Where to Shop in a Bad Economy

I walked into Marshall’s Department Store yesterday with my mom for some discounted items (name brands for less!) and I noticed a small table at the front entrance with credit card applications on it. I joked to my mom that they probably couldn’t afford to pay someone to walk around offering people to sign up for a new credit card. How true, and sad, that is.

Obtaining credit is harder and harder these days. Do people even know what their credit score is, and if so, how it got there or what to do to improve it? In the summer of 2005 my credit scrore was 620. But what does that mean? Well, at that time, it was a good score for buying a brand new motorcycle and getting Honda to finance it. I’ll post later about understanding credit, but right now let’s talk about where to go shopping without credit.

Marshall’s is one of my favorite places to go shopping for clothes. Because it truly is “name brands for less”. Once in awhile I shop at Target for clothes and every time I realize that the clothes just aren’t as nice as good name brands are. I like Perry Ellis, Claiborne, and Oakley. But I never spend $50, $60, $80 dollars on a shirt or pair of pants! But at Marshall’s, I can get brand new, brand name, quality clothes for a good price. I still have trouble paying $39.99 for a sweater, even if it is DKNY or Tommy Hilfiger.

Thirft stores are another option. This is where you can get a recycled or second hand clothing for much much less. And for some reason, it’s always fun to shop in these stores. I remember going to them with a friend of mine and it was like a treasure hunt to see what we could fine. It was actually exciting. I think it’s a great idea for toddlers because they grow so fast! Every time I go to buy something for my (currently 3 year old) niece I always call my mom or sister and say, “so what size is she going to be in for the next few months?”

What about major appliances? Washer, dryer, fridge, hot water heater. Even toasters, microwaves, toaster ovens, etc. Look in the “Super Shopper” section of the newspaper. Even the “freebie” section may have a good buy and it’s only there because the owner has no way to get rid of the item.

Craigslist.org is also a HUGE online classified listing of all kinds of products (and services). Again, people give stuff away for free. I remember when I lived in Raleigh, North Carolina I would see ads on craigslist.org where people just bought or received a new table, bed, etc. and placed an ad saying they had no place to put their old furniture so it was free to the first person to come by. They sat the item in their front yard, you take a truck and pick it up and bam, new furniture for the price of gasoline.

If you’re upset that your new dining room table or bedroom set is brand new look at it this way. How much would a brand new dining room table cost delivered to the house? A few hundred – maybe a thousand dollars? Now how about a free table, that you pick up yourself** and bring home and then buy some sand paper, a sander, some paint and finish and spend a day refinishing it? A hundred dollars, if that?

Learn to think outside of the box. The answers are everywhere! Begin to ask yourself, “how can I buy this cheaper?” and if you really want it, find a way to get what you want in a different way. It all depends on your perception!

** You can usually look in the newspaper, on community bulletin boards, or on craigslist.org for people with a moving truck or pick up truck willing to pick up large items or help you move for as little as $25 dollars. Much cheaper than any furniture store’s delivery service!