Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Lesson in Frugality

I don't shop K-Mart/Sears very often. Mostly we shop Sears for our Big Ticket items like our appliances and riding lawnmower and one of our televisions.

We have a Sears credit card, but only use it for No-Interest-If-Paid-In-6 (or 12 or 18)-Months type deals. Or if I get a % off for using my credit card, then I pay off the balance before the billing cycle.
(I wasn't born with such good self-control, believe me, it was hard learnt.)

Anyhoo, K-Mart/Sears has a Shop Your Way Rewards card, where you earn Points on your purchases, and those Points turn into money you can spend on other things.
I call it "Free Money". It's not free money if you're shopping there just to get Points, when you could be buying the same item somewhere else cheaper, but if you're shopping there anyway, you're going to be spending the money anyway, so when they give you some of it back, then it's like free money.

Mine really was free money this time. I went shopping with a friend a couple of weeks ago and he went into K-Mart to buy some spray paint. He didn't have a Shop Your Way account and wasn't expecting to get any Points or money back, so I whipped out my SYW card for the cashier to scan on his paint purchase. Wheee, 7,000 Points for me.

And then yesterday I got an email from SYW saying they were giving me 6,000 points ($6.00) for being a Valued Member.
That made a total of 13,000 Points, or $13.00 for me to spend.

As it happens, Sears is having a great Clearance sale on a lot of items. I didn't even look through them all, but check out dresses as low as $3.99:

Swim tops and bottoms as low as $2.99 each:

And lots more. Christmas is coming, you're going to be buying anyway, might as well buy it cheap.
I think Christmas is an excellent time to give bathing suits for gifts. Why not? At this price you could give like 10 suits for the price of one regularly.

And speaking of Christmas, K-Mart is offering Free Layaway, plus you can earn 10,000 Points - which equals $10.00 - for completing a Layaway contract.

For many years I tended to wait until November, December to start thinking about Christmas. Unfortunately, November happens to be the same time our property taxes and insurance are due. Which I also put off thinking about until that time.

Needless to say, we come out of menia of a year way, way in the hole, and have to play catch up for several months the following year.

Eventually I cracked down (ugh, I hate that term) on myself, got my shit straight, and started saving for these things in January.

Last year (or possibly the year before, I can't exactly remember) the ING (now CapitalOne360) online bank offered a great deal where you opened an online checking account and made 10 online or store purchases within 45 days, they gave you a $125.00 bonus.
I'm generally wary of things that sound too good be true (or I was more wary prior to learning about coupon/shopping/frugal deals), but it was no trick. It was exactly as they said.

I opened an account with $25.00, used the card to pay for my small out-of-pocket purchases when doing drug store deals, Redbox rentals, or $1.00 McDonald's Tea.  As promised, after 45 days, they deposited $125.00 in my account.

I still have the account, and every payday I transfer an amount from our regular checking account to that account to save to pay for taxes, insurance, and Christmas.

I'm going to buy stuff for Christmas anyway, and I'll usually buy some of the things from K-Mart. It's about the only time of the year I do shop there.
Instead of just buying the item(s) outright with the money I've been saving all year, why not use Free layaway, make a payment here and there (with the same money I was going to pay up front anyway) and earn a free $10.00.


Val said...

Our closest kmart just went out of business. It was a bit out of the way so I never thought of going there. Which is sad because the deals they had were really good when I did make the trip there. I grew up going to kmart since there weren't other choices so it's sad to see so many of them close. If it wasn't for kmart layaway we would have had many Christmas' when the kids were little that would have been miserable.

Melissa said...

Ohh yeah, a lot of the K-Marts around here closed, too, but so far there are still 2 stores within a decent distance.

Yep, K-Mart was our Walmart when I was a kid. Me and Grannie would go to Kmart about every weekend.

Same with us when the boys were growing up, I used the heck out of some Kmart and Walmart layaways.
Unfortunately I didn't hardly have sense enough to control my spending. As long as I could make the payments, I guessed I could afford stuff and more stuff.

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