I have been wracking my brain trying to think of what I should write about next. I have a lot of things that I could write, but it is not going to mean much to me or to anyone reading it if it isn't something that I feel strongly about at the time. I finally decided that I would write a little about making wise purchases, and specifically, about how spending more can sometimes save you in the long run.
Haircare: Something that I have discovered in the past 6 months is the benefit of spending a little more on my haircare products. My stylists have always said how the salon products are more concentrated, better for your hair, yadda yadda yadda. I was given a few samples after a haircut back in March, and since then I have been hooked! I couldn't believe the difference in my hair. I have naturally curly hair so I used to go through conditioner like crazy, and styling products too. With good quality products I use a fraction of what I did of the regular store brands. Now, I'm not stupid - I won't just buy the stuff for top dollar at the salon. But there are a lot of places where you can get the salon products at cheaper prices. I have been doing more and more shopping at Beauty Express (Trade Secret) lately because they can have some smokin' sales! And don't forget to check the clearance section where you can sometimes find discontinued products, or ones that have had a packaging change for 75% off. I've also bought stuff on Ebay, and even with shipping it was cheaper than what it would have cost at the salon. Frugal tip(s): I have a stylist friend who told me about a study she read regarding hair care products. The results of the study found that there was very little difference in the results produced by shampoos you find at the store compared with the salon brands. So if you're going to splurge, put more money into conditioners and styling products. Also, see if the place you purchase your products from has a frequent shopper program where you can get points and discounts.
Children's Clothing: I've been a die hard fan of second hand clothing stores for a long time - places like Kid to Kid or Once Upon a Child . The trouble is, as my girls get older I find that the selection in the larger sizes is getting to be slim pickings. So I've had to start buying new more and more. Children's clothes are NOT CREATED EQUAL! When I go shopping I want clothes that are going to be good quality, but I also want clothes that will make them look like children. My girls may be getting older, but I refuse to dress them in the grungy, skanky hoe clothing that is so prevalent today. I have been doing more and more shopping at Gymboree because, once again, they can have some fabulous sales. I can't afford their regular prices, but get on their emailing list and you'll be informed of sales in advance. I'm finding more and more that I can buy brand new, good quality, cute clothes there on sale for the same prices I was paying at the secondhand store.
Shoes: I really don't mean to be endorsing so many specific retailers, but I have to put a plug in for Famous Footwear. Getting my frequent shopper card there was one of the best shopping decisions I ever made. Great sales, decent quality, online purchasing (with easy, in-store returns), great discount coupons, and great rewards. It just couldn't be easier. Get on their email list, get one of their frequent shopper cards (totally free) and voila!
Although all evidence may seem to the contrary at the moment, I'm not a fan of shopping. I like to get in, find what I want/need, and get out. I think that's why I've never been a huge fan of yard sales. You can find some seriously good deals at yard sales and they certainly have their place. In my experience, however, they take a ridiculous amount time that is largely spent sifting through garbage. I'd rather be keyed in to the programs and benefits available at my favorite stores.