How can you tell a good deal is a good deal? Seriously, this is not a rhetorical question. This blog isn't a frugal living site, but it is focused on thinking about where I, you, we, spend our resources, whether that is time, energy or money, to bring quality to our lives. We've all heard the joke, or something similar. A wife comes home from shopping and says to her husband, "I spent $100 on all this stuff, and received 50% off." to which he replies, "Well that was dumb. Why didn't you spend $200 and get 100% off?" We all know there isn't a free ride, and those incremental save more when you buy more, really just entice most people to justify buying more than they intended. I know I like the allure of Kohl's department store, MVP cards, where you get 15%, 20%, or even 30% off, through a flyer in the mail, with a peel away sticker. We strategically plan shopping around the 30% er's. Then there is the added allure of Kohl's cash, $10 for every $50 you spend. We all think we are playing the game right, but of course we can't all be doing it right, or they wouldn't keep with this line of advertising. Still, I like to think I only buy things I was planning on getting anyway, and that once I figure the sale price (because everything is always on sale), with the additional discount, it is lower than any other store. I should really factor in the Kohl's cash too, but I use that as bonus money. This time of year, that bonus money starts going towards Christmas gifts.
So Kohl's cash, or loyalty card points aside, what are some of the good deals out there? Here are a few of my favorites and why. Feel free to burst my bubble, if you disagree. Theses are random things that have come up in conversation this week, in no particular order or thought.
Apple Orchards: Particularly this year when the price per pound was about the same as the grocery store. We got to hand pick our own, best of the crop, and carefully fit them in our bag to maximize the purchase, without being loony about it. There happened to be live music the day we went, plus the usual tractor wagon ride. Some have petting zoo's, always a treat for the want to be, but not really, hobby farmers. My daughter and I spent $18 on apples and a couple acorn squash, spent a lovely few hours together. There was a lively discussion among my family members of the best places to pick. We live in apple central, so lots of choices.
Snow/inner tubes: Nothing more fun if you are in snowy area, than a ride down a long hill on an inner tube. In the summer, pure comfort floating in the water-lake,down a river, in a pool, maybe even ocean. (I have not done on ocean but clue me in if you think it is doable). If you're lucky enough to get your hands on a real big rubber one, they're the best, but for $15 or so, you can buy the vinyl ones. For snow sledding, so much better on the bum than a tube sled. This came up reminiscing about the best sledding hills from our childhood.
USB Flash drives: Just about every conference I go to now, the organizers give you a flash drive with all the handouts from the days sessions. No more lugging folders and binders back and forth. The beauty is that there is still loads and loads of empty space on the drive, allowing for even more items to be safely stored. Even if you are buying them, you can get 16G for under $15 on sale. We've done photo memorial videos for both my parents and my sister, and with hundreds of photos scanned, we have three lives of memories on a little two inch stick, ready to be shared, and handy to view in groups.
Grilled cheese sandwich: Nothing fancy here, just Kraft singles and store bought multigrain bread,but if you can tolerate the dairy, there is something so homey and nourishing beyond just filling the tummy when someone makes you a grilled cheese. I almost always have ingredients on hand, and just made one for DD#2 after a 14 hour work day. Hers for the price of a little conversation.
Toothpaste: Two days past Halloween, and need I say more? Really though, what other item in your medicine chest makes you smell nice, keeps you healthy, and can be gotten for a buck or two?
So that is my short list, for good deals. By the way, today was the last day to use $20.00 voucher I had from buying some birthday and a few Christmas gifts a few weeks ago. I did end up putting towards gifts, and my total out of pocket was $ .90. I think I got a good deal.