Well, I could probably write a book on thriftiness and the ways that I can look for a bargain – it is almost a form of entertainment…or you could call it a hobby, maybe.  The first time I realized that my kids were noticing was when Grant was very little and we were in a store – I’m not sure which one – maybe a Target.  Anyway, he was asking for something on a rack, and I said, “no, those aren’t on sale” – after which he looked at me quizzically and asked “well, why do they have them in a store then if no one can buy them?” – Ha!  Now they know that I automatically go to the rack of things that are marked down FIRST before we look at anything else!! 

I think I get my bargain shopping ways from Mimi, which I know will not surprise any of you…I have memories of sitting in auctions, and frequenting outlet malls, always looking for ways to save money.  I think that it is especially important, even when you CAN afford to pay full price for something to look for ways to get what you want for less money.  One of my favorite bargains is our white pottery barn kitchen table.  I had seen it in the catalog for about $1300 – WAY more than I wanted to spend, even though we had the money and could afford it.  The Pottery Barn outlet is outside of Atlanta and I knew that they had scratched/dented items from current catalogs in stock all the time and it was just a matter of time before the table that I wanted would be there.  Also, they frequently had additional percentage off of certain items.  So I showed up one day looking specifically for that table.  Lo and behold, there it was – in perfect condition (well, maybe a few small scratches), it was discounted in price PLUS there was an additional percentage off of dining tables on that particular day – all told after it was rung up I got that table for $119!!!  Now I call that a real deal!!

The internet has really enabled bargain hunters to find the best deals available on nearly anything from travel to school supplies, so my advice always is to do your research on something that you think that you want.  Many times I have found items on ebay or craigslist that are slightly used or even new at a fraction of the retail cost.  I also have recently started shopping for some clothing at Goodwill – especially for Grant in the men’s department.  I also seem to always find things for Mimi there, too!  It is amazing what you can find there and validates the phrase that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”!

I hope that Joe and I have instilled in our kids the value of working hard for what you have and being wise with your money and how you spend it.  I know that Grant now asks me to go to Goodwill when he needs new shirts!  Those name brands look the same on the rack there as they do in the department stores!  Kendall and I recently went on a shopping trip and I allowed her a budget of $100.  Now, Kendall LOVES to shop, so I was wondering how she would deal with being restricted in the amount she was able to spend.  I was very proud of her as we were in the dressing room and she had to make some difficult decisions about what she would keep and what she would return to the sales floor (of course we were only shopping at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s).  At the end of our trip, we discussed the amount of clothes that she ended up with by shopping at the discount stores versus “Justice” – and she concluded that she would have only been able to afford two or three items of clothing at the popular “Justice” store.  Carter is still a work in progress…thankfully he doesn’t care too much about clothes!  In all seriousness, Carter does do research on any item that he has a particular interest in and is very adept at searching on the internet for the best deals.  Maybe we should shop for an extra – large Belgian waffle maker to keep at Mimi and Papa’s house for the late night waffle parties!