Hi, my name is Jessie and I’m a shopaholic. Okay, confessions done and anyone who knows me knows that I have a problem. Shoes…I love them. Clothes…just as awesome. Books and DVDs…can’t get enough of them. It’s really sad and if I knew how to save more than I spend, I’d be worrying a lot less about paying off college in a few months (Okay, I’m not that bad but I do like to spend once I start). However, the one thing I have learned from my Southern mama is how to shop smart. A good Southern belle never pays full price and she knows how to get the most bang for her buck. Here’s a few things I’ve learned from years of gift cards and money as Christmas presents because my family thinks I’m so hard to shop for.
First off, there is something beautiful about gift cards. It doesn’t even feel like you are spending your own money because they’ve given you all these wonderful little cards that are filled with the code that gets me money to my favorite stores. I always end up with lots and lots of Victoria’s Secret and sometimes some Barnes and Noble and American Eagle cards. The two clothing stores are great for getting cards to because they are running amazing sales during this time of year. For Victoria’s Secret, you have to spend $100 to get free shipping and you have to be sure that you input the code to get it, too (Which seems like a huge scam to me because you should get it as soon as you have that much money in your shopping bag). Here’s the deal with this store, though. The Semi-Annual Sale really is awesome (I’ll be heading to my mall in search of some Orioles gear in about an hour) but it doesn’t start in stores until January 2 each year. But it does start online a few days before Christmas. Of course, you have to fight for your sizes and in the case of most sports teams (If you are like me and only want that usually) but it’s a good deal when you can get it. I had my basket filled with the things I really wanted in my size and a few back-up items before the holidays this year. As soon as I got all my cards, I hopped online, signed into my account (this allows you keep everything in your cart no matter what computer you are on), and pushed order as quickly as possible. I really lucked out this year and was able to get Steelers yoga pants, a Steelers bling hoodie, a Steelers long sleeve shirt, and Bama yoga pants all for just over $100. Thanks you, gift cards for allowing me to spend that much money. The gift card I just got will be used in stores today because they have things you won’t find online. The store put out everything in the back that they didn’t sell earlier in the year (Let’s go O’s!).
As for American Eagle, I’m not sure if the sale is still running, but they were taking an extra 50% off all the items already on sale. There was a good combination of stuff that had been on sale a while, which gives you the opportunity to pick up anything you had been contemplating buying, and new sale items, which are super cute and you can covet new things. I got a new cable knit sweater for about $15 and a cute blingy tank that I rocked for New Year’s Eve (with those super cute skinny kick jeans that have the sparkles on the back pockets) for about $10. Considering both of them at regular price would have run me about $50 and I spent less than my $25 gift card, I’d say I did a pretty darn good job.
Of course, you can’t forget about outlets when you are shopping at this time of year. My mama went to Coach on her birthday (the day after Christmas) and scored big time. She got a huge Navy bag for $81! How did she do that? Well, it was on clearance so there’s 50% off; then you add on the 30% off coupon at the door and you get another 10% off because the stores on sale after Christmas. She was very happy with herself. I scored pretty good, too. You know those really furry North Face fleeces that everyone’s been getting? Well, I am partial to Columbia because they are cheaper and just as good and they happen to make these, too. I got a super cute white and pink one–originally $100–for $47. It was half off and then I signed up for the e-mail list so I could get an extra 10% percent off. I was one happy girl.
Here’s my thing about online shopping. I love getting stuff offline because there’s some pretty funky, cute stuff that no one else will have in my town. Plus, it’s really the only place I can get Bama stuff since I’m not exactly in the state. There was a lot of stuff that I wanted but I knew I’d only budget myself $100 for these purchases. What I did was go through each place I wanted stuff figured out what the total would be for each store including shipping and balanced that against how important the item was to me. Two things that I knew I wanted (It really helped that the shipping wasn’t bad) was a new Bama hat and sticker for my Jeep from Football Fanatics and a Farm Kings t-shirt (I may be slightly obsessed with the show and planning on going there next time we head up to the Burgh). The rest of the things–a Junk Gypsy belt, a Buck Commander shirt and koozie, a Just for Does shirt and koozie, a Kiss My Southern Sass tank top–were then compared based on how much I had left over. Buck Commander has like a $10 shipping fee as does Just for Does, which I thought was a little crazy, so those went out the door. I figured I would wear a KMSS tank more than I would the Junk Gypsy belt because the tank would look super cute with yoga pants at the gym (and it was only like $3 shipping) so guess what won?
I know it all may seem compulsive and OCD to do all this just with gift cards and Christmas money instead of just buying what I want, but I like to make sure that I am not only getting exactly what I want but also making sure that I am getting the best deal possible. I was able to get everything I wanted plus some for less than what people who don’t do this did. Maybe it’s because we haven’t always been that well off that I know how to do this; maybe it’s because we’re Southern but I feel much more successful when shopping smartly than when just spending money on things that I want. Happy New Year and spend wisely, y’all!