Frugal Advice from Patrick J. Beaird

The Real Deal!

Just walk into almost any store and take a look around. If you look hard enough you'll find signs displaying 40%, 50%, 75% or even 90% off confirming that it's a frugal shopper's dream come true, or is it!?!? Taking advantage of these opportunities is tempting and can even stretch those gift cards farther than you ever dreamed, However, before you embark on your shopping spree take a little time to consider these points which may make for a frugal start to the New Year!

  • Plan ahead by thinking through the items you are looking for and make a prioritized list. Items may include the premium wrapping paper or decorations you'd like to have for next Christmas or your kid's next birthday gift.
  • Determine how much money you have to spend ahead of time including for gas and a meal or treat and stick to that amount. You may already have a big Christmas bill, why add to it foolishly?
  • Think about which stores carry the items you are looking for and the order in which you want to visit them. Consider when you will shop and estimate how much time you will spend in each store. 8pm on a Monday night may help you avoid the crowds and get in and out much faster.
  • Call first; ask the store if they have the items you are looking for and don't be afraid to ask for prices. Doing as much leg work ahead of time will help maximize the use of your shopping time.
  • Try the internet. Many stores offer sale and clearance items online.
  • Estimate how far will you have to drive? The cost of gas can eat away dramatically at your budget and potential savings?
  • Reconsider each potential purchase. Sometimes taking a few moments to think over a purchase can help you come to your senses!
  • Be honest, regarding your purchases? Are they wants or needs? Don't just buy 10 sets of extra Christmas lights because they are marked down.
  • Consider not going at all. Save your time, money and avoid the crowds all together.
  • Haggle! Just because it's already marked down doesn't mean there isn't room to go down farther! All they can do is say no.
  • Shop with friends. You can carpool and split the cost of gas while enjoying the time together.
Finally, when you are out and about, remember, you can spread Christmas cheer even after Christmas! Holding the door for someone and wishing them well may help make their day!

Happy Shopping!

I answer select questions and share experiences and tips through my articles. Feel free to write me at: or Patrick Beaird, P.O. Box 9203, Springfield, IL, 62791

Copyright 2007 Patrick Beaird