction of owning a brand new car or that you own a pre-owned car debt free? Know your values.
3. Have a Plan I don’t think that every aspect of ones life should be planned out in detailed but in order to reach your goals, whatever they may be, you need to have a plan. You should have a financial plan to reach your financial goals, a career plan to reach your career goals etc. If you have a plan it becomes easier to resists the urge of immediate satisfaction, you maybe more conscious of your behavior and how they fit in your plan.
4. Prioritize Have clear priorities in life. This can be financial priorities or just general priorities, such as school comes before entertainment or family before friends. Having clear priorities will go a long way in delaying gratification.
5. Reward Yourself If you have long term goals, I highly recommend you set-up some short term goals and reward yourself for reaching them. Sometimes it can be very difficult to keep focus on long term goals if we don’t see some rewards, giving yourself small rewards can be very powerful.

More fun thought about Christmas deals: 
* I also use this sale-shopping time to update or add any new holiday decor to our home collection.
* Fun gift idea: if you have a wedding coming up, why not purchase a huge bright red or green tote and fill it with Christmas decor, wrapping paper, ornaments, etc. for the new bride and groom.  Everyone we have given this gift to LOVED it because (much like we were) it's something they don't often have or think of until the season arrives and (as most newlyweds are) the cost can be staggering to collect everything they want for their first home together.

* I have a tote in storage labeled "Anyone Gifts" that I fill with neat trinkets or pretty holiday dishes, etc. that would be lovely gifts the following year.  I have another one labeled "Specific Gifts" and fill this with special items for loved ones.  For example, a hand-sewn holiday sweatshirt my mother would love (at 50% or more off...I'm so busted now if you're reading this, Mom!) or some funky slippers for a niece.

Happy Hunting!

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