How You Can Be A Shopaholic AND Be Frugal

Shopping. For many people, both men and women, that word is a fun exciting thing to do. You may enjoy just casually shopping or be a hard-core shopper, who finds true joy from it. (If so,you are the shopaholic and in the same category as my daughter.) But to me, it’s a mandatory part of living. Every week/two weeks/month (if you can only do it once a month know that I am jealous!), you have to go shopping. Grocery shopping, paper goods, kids’ items, the never-ending grocery shopping (yes, that much grocery shopping, that it needs to be repeated).

While there’s nothing wrong with being either way, (assuming it’s not to the detriment of your family) leaning more on the shopping side can definitely make certain aspects of your life harder. For example, paying debt down, financial independence (or early retirement), or the dream of living more minimalistically or simply. But don’t worry, I have some ways to help you still be you while heading for your goal.  After almost 8 years of living frugal, I want to share my favorite places to shop while not breaking the budget.

Let’s start with food shopping AKA the basics.

Groceries

Aldi:

Oh man. This place. It’s super, awesomely great. In part, because you don’t have to worry about coupons. I hate  seriously dislike couponing. It’s so much work!! I know, I know. So many people do it and save so much money. But I don’t want to spend forever worrying about collecting coupons and going store to store. I have 3 kids, homeschool, and lots of other responsibilities that I feel are much more important that that. But if you like it, go for it. Anyway, that rant is over. Back to Aldi.

For those that don’t know or have never been to an Aldi, let me give you the basics.

  • Much smaller store than typical.
  • Carries 95% food, almost all of which is the Aldi store brands making them cheaper.
  • Offers seasonal specials, which usually have some handy items you will want.
  • You rent your buggy, bring your own bags.
  • They offer paper goods (ie. TP, paper towels, ziplocs, detergent) and many baby items

Some of that seems odd I know, but check out my post on Why You Should Be Shopping At Aldi and I’ll explain it all in more detail. 90% of our shopping is done at Aldi, the other 10% is at the closest grocery store to us Kroger. Kroger isn’t always the cheapest, but I don’t buy many items there. I recommend finding as inexpensive as possible, but really somewhere close so you ca

n be in and out quickly and not spend extra time or money there. I prefer Aldi for as many grocery needs as possible, even choosing to put off buying things or substituting with an Aldi alternative. This one stop shopping goal makes our budget stay much smaller and the Hubs much happier.

Clothing & Shoes

I split this into two categories. For our family, we tend to buy a mix of used and new clothing. I lean more on the used side, especially for the kids. They grow so fast, it is less expensive to buy used than buy brand new every few months.

Used: Consignment shops

Ideas to save money and still get to shop? Pinning for later!

Thrift store shopping has been a trend on more than one occasion, and thankfully the trend paid off for those of us more frugal minded individuals. There are now many nice consignment options for kids and adults. Local to us are stores called Plato’s Closet (for adults) and Once Upon A Child (for kids). I’ve seen similar types of stores during our travels so I feel sure there are options like this near you.

I know, used clothing is so ick, right? Well, I even have Hubs wearing used clothing now. The consignment shops have high standards for their clothing to be able to be sold in the store. So you get like new clothing for much less. This helps stretch that fun money part of your budget alot further, which makes for more fun, right? Now, I do at times shop at Goodwill. I check those items over much more in depth, making sure the items aren’t stained or torn or anything that needs to be done. But being open to Goodwill can lead to good items, if you’re willing to look through alot of less nice things.

New: Target & TJ Maxx

Now, new doesn’t mean full price. Or even a small sales price. It means shopping smart and being willing to wait for the right item to come down to the right price. I have a few places I shop new.

  1. Target- I love Target. Seriously. They always have such cute things, but I feel like the large majority is overpriced. So to enjoy their items, you do two things.
    • First, only let yourself look at the sales racks. If you stroll through the regularly priced items, you will fall for something that you can’t don’t want to afford. I know it because I’ve done it. More than once. Learn from me!
    • Second, shop at the end of the season. You know you can’t wear it til next year, but you can get those super cute shorts on sale in August or September and still afford a shirt to match. The sales racks are also much fuller during the end of the season wardrobe swap, which makes it even better. More options at that awesome sales price!
  2. TJ Maxx– So, this one is a fave of mine. They have so much though, that sometimes it can be overwhelming. I remember only spending about 10 minutes in the store the first time I went, because I got so lost in the aisles of clothes. It took me awhile to go back in, but I have and now find so much of my wardrobe there. A couple of tips:
    • Know what you want before you go in. I can’t tell you how many times I go in to wander, and end up feeling overwhelmed again. This also helps because sometimes things get mixed up. I can find shirts or dresses in the juniors area that fit me better than the women’s because the women’s can sometimes look more like the older women’s section. I’m 28, I don’t want to dress 58, thank you! So know what you want, and figure out where to look for it.
    • Take your time. Make sure you have plenty of time to search through the items. Like I said, there are many, many aisles and things get mixed up. You may look in a few spots, but they almost always have what I need when I go. Once you do find it, make sure to fully check it out. I’ve went home and occasionally find an item that has a stain or hole in a spot I didn’t notice when I was at the store, usually when I’ve hurried to get something and get out.Take your time, and make sure that perfect dress or workout shorts are exactly what you want.

House Decor

Okay, to be as transparent as always, I’m a terrible decorator. We’ve lived in our home for 3 years, and most of the walls still have alot of open space. Our homeschool area is the best decorated, but that’s all school maps and how to write ABC’s. I do think I could be good at decor, I just feel that it’s so expensive to do, that I have to love whatever I buy. (And even then, I may say it’s too much). But, I have found a few places that I look at alot of times to find items I may feel are in the budget.

  1. TJ Maxx– Yes, they get two spot lights in this post. I have seen alot of kitchen and decor items I like there. I’ve only bought a few so far, but again, that comes back to my unwillingness to spend money. We are setting monthly “fun money” budgets (money we can each spend on whatever we want, no questions asked) so this is slowly getting a bit easier. I haven’t been there with this budget yet, but I plan to when I’m kid-free for an afternoon soon. The rules for the house decor are the same here. The home goods section is very full and has lots of options. But needs to be checked over to make sure the items is in the condition you expect. If you’re like me, you don’t buy often so make sure it’s quality.
  2. Ross Dress For Less– Yes, this is actually a clothing store. I’ve never found clothes I like here, really. But they have a smaller home decor section and I do find some nice items that are very low priced. Worth a stop to see, if you have one in your area.
  3. Bargain Hunt–  If you live in the Mid-South or Ohio River Valley, you know this one! Our store near us is huge, but has everything from a small grocery type section to an outdoor rug area. (They are also an awesome place to shop throughout the year for kids toys for Christmas, if you do that) The rugs are priced well, and there are lots of items from stores that we all know and love. I recently spent $12 on a wall decor piece that was a Target item. I’m not sure why it was there, but I enjoyed paying $12 for something that was originally around $20-25.
  4. Yard sales/freebies– Okay, so this one is less of a place and more an idea. If you’re not in a rush, and I encourage you to never shop when you are rushed to buy something, but if not rushed, this is a good option. Go see some yard sales or check out the Craigslist or VarageSale listings in your area. I got a solid wood bed frame for us for $90 off of VarageSale and love it. It took me awhile to find one in my budget that we both liked, but it’s worth taking the time to wait for the right item and saving money at the same time. For freebies, just ask around. We’ve found many things that people are getting rid of and are happy to give to you, just to clear their closets out.

There are different views on shopping, either as a fun outing or a factor of life. For those like me, who generally prefer not to shop, this list can simplify the process. For those that are the shoppers in our midst, this can provide alternatives to your hobby that can still keep you on track to hit your budget and goals.

Do you have a favorite frugal shop I didn’t mention? How do you save money doing the family shopping?
  1. No Nonsense Landlord

    July 18, 2017 at 4:55 am

    Great tips. I hear they sell shopping cart for only .25. The you can re-sell them on Craigs for like $25. It’s a great bargain. [/humor] Even better, avoid all the clutter (and expense) and not hang up all the nick knacks around the house.

    1. Ember

      July 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Very true! Hubs would very much agree about the clutter. He tends to lean more to the minimalistic side so he appreciates the clean lines. I like to feel like I’m making my mark on our home by decorating, on the occasion I think it’s worth the money. Thanks for stopping by!

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