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Money & Finance
Articles: Money

Memoirs of a Born Again Bargain Shopper

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It wasn't so long ago that I remember shopping the generic aisle in the grocery store with my mother, wondering why we couldn't just buy the name brand. As a teenager I was mortified when we would go out to Chinese food and my parents would insist on getting the family meal for 3 even though there were five of us. "There is plenty of food for everyone and it's cheaper, "my mother would say.

So in my twenties I had my own silent rebellion. I bought what I wanted, when I wanted. If I didn't have the cash, I charged it. Life is too short to be cheap I told myself.

Then it happened... 

I got married... We had a baby. I opted, after 11 years in corporate America , to be the stay at home mom and, suddenly, it became clear that my spending spree was coming to an end with an abrupt halt. My husband, unfortunately, had a similar financial track. So, here we are,  p aying off the financial sins of our past with a mindful eye on our future, which is embodied in our feisty 16 month old, who is bound to be utterly embarrassed by her penny pinching parents.

Oh, the circle of life.

I do believe, however, that we are the new generation of bargain shoppers. We don't cut coupons or buy dented canned food items. We do, however, belong to Sam's Club, shop the dollar stores and watch the sales papers, and take advantage of those occasional unadvertised sales that just fall in our lap from time to time. Bargain shopping has become a hobby and we actually enjoy it (which is fortunate, considering we don't have a whole lot of money for entertainment these days)!!

A few of our findings include:

The wonderful world of wholesale.

Personally, we belong to Sam's Club, but any discount bulk store will do. Once we had our daughter, we quickly realized that it was worth the $35 annual membership fee to buy diapers and formula in bulk. Bananas, salad, chicken, and milk are a few of the staple items we purchase there .   This save us a good $50 to 60 per month on groceries. Throw in the cheaper gas rates, and this membership has definitely paid for itself.

You gotta love the dollar store.

Cleaners are so much cheaper at the dollar store than anywhere else, it's worth the trip. Once you are there, you never know what else you might find. Holiday and party supplies are also available at great prices. We just went today and I stocked up on Easter goodies, aluminum foil, soap, and even a treat for my daughter.   all  for under $8!

Out with the old, in with the new.

We accidentally came across a few bargains in our quest for baby supplies that have been great money savers. When stores get the newer "model" of a toy or piece of equipment they tend to drastically mark down the older version. We purchased an exersaucer for our daughter for $15, normally $65 and an outdoor play set for $21 instead of $80. Still a brand new toy, and we enjoy the savings!

So, we will continue to search for more bargains which will surely be even more important as our daughter and our family grows. Perhaps, we'll even instill the importance of being thrifty to our daughter.or maybe she'll just have to learn that one for herself!

Teri Murray is a wife and mother living in Central Florida. Previously, a Training and Development Manager, she is currently running an online business, Timeless Tales, with her husband, John, and staying home with their one daughter, Kellie.  Teri is also an Affordable Luxuries Candle & Giftware Consultant. In their spare time, the couple writes freelance articles and poetry as well as takes photographs for their unique customized candy wrappers. You can check out their site at http://www.timeless-tales.com.