You know you want to tell me about it

By Mir
August 24, 2006

I’m starting a new category, here. I think we’ll test this out and see how it goes; the idea is that—with my help, of course—you’re all becoming such savvy consumers, you’re going to be scoring awesome deals right and left. And what is better than a great deal? Being able to tell someone about your fabulous find!

(Someone other than, say, a nice woman at a cocktail party who admires your shoes and then you start squealing about how you found them at Goodwill and she recoils from you in horror and then says, “I have to go stand over there now” and runs away from you as quickly as possible. Not that that’s ever happened to me.)

So. Every now and again I’m going to suggest we have a Cheapness Lovefest and chat about our finds. Then we can all bask in the joy, together!

I’ll start. This week I went to our local kids’ consignment store to buy soccer gear for my son (which was also cheap, by the way), and my daughter discovered some martial arts sparring pads tucked away under the shinguards. She has been begging for sparring gear ever since she started Tae Kwon Do, but it’s expensive and I have always demurred. (Okay, she’s been in classes for about 8 months now, so my “maybe when I’m sure you’re going to stick with it” approach is losing efficacy, too.) Total cost for the helmet and handguards? $6. Total retail value (looked up online when I got home)? $48, without shipping. I’m feeling pretty pleased.

Your turn!


  1. Actually, this one peratains to you, oh beautiful one.
    You mentioned a while back about the TI-83 calculator at Office Depot on sale. I needed one for my daughter and was dreading paying $100+ for the damn thing. Office Depot had it on sale for $84 (still to much for me) and with your $20 off coupon code and another $30 gift card we got in the mail from them cuz of all the office related purchases we already make there, we ended up getting the calculator for, like $45. Yippee! Thanks to you.

  2. A few years ago I went to visit my sister in LA. She asked me if I would want to go to the Trina Turk outlet…as if she needed to ask me. Straight from the airport we zipped. Pants, normally which would retail in the $150-$200 range, $20 (that is correct, TWENTY DOLLARS)!!!! They still are in perfect, like new condition, that I’m planning on wearing them to her wedding celebration in October!

  3. We recently got a $10 Kohls ‘gift card’ in the mail. We actually got two, since a (foolish non coupon loving) friend knows of my bargaining skills and gave me hers as well. Well, the card states on it one per person so, faced with a free afternoon, I took my four year old daughter with me and gave her a lesson on what one could get for $10 (ie how much one could get if they looked at the full price, sale price, and clearance section)with the stipulation she could get anything she wanted as long as she stuck to her budget. She chose jewelry and found a necklace and bracelet in clearance that together totaled $9.80 After some careful selections I also found $10 worth of stuff (actually I did worse then her since my selection was $11.40). I put her in line in front of me and she very proudly gave the cashier her stuff and the gift card and then I did the same.

    Full retail value of items purchased: over $80.
    Amount paid: $1.40.
    Joy to my daughter in being able to have such freedom to pick out things at will (with a ‘frugal’ mom this opportunity is rare) and ‘pay’ for them herself: Priceless (she is also appreciating her selections so much more then something randomly given to her).
    My own smugness at getting such a bargain WHILE passing on a great lesson: also priceless.

  4. Funny you should ask, because I had a great shopping outing on Tuesday! I went to Kohl’s (armed with the same $10 “gift card” that Bonnie mentioned) to get some t-shirts for my son. He was happily entertained in the cart with his Leapster, so I had the time to dig through the clearance rack. I found 6 t-shirts that were $3.40 each, a pajama top for 50 cents (!), 2 pair shorts for $4.20 each; and we also got him a pair of shoes, a hand towel (not for him), and 2 long-sleeved tees for $12. Altogether, after gift card, it was $50 and change.
    And then, it was Christmas in August, because when I came home with my deals, I got the mail to find my Yogi tea samples and Biore samples, both mentioned on! Thank you, Mir!

  5. Ok first off where did everyone get the kohl’s gift card at? We are having one open here soon so I can’t wait…I love that store..

    Here is my store

    I got a $5.00 off coupon in the mail for Famous Footwear (love the store, if you have one go check it out) When I got there it was buy 1 get one half off. (almost always there) So in the clearance section I found a pair of name brand white heels for $25.00…second pair I found a pair of Pink winter boots name brand in my Daughters size on clearance for $10.00….so with the half off my Daughters shoes and then the $5.00 coupon her boots were FREE! Yippy!

  6. Oh, yeah, love the Kohl’s coupon. Here’s a little tip, my husband and I live in an apartment. Most apartment mail centers have a trash can for people who like to sort their junk mail and it’s almost always just paper, my husband plucked an extra 6 Kohl’s mailers off the top of the junk mail. I’m not one for dumpster diving, but that’s like finding $60 dollars, so if he wants to cruise by the mailbox a couple of times on the days we get a really good coupon, I say go!

  7. Wait! Where am I missing the Kohl’s coupon?? I’ve got their charge card, and I watch the ads, but it’s been a crazy week. Do I need to go through my recycle bin to find something I’ve missed??

  8. The Kohl’s thing was unexpected (we don’t have their charge card). It came in the mail sometime last week, wrapped in clear plastic. It said something like “We’ve been expecting you…”

  9. We scored some cheap flight tickets at Expedia in April for an early May trip. It must have been happy hour, because our round-trip tickets from Frankfurt to Philadelphia and back only cost $804 with taxes and everything. For all four of us (two adults, two kids)! All the other websites wanted $2700 and up. Well, Expedia did, too, by the time we got to the page to submit our payment. Fortunately, my husband kept hitting the back button and retrying for about five minutes and, poof, it worked! Sweet deal.

  10. This also thanks to Mir: I went to Sierra Trading Post for the .20 shipping special. In the clearance section I found $35 fleece blankets for $7.65. I ordered one, and it was so beautiful (very large, thick, washed beautifully) that I went back and ordered three more for the gift closet. The .20 shipping special was over, but they had been further marked down to $5.67. These wil be perfect for my nephews leaving for college next year.
    Other bragging rights concern retailers closing their bricks and mortar stores: Illuminations and April Cornell. At each I got bags and bags of stuff for at least 75% off. I will never need to buy table linens again. Also, I got a beautiful $100 votive holder “espalier,” which is perfect over our fire place, for only $25. I also got $20 candle holders marked down to $1.25. Look for Illuminations stores closing in your area. I think the April Cornell stores are all already gone.
    This is fun and inspriational. Thanks, Mir!

  11. My deal is on dieting. I’ve looked into the major diet programs and gyms and all the normal stuff and discovered it costs a good deal of money. Here’s what I did instead:

    joined FREE
    cooked from Light & Tasty Magazine: FREE (I was given a gift subscription)
    hike in local park: FREE
    play tennis on town court: FREE
    entered a 5K: $15
    started training for 5K: FREE
    new running shoes: $90
    losing 27 pounds: PRICELESS

    The moral of the story is: if you don’t spend tons of money, you can buy more shoes!

    Now, dear Mir, I need deals on new clothes.

  12. Mine is airfare as well. We are going on a trip in October and airfare was $346/person for the flight I wanted. I was hoping it would go down but this weekend, it went UP to $364. I was NOT happy. I’ve been checking every day and there’s been no change. Well I pop on today and it’s $264! PHEW! So glad I hadn’t booked yet!

    Love this site Mir. You are SO pretty and fun!

  13. I trash-picked a set of dishes (place settings for 8, plus serving dishes) that was missing a few pieces. This was in a neighborhood where it is a horror(!) to have a less than perfect set. So they just left it in a box by the garbage can on the curb. It is an expensive set, in a pattern that I’d always admired, but would never cough up that much for. A short time later, I walked into a local thrift store, and they had a few of the pieces for 25 cents each. So I completed my set for $1.75 plus tax. Thank you, Lord, for creating stupid rich people.

  14. Today at lunch we stopped by a garage sale and I scored a six drawer dresser for $2. TWO DOLLARS…just so you don’t think it was a typo 😉 It is in good shape, a little Goo Gone to remove some children’s stickers and it will be perfect – just what I needed to complete my guest room. I also scored a $3 queen size, flannel duvet color in the right shade of blue to match the same guest room. *sigh* Happiness…

  15. I feel like I have found my people here. Ahhh . . . .

    Last spring my mother-in-law (who is a champion high-end bargain shopper) was perusing the sale rack at her favorite chi chi boutique when she came across a Chanel suit marked $250.00. She looked at the original price and did the math and realized that it was mismarked; the discounted price SHOULD have been $2,500.00.

    She tried the suit on and it fit nearly perfectly. When she asked about it, the store manager said, “That’s our error” and sold her the suit. For $250.00.

  16. This one is thanks to you too- I was pretty envious when I read about your Tumi laptop bag bargain. But I chalked it up to you just being in the right place at the right time.
    Well- while browsing at TJ Maxx earlier this week guess what I found? A Tumi bag! AND it was clearanced down to $30 (Retail price $150!) It’s in perfect condition, shoulder strap and all. It’s a pretty teal color and I love it! I also loved telling my husband that it was 80% off!
    I love your site and you are so pretty- keep the great tips coming!

  17. My favorite resale store mails out $5 coupons every month. Last month, they sold everything in the store for 75% off–to get ready for fall merchandise. I scored on a Ralph Lauren khaki skirt, an Ellen Tracy skirt, and a beautiful (no brand tag) pair of blue capris for (after coupon) $2.15! I LOVE THAT STORE! They are a private charity resale store that takes nominations from customers for the charities they give to every month. Anyway, that same day, another favorite store was having their monthly “all clothing (except jeans) for $1 sale–kids clothes, 49 cents!” I found some great stuff, got an American Eagle polo for my 16 year old son, and my 12 year old daughter found a great skirt, but the score of the day went to my 5 year old daughter–she found a Limited Too shirt (with tags still attached), and a gorgeous Talbot’s (fancy schmancy store, IMHO) sweater for 49 cents each!
    I recently lost a lot of weight, and have changed sizes frequently in the past several months. Not wanting to spend a lot of money on clothes, one day I was whining to my dad, and he suggested thrift stores. Now, I’m addicted! I can’t believe what some women give away! AND, I can’t believe how much I have spent at retail stores! No more! Thanks Mir, for making thriftiness cool!

  18. I love the Ikea “Last Chance” or “Dent and Ding” section. It is the last thing before you get to the cash registers, but I always START there. My friends think I’m nuts, but why pay $75 for a new bookcase that you will have to spend 45 minutes to build when you get home, when you can find the EXACT same thing that some other fool built and then returned for only $25 and you don’t have to build it!! This week, I found a ton of duvet covers and pillowcases in this section, and they were all marked $3.50 for the duvet covers and $1.50 for the pillow cases. I picked up 3 beautiful duvet covers and several matching pillowcases for my future guest room. One duvet for the bed, one I will make into long curtains, and the third will become an outer shower curtain for the guest bathroom. The pillowcases will obviously be pillowcases, but one set will be curtains for the bathroom. I paid $19.50 for what will give my guest room a beautiful new matching look and would have cost me well over $200.

    Oh yeah, I also saved a ton of money on my groceries this week that nearly moved me to tears at the register. I wrote about it earlier this week on my blog.

  19. I found six very slightly used Japanese organic wool diaper covers in the next size up my baby needs at my local ARC. They often put baby things in plastic bags and sell the whole bag for a dollar or two. This one was $1.99 and half-off that.

    Since we only need two wool covers at the most, I’m selling the rest on eBay. Easy to ship, big profits!

  20. If you whine on your blog about how your daughter is starting her new preschool with the strict dresscode and how you’re strapped for clothes for her that adhere to said dresscode, it is entirely possible that the lovely and gorgeous Carmen from Mom To The Screaming Masses will just spontaneously send you a box full of perfectly lovely dresses that one or more of her 6 neautiful kids has outgrown. But that doesn’t really count, since it wasn’t on purpose, I guess?

    Actually, I am totally in favor of setting up an interblog kind of Freecycle type thing, especially with kids’ clothes. How many of us wouldn’t jump at the chance to swap a boxload of 2T clothes for a boxload of 3T kids’ clothes? Or something? Obviously, I have thought this out well. I should sleep now.

  21. We have Amex rewards points and put everything on our Amex (we charged the down payment of my car on it, our bills go to it, even the mortgage payment). Since we pay the bill at the end of every month and we use it for things we spend money on anyway, we get lots of points. Husband also keeps an eye out for all the “get 15K points for free” deals. We were saving our points for a trip to Australia and used them to book 2 round trip business class tix from the US and for all our transfers w/n the country (we were there for a month). We also used our Marriot points for a free week in Sydney. Cost to us? Nothing extra since our points came from daily expenses. Cost if we had to buy the tickets? Over $32,000. We took our dream trip for the cost of food and souvenirs.

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