How I Shop Smart, Shop Often, and Enjoy an Anti-Minimalist Lifestyle

What’s better than buying less stuff? Buying MORE stuff!

If you like shopping and buying stuff like I do, then you probably relish the tactics companies use to hook consumers into buying more. Additionally, if you like to save and think companies that use sales and specials to get you to buy more are evil, then you probably avoid those tactics and will shake your head disapprovingly after reading this post (I see you, Jeff). But that’s just the way the cookie crumbles!

Go ahead and frown or think I am a sucker because I give in to deals like “Buy One, Get One for $10,” “5 for $25,” or “Spend over $150 and Receive Free Shipping.” I think this is smart shopping and get really excited when I find these deals. I also believe that companies that use these strategies are genius.

Free shipping over a certain dollar amount makes me buy, and it makes me buy more.

Free shipping over a certain dollar amount makes me buy, and it makes me buy more.

Yes, I am a shopaholic. However, that doesn’t mean I will buy just anything, nor does it mean I don’t jump at the chance to get a good deal! An unnamed online store where I shop all the time will often have a special that offers free shipping if you spend a certain amount of money. Some people may think this is just a ploy to get you to spend more (and it undoubtedly is), BUT I don’t order from the site if they aren’t offering one of these specials. Maybe that’s because I spend so much at the site that if I don’t get free shipping I end up spending $20 on shipping alone, or maybe it’s because I am so used to them offering this special, but either way it makes me buy, and it makes me buy more!

Even more amazingly, I don’t feel bad about buying more when specials like this rope me in. I rationalize that buying another shirt for $15 is saving me $20 on shipping and handling, so while I may be spending another $15, I am still saving $5. Instead of flushing money down the toilet for shipping, I’d rather use that money to buy another item I’ll actually use. What’s there to feel bad about when I’m able to get more and save at the same time?

Another special I ran into recently was “Buy One Pair of Shoes, Get Another for $10.” While this was not a “Buy One, Get One Free” deal, it is still quite the discount. If you were to buy one pair of shoes for $25, then you could get another $20 pair of shoes for $10. That’s half the price! I may be a shopaholic, but I am a smart shopaholic. I knew not to buy a pair of sandals and think I was getting a deal (because sandals are only about $12 to begin with).

Even though some consumers may feel that special offers are just conning people into buying more, I’m sure there are plenty of consumers (like myself) out there who would not buy anything or not buy as much if it weren’t for these deals. So, those of you who were shaking your heads in disbelief that I give into these “buy more” deals (JEFF), remember: in some instances, buying MORE can end up saving you money. And as fellow shopaholics know, buying more is always more exciting than not buying anything.

Do exclusive sales and discount offers inspire you to buy more? Do you have any additional tips for smart shopping?


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  1. Jill Tooley

    Lauren, I also “fall for” the free shipping specials! I can’t stand paying for shipping on anything (Amazon Prime has spoiled me) and I’d much rather get something else for my money than throw it away on some cardboard box. I wonder if the US Postal Service’s recent financial plights will have any bearing on these deals in the future?

    I love it when stores send me coupons and discounts for having a store credit card – Kohl’s and Victoria’s Secret are really good about that. I never keep a balance on either of those cards, but it’s worth it to charge some clothes to get the 30% discount (or whatever it is that month) and then pay it off right afterwards. If it’s stuff I’m going to buy anyway, why pay full price when I can get sweet deals?

    To me, there’s a difference between a shopaholic and a rational shopaholic…and you’re definitely rational about your purchases. As far as I know, you don’t go around buying anything and everything you see just because you CAN. You buy things that you like because they make you happy. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself! Just don’t let it reach the compulsive level (watch “Confessions of a Shopaholic” with Isla Fisher to see what I mean) and you’ll be just fine. Besides, you’re stimulating the economy! 😉

  2. JPorretto

    First of all, buying something $15 to save $20 on shipping is something we can agree on. $5 saved is $5 saved!!!

    But, alas, that is where our agreements shall part ways. I bet I could find a Ferrari to buy for half off. Yay! I saved $75,000! But OOPS, I still SPENT $75,000. Sales really only benefit YOU if you were planning on buying what’s on sale already. In that case, more power to ya!

    I could go spend my whole paycheck on buy one, get one deals, but no matter how much I “save,” I still spent my whole paycheck…

  3. Joseph Giorgi

    Excellent rebuttal to yesterday’s post, Lauren. 😉

    I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a shopaholic, but I do take advantage of can’t-miss sales when I can afford to do so. Of course, when it comes to online shopping, I usually only make small media purchases (i.e. movies, VGs, etc.), and “free shipping” is never an option when the purchase total is only $20-$50. I’m often a sucker for a good ol’ “buy one, get one” though, particularly when it comes to Blu-Ray movies nowadays.

  4. Scooby DOO!

    You should consult Warner Bros on their next installment of “confessions of a shopaholic” or call TLC to let them know you have a new show idea, Shopaholics- The e-Sensation!

  5. Kyle

    I see the mini blog battle has begun! 🙂 I personally have to side with Jeff on this one. Nothing personal Lauren, but I’m just not much of a shopper myself. BUT I have to admit I’m a sucker for solid sales so I totally understand where you’re coming from.

    I love the idea of contrasting posts like this. It’s great seeing an issue from both sides and definitely gets the gears turning.

  6. Michelle

    I feel like we have the same shopping brain. I agree with you 100%! Yes I buy more when I have an incentive to, but I spend less when there isn’t an incentive. I feel like it all evens out. Free shipping? Sure I’ll spend the extra money to get free shipping on another shirt. I’d rather have a shirt to show for my money than a small box that my items came in. We should probably go to Shopoholics Annonymous meetings togeter…GREAT post!

  7. Amanda Sneed

    I find myself being in the middle of Jeff and Lauren’s shopping/saving methods. I am always trying to save money, and for a female, I feel that I spend very little on “extra things”. But if I wasn’t so cheap, I’d be more like Lauren and spend more money on fun shopping! And I would also take advantage of the Buy one Get ones, and spend a little more for free shipping, etc. deals.

    I agree with Jill–Lauren really does seem like a smart shopper even though she shops a lot. And I think that makes a big difference…way to go Lauren! =)

    And Jeff, I also agree with you…’s not really saving money if you’re buying things just because of the coupon you have, or if you don’t really have the money to begin with.

  8. Bret Bonnet

    I think ALL women are shop-a-holics. Sorry! 🙂

  9. Juliette

    I’m in total agreement on those deals! I buy quite a bit of yarn and knitting supplies from various places and I often try to hold off until I get one of those deals for free shipping. (For being light, yarn can be expensive to ship!) I also freely admit that I’ve taken advantage of Groupon and other similar services. Spend $10 to get a $20 coupon at a place? Count me in!

    • Jill Tooley

      I check Groupon every day…which is dangerous. I’ve found some amazing deals in the past, but there haven’t been many tantalizing offers as of late. Although, I guess that’s a good thing for my budget! 😉

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