Be A Savvy Shopper

Shopping - A Cup of Kathy

Some people like to search for rare antiques. Others enjoy the hunt for an unusual, uncommon or fine record, book or piece of art. But as a savvy shopper, my passion is the thrill of the chase as I scour the bargain trail for great deals.

Because there’s nothing like finding a deep discount on quality items my family and I need now or will use in the future, I’m going to share a few tips and tricks to help you do the same.

I use a variety of coupon web sites – including http://www.coupons.com; http://www.pgeveryday.com; and http://www.smartsource.com – and print my own coupons for groceries and health and beauty aids. I’ve learned how to stack a manufacturer’s coupon along with a store like the ones Price Chopper grocery store and Target issue for bigger savings.

And though I’ve been inspired as I watched re-runs of “Extreme Couponing” and “Extreme Cheapskates” TV shows, I’ve never been able to use so many coupons that I left the store with a cartful of groceries with no out-of-pocket expense, or made money with coupon overages and left with free groceries. I’ve also never separated two-ply toilet paper to make two rolls and never asked people for their leftovers at a restaurant.

I’m not cheap. I like nice things. I also enjoy shopping and consider bagging a bargain to be quite rewarding and great fun. No matter what I shop for – groceries, clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, housewares, bedding and linens, outdoor living and home décor – I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and yes, I’ll admit to a little bragging by showing off lengthy register receipts to illustrate my savings.

My ensemble today consists of a black Kohl’s private-label Croft and Barrow long-sleeved t-shirt, which I liberated from the clearance rack for $4.00…plus I had a 30% off coupon, so I bagged a classic top (originally $18.00) that I have worn many times and that holds up well in the wash, for just $2.80. My Just My Size berry colored denim jeans were on clearance from $18.97 to $9.00 at Walmart. With CT sales tax, the two items came to $12.55.

I learned a long time ago that even though an item is marked a certain price, it may not ring up at that price at the registers. It happened with the above mentioned Walmart jeans, which first rang up at $13.00. I showed the cashier that there were two clearance prices on the jeans – $13.00 and $9.00. After an associate confirmed that the price was $9.00, a supervisor did a price over ride to correct the price.

I’ve also come across some great buys at Ocean State Job Lot. I picked up a trio of first-quality classic Jones of NY three-quarter sleeve t-shirts in white, black and royal blue for $7.00 each. I liked them even more after seeing those same tops selling in Marshalls for $16.99 each. I was beyond thrilled when I found a couple of Sonoma Everyday (a Kohl’s store brand) first-quality three-quarter sleeve T-shirts for $7.00 each at Ocean State – and they quickly replaced the same summer staple tops I had previously bought at Kohl’s and wore so often they had become threadbare.

Be A Savvy Shopper - A Cup of Kathy

I became a Kohl’s groupie some years ago while on a business trip to Pennsylvania. I was impressed with the quality, brand names, store brands and selection of clothing and footwear for the family, accessories, costume and fine jewelry, housewares, bedding and linens, outdoor living and home décor, as well as the sale and clearance prices.

It took a few years before Kohl’s arrived in Connecticut and I remember counting the days until the grand opening of the Wallingford store. I went and I was hooked. Who wouldn’t love a store where almost everything goes on sale and later gets progressively marked down (60%, 70%, 80%, up to 90%)…they send store credit card holders frequent percentage off coupons…and you can periodically earn Kohl’s cash which can be used on future purchases.

I closed out 2017 with a December 31st afternoon raid on Kohl’s. While most people were thinking about New Year’s Eve or lamenting the brutally cold weather, I was thinking spring and summer…and came away with a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt capri pants (originally $50.00) and two short-sleeved Croft and Barrow t-shirts (originally $18.00 each) – all at 90% off their original prices – and since I can’t resist a bargain, two coastal Christmas ornaments (originally $9.99 each), which were 70% off.

But you know that’s not what I paid. I reaped extreme savings by combining outstanding clearance prices with $10.00 in Kohl’s Cash and a 15% off my total purchase coupon. I happily went on my way after handing the cashier $0.56.

When a Kohl’s flyer arrived recently in the mail, I quickly peeled off the label that hid what my additional percentage off would be…and found 30%! You don’t need a crystal ball to see that there’s a trip to Kohl’s in my future.

Have I inspired you to head out onto the clearance, closeout and markdown hunt?

Please share the some of the best bargains you’ve bagged by dropping me a line in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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