the words clearance sale, i can't resist

JudithJuly 7, 2003

I have always been an impulse buyer. I am the one that the stores put up those special displays for and a lot of times I end up buying something that I never would have even thought of if I hadn't seen the sign saying "Clearance Sale" or "Special Buy." Just this past Saturday I bought a toaster for $12.00 that was on a clearance sale shelf. I didn't need a toaster and only bought it because I was lured to the display by the big sign and it looked like a good deal so before knew it, I had bought it. Then I was kicking myself, not because I had bought a toaster that I didn't need, but because I bought the 2 slice toaster when they had a 4 slice toaster for the same price. I haven't used a toaster in several years and I actually have 2 older toasters in my cabinet at home. Clearance Sales have always been my weakness. I just cant' resist a bargain. How do others avoid buying something that they hadn't intended to buy because it was on sale and a really good deal? Help! Judith

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1. Stay out of the stores. :-) That is the one thing that will help more than anything else, and if I remember correctly from the organizing forum, you are on a very limited time schedule anyways, which means that every time you stop to buy something you don't need, you're not only wasting money, but you're spending *time* - the other valuable commodity.

2. When you bring home something new, make it a rule that you *have* to toss whatever the new item is replacing. So now that you have a new toaster, either return it to the store, or throw out *both* the old ones. You're just adding more clutter and stress to your life, neither of which you need.

3. Mostly, it comes down to self-discipline. Write the words "Do I Really Need This?" on a few small slips of paper, and tape them to your credit cards and checkbook. Remember, it's not actually a "sale" if it's taking something *away* from you - in this case, space, time and money - without giving you anything in return (you said you never use toasters - so you are getting *nothing* back from it).

That toaster wasn't really a sale or bargain for you at all. You spent money and time on it, and it will only add to the clutter in your home.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2003 at 6:22PM
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Hi again, Judith,

Maybe you can give some thought, while on your daily commute, about some way to revamp one of those used toasters into part of the dental services that you've been stuck with lately.

That sounds like a pretty tall order - pretty hard to bring off. Pretty hard to get a good fit, I think.

On the other hand - maybe you could find a way to change a toaster so that it can help with the needed repairs to your home.

Maybe you could offer one or more of them to your dentist or home renovator as part payment of his/her bill.

They call that "barter", don't they?

Of course, they may allow only a minimal amount, as they already have a toaster, or prefer a different style, or their spouse likes to shop for her/his own household appliances.

How about taking the new one back to exchange for a four-slicer (even trade, of course)?

Then you could put a sign on the lawn inviting the neighbours in for Saturday morning breakfast, at lower price than local restaurants, as you serve limited menu. You could serve waffles that you've cooked ahead and frozen.

On the other hand - you can tell yourself that you now have bought yourself enough toasters to last through that retirement that you'd like to start in the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, if you don't use toasters, they'll be a long time wearing out.

They're hardly a major enough item to mention in your will - but you could write a companion note to go along with your will to indicate which of your precious relatives you'd like to benefit from (one or more of) the three.

Unfortunately, they may be out of style by then, as we hope that you're not about to cash in your chips in the foreseeable future.

Rather than all of this complicated thinking - much better to just keep your money in your jeans in the first place.

The ads, TV, etc. all tell us that the way to achieve all of the great goals that we want in life - is to buy their sponsors' stuff.

But - next week, they want us to buy something else.

And other stuff of questionable need in our personal lives in the following week.

A never-ending cycle.

Have you ever watched a dog deeply dedicated to chasing its tail? Much ground covered - but not much achieved.

It's smartest to check out our financial priorities before we pull out the wallet.

If you are tempted to put such stuff on the credit (really "debt") card, best to make a resolution to pay for all such stuff in cash. When you pass each piece of currency to the cashier, ask yourself which is more important to you - the stuff, or the cash?

You have some other important destinations for the cash, if I recall correctly.

Finally - thanks for sharing with us this way of using your money that apparently troubles you - it takes courage to do that. That courage will help you take effective action in ways to use your money - if you trust yourself to take that action.

You can win this one, girl.

Good wishes for achieving what you really want with your money.

joyful Ed

    Bookmark   July 7, 2003 at 8:04PM
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That was me before I discovered the Organizing Forum here on THS. Now, you can't even give me something for FREE! If I don't need it, I don't bring it in my house.

One of my rules is - if you bring something home, something else must LEAVE. That really helps me logically determine if I really need a toaster, no matter how good a deal it is!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 8:02AM
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Hi again TREKaren,

Now - there's an idea that I should consider.

When something comes in - something must go out.

Oh, dear. Don't know if I can summon up the courage to implement it.

I have so much stuff here that I almost forget the colour of the carpet. Can hardly get in the door.

Much of my stuff has been picked up along the street - found a bunch of kids clothes scattered along the expressway the other day. I plan to wash the stuff and take it to a hard-up (mostly female) folks' group in town.

After Sunfest, local celebration of international song, dance, etc. finished Sunday night, I wheeled a small display stand from son's booth of inflatable plastic toys several blocks to his apartment.

I invited him to return with me to investigate a treasure that I'd found. Though sceptical of one more of Dad's "finds" - he came.

Imagine his surprise to find a new tent cover, about ten feet square, similar to one that he'd just bought, put into the garbage at the park where the celebration had been held.

He rejoiced all the way home - and commended Dad for having found something really worthwhile. He didn't add, "for a change". But he had commended me for picking up the kids' clothes along the highway.

I referred elsewhere to how I dragooned him last year into carrying one end of a chesterfield/couch about three blocks to my place, with the other end in the hatch of my little car, in the middle of the night.

I left him with a lot of the equipment from the display, in the hallway outside his door, that he had to store in his one-bedroom apt. - and he can hardly get in the door, as it is.
Life has its problems.

I hope that you all enjoy a fine summer week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 4:19PM
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Judith -
"How do others avoid buying something that they hadn't intended to buy because it was on sale and a really good deal?"

It's not a good deal unless you NEED IT! If your only toaster had just gone up in flames, it would have been a "good deal". But I don't see how that toaster was a "really good deal"? It took 12 dollars out of your wallet when you already have TWO working toasters at home. You might as well have burned the money for all the good that deal is doing you. Can you take it back for a refund.

Make a list of what you need and shop from the list ... on the list include things you need, but not urgently, that you are waiting for a super clearance sale on. But if it's not on the list, you don't buy it.

Leave your credit cards at home ... take as much cash as you can afford to spend and use that. When you run out, you quit.

And if you find this too hard ot do, get counselling. Impulse buying is a very destructive habit.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 10:07AM
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Thanks for all of the advice. I just need to not go near the clearance sales and just get in and out of the store as quickly as I can. I do intend to use the new toaster. One of the ones I have at home is over 45 years old and was my mother's when I was a teenager. It still works but not real well. The other one I bought about 40 years ago. It works but sometimes the toast is either not brown or burned. I do plan to start using the new one. I like toast but just didn't want to hassel with the 2 older toasters that don't toast very well. I must admit that I do have some things at home, still in their boxes, that I bought beause it was such a "good deal." I just have not really had the time to used any of these things and I do plan to use them if I ever get to retire. By the way, I have never, ever used my credit cards to make any of these purchases. I have had problems in the past with high credit card debt but thoses were from high dental bills, high auto repairs, big plumbing repair bills, and other unexpected and necessary bills, none were frivilous purchases. I just found out this week that my car needs over $1,500 worth of work done on it to keep it running. I had them do $635 in work yesterday and will have the rest done over this month and next month. I had to put this on my credit card as much as I hated to, but I really didn't have a choice since I need my car to drive the 30+ miles each way to work every day. I do need to stop buying things I don't really need and I need all the helpful advice I can get. Thanks. Judith

    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 11:39AM
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You may need to stop buying things you don't really need, but I don't see that this toaster fits into that category. Take those other toasters over to the nearest antique store and sell them, and START EATING GOOD TOAST!


    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 2:58PM
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Well see, now that changes *everything*!!! If you like toast (like I really do - eat it every morning for breakfast), and it was just the other two toasters holding you back, then by all means, consider it a good deal!! When you said you don't use the other toasters, I assumed it was because you don't eat toast - this is a whole 'nuther thing. Do get rid of the other two toasters though - no sense in wasting space on them...

    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 5:28PM
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I'm immediately attracted to the sale shelves too! But, I've learned to tell myself, "It might be a good deal (50% off or something) but it's even cheaper if I don't buy it and save the $12!"

Sell the other two toasters in a yard sale, or see if an antique store might want them?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 4:38PM
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Who's boss in your life?


Your wallet?

Or the store?

Better to have fewer boxes of unused stuff in the house - and more money in pocket to pay at least half of the needed car repairs, roof repairs, tooth repairs, or whatever.

I, too, jumped to unwarranted conclusions about the real reason for not using the inadequate toasters.

Sounds like it's time to put 'em on pension and retire 'em.

By the way - my toaster usually browns pretty well - but the mechanism is so stiff that it's hard to get the slider down to start it working.

Maybe I'll have to move next door to you and rent your toaster every other day.

Speaking of "day"s - have a good one. And enjoy your weekend.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 8:31PM
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Judith, I used to be unable to resist "clearance" too but after following Flylady for a year, it's easy to pass right by. Most of what's on cleearance is CLUTTER the store can't get rid of any other way. It's clutter at the store, and clutter in my house.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 11:13PM
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I wonder if what happened with that toaster is that part of you was trying to throw out those two the DON'T work.

Maybe THAT is where your problem is--that you hang on to stuff you should throw out. If you'd had a 2-year-old, works-perfectly-every-time toaster at home, would you have bought that toaster?

Now, I expect you to post back that you threw those old toasters OUT (if you want to, you may take them to an antique dealer, but you have to TAKE them there!).

(don't you hear me whispering in your ear, "first, do no harm"?)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 11:42AM
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When I'm in the stores, I try to remind myself of what one of the forumers said a while back about how nice it would be if it were possible to go around the house and touch the things that we regret buying and have them turn back in to the money we spent for them. I try to keep this in mind and usually I can put a lot of impulse buys back on the shelf before I buy them. I also try to keep in mind the clutter already in my home and if this new thing is really needed or will it just make the problem worse.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2003 at 8:41PM
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"By the way, I have never, ever used my credit cards to make any of these purchases. I have had problems in the past with high credit card debt but thoses were from high dental bills, high auto repairs, big plumbing repair bills, and other unexpected and necessary bills, none were frivilous purchases."... "I do need to stop buying things I don't really need and I need all the helpful advice I can get."

However, if you had not made whatever "frivolous" purchases you have made, you would have that much more money in savings right now that could be put toward your car repair, rather than putting your car work on the credit card. The fact that you did not use your credit card at the time of purchase does not mean those purchases have not contributed to your credit card debt. They most certainly have. Since you are concerned about your credit card debt, maybe that's what you should ask yourself when tempted to buy... "do I want/need this enough that I would put it on my credit card if I did not have the cash?" If the answer is "no", then leave it in the store and put the cash toward paying off your balance or in reserve for the next emergency. Remember-there's always a next emergency.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2003 at 1:53PM
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That's good advice. Clark Howard has always advocated a lifestyle of "self-insuring" against unforseen emergencies. Car repairs, dentist, etc fall into that unpredictable area. Mentally rehearse before you go shopping, and when you are tempted, say, "No, that money would be better off in my personal insurance account." Then take what you WOULD have spent, and move it into your savings account. Before you know it, you'll have a good nestegg.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2003 at 7:46AM
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