There are a lot of S-words, many of which I use frequently, and some of which I probably shouldn’t. But there is one four-letter S word that is one of my most favorite words in the English language: Sale.
I love a bargain. I rarely, if ever, purchase anything at full retail price. I generally think that top prices are unnecessarily high – ridiculous even. I will avoid designer, high-end products in favor of finding a similar item at a much reduced cost. I have a BFF who knows that if she loses track of me in a department store or clothing shop, she can easily find me in the back, browsing through the clearance rack. Finding a great deal gets my blood pumping and allows me to give myself a “yay me” mental high-five.
If I come home and tell my husband about a particular shopping triumph, he will look at me with a confused expression and say “you don’t need to rationalize to me why you bought that.” He doesn’t understand. I’m not rationalizing the why of a purchase, nor am I looking for some sort of approval. I’m simply just excited about my success, running on a high from the thrill of the hunt. Like a wild game hunter who will proudly show off his trophy and animal pelt, I will grin from ear to ear as I happily proclaim that “I got this cute blouse for only $8!” Of course, being attracted to shiny signs proclaiming great savings can be dangerous. Even small amounts can add up. And I definitely have a weakness for those $1 bins filled with things I don’t need but find strangely appealing – like clothes pins in the shape of kitchen utensils, or note pads with magnets on the back that won’t stick to my fridge.
I do realize, however, that I am not on a level of Professional Bargain Queen like some R.W.’s out there. I’m more like a Discount Princess. I could do better. I feel delighted with myself if I hand over four coupons at the grocery checkout…as if that $3 is really going to help my bottom line when I’m buying two weeks worth of groceries. And I’m notorious for either forgetting to check my stack of retail sale flyers at home before heading out the door, or not keeping track of expiration dates until it is too late. But I have become enamored with certain tools like the RetailMeNot App (which just saved me 40% at Michael’s tonight, thank you very much), and I get all excited when I head to the register at Kohl’s to see how much more of a discount they are going to give me beyond the already marked-down price. Score another yay me.
The Professional Bargain Queens out there do amaze me, and put my shopping prowess to shame. One R.W. in my life has the knack and patience to really find amazing deals. She can recite the best weekly discounts from newspaper and flyer ads. She will go to three different grocery stores to take advantage of the best sales. While my pile of coupons sits in an unorganized and likely expired heap on my kitchen counter, this woman carries with her at all times a small portfolio with her coupons inside, likely organized either alphabetically, or via date. She will tell me amazing tales of how she slayed the Retail Beast by, for example, combining rewards points, coupons, sales, rebates, (and I think standing on her head) and ends up getting a box of her hair color for $1. Her smile and expression is one of “See? It is so easy. You should run right out and take advantage of that deal too!”
As impressed as I am, and as appealing as the endless possibilities are, I know I just don’t have it in me to reach Pro level. I’m sure if I did, I could put away more money towards a vacation or my son’s college fund. But instead, I think I will just be happy to have a closet full of fun inexpensive clothes and funky costume jewelry. And maybe be able to afford going out for dinner once in a while.
The fun of finding an awesome sale and the excitement of getting deep discounts made me think about how great it would be if we could play Let’s Make A Deal in other areas of our lives. Imagine if by doing three loads of wash, we could get a new pair of jeans for free. Or when making a quick and easy taco supper, it magically turned into a gourmet three-course meal. Or after working five days in a week, you get the next four off, paid. How about after staying up with a sick child all night, you automatically receive a weekend at the spa? Drop a dish while washing them, get a new set for free. Just think how much we’d look forward to doing our chores if we got rewards and time off in return.
Ok, I know, that would require magic. But a girl can dream. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the giddiness that enfolds me each time I see my favorite four letter S word.
Who’s up for a hunt?