Bargain shopping, Blogging, Clearance sales, favorite things, shopping

Summer Shoes on Sale

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Attention shoppers; sale in the shoe aisle. With the 4th of July behind us, summer merchandise is on its way out. That means clearance tags and lots of deals to be had. My latest find was on shoes at Walmart.

I’ve acquired some great additions to my shoe collection from Walmart, and the prices … can’t be beat when the sales are on. Okay, so shoes were not on the list on my last shopping trip. But, this time of  year a stroll through the shoe department is required.

Lots of choices marked down. Trust me, it was tough to limit myself to only tossing two pairs of shoes into my cart. At $9 each, these were a steal. And, I left feeling like a winner in the latest treasure hunt.

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There’s still time to check out the clearance sales in the shoe aisle. And, I’m sure Walmart’s shoe department is not the only place you’ll find great deals  right now. But, don’t delay. Great deals don’t last long.

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Bargain shopping, Blogging, favorite things, flowers, gardening, happiness

Flower power! Best bloomin deals

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Even when shopping for flowers, I’m looking for the best deal. Admittedly, I was a bit late to the game in purchasing flowers for our cottage this year. A cool, late spring and surprise vacation to Ireland put me a week or two behind. I set out last Friday on a quest to find flowers to fill my pots, and the best deal.

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First stop was Talma’s Celery Farm, a small family-owned flower spot with what seems like an endless amount of greenhouses. Typically, they have the best prices to be found and incredible selection of hanging baskets and fillers for pots. Strolling through the greenhouses, the hanging baskets were positively amazing, and at 3 for $30, the prices could not be beat. I picked up 3 baskets, even though I only have hanging space for two. The selection of flowers for pots was rather slim, unfortunately. I picked up as much as possible, but not enough.

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To fill all of my pots, a trip to another flower source was required. Local choices include Walmart, Menards, Home Depot and Meijer. I opted for Meijer, which had an impressive collection of flowers on a visit earlier in the season.

At this point, Meijer’s selection was rather slim, too. I managed to gather enough odds and ends to fill my pots. One good thing about waiting to buy flowers, prices are reduced.

A few years ago, I challenged myself to filling my pots and hanging baskets for $100. It was rather late in season then, too. The result was some of the most beautiful flowers I’d planted in years. I ended up a bit over $100 this year. I’m optimistic my pots will flourish into a gorgeous display this year, too. I’d love to hear about and see your flowers this year. Please share your photos and best deals in comments.

Bargain shopping, Blogging, Clearance sales, favorite things, Shop Local, shopping

Clearance sale in the jewelry department

My unrelenting quest to find the best deal lead me to the jewelry section of our local Meijer store. It’s the retail store I frequent most often, as it’s my go-to for groceries. Admittedly, though, what ends up in my cart is not always what’s included on my grocery list.

Strolling through the jewelry department, a bright orange sign caught my eye. The big bold letters C-L-E-A-R-A-N-C-E were irresistible. The sale prices were too good to be true. Seriously, check out these price tags … necklaces for $1.60, bracelets for $1.40 and earrings for $1.00. Way too good to pass up, and time to stock up.

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I love costume jewelry. I believe a bit of sparkle and glitter is like the icing on a cake to any outfit. And finding such rock bottom prices, well that’s the best ever. Can’t promise there’ll be much selection left (especially after I hit the sale rack), but nonetheless, worth checking the jewelry department on your next trip to Meijer. I’m eager to hear what deals you find. Do share!

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Blogging, Clearance sales, favorite things, Habits, shopping

Getting the best deal, one of my favorite things

I have done a few posts in the past highlighting some of my favorite things. From wine, to make up, clearance tags and most recently podcasts, I’ve shared a variety of things that strike my fancy. I’ve decided to follow this theme more often. So, you can look forward to frequent lists, reviews and suggestions of goods and services I encounter in my daily life.

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One of my favorite past times is shopping. Awhile back I wrote of my love for a good deal, including a handful of tips for shopping clearance items. (Check out “My Favorite Things — Clearance Tags”) I recognize value and I’m willing to pay for quality, but most times I’m able to find what I’m looking for on sale.

The mission to find the best deal is a bit like a treasure hunt. There’s something about the satisfaction of finding an item marked down 50% or more. And, when you find such deals, it’s not something you can keep to yourself. Returning home from a sale shopping adventure, I can’t wait to bust open the bags and show off the amazing deals I landed.

Finding incredible deals has become a point of pride. So much so that when I receive a complement on something I’ve purchased, I’m quick to point out the sale price. People typically respond in disbelief and a desire to go shopping to get such a deal, too.

My most recent purchase pride point came in the renovation of the kitchen at our cottage. We committed to a strict budget for the project, which prompted me to be on high alert for the very best prices. My husband was impressed in the purchasing of new appliances.

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I went to our local Sear’s Appliance Store on my quest to buy a new dishwasher, oven/stove and microwave. I am proud to report spending a total of $1,209.85. All three items were on sale, of course. The best deals to be had were on the microwave – $159.93 and dishwasher – $399.93. These prices were offered on display models. Upon inspection both were in perfect condition and being cleared out for new models. Selecting both was an easy decision. The oven/stove was an in-stock item, also on sale at 35% off  the regular price at $649.99. There were cheaper models, but based on ratings and reviews, Samsung was the best choice.

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Blogging, Marketing, Shop Local, Small Business

Four marketing lessons learned at a favorite local shop

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I spent my lunch hour in a shop in our downtown the other day because, well, I was invited. The owner, a friend & fellow blogger – Kati Mora sent out a Facebook invite for a Friday lunch tasting. I’ve been meaning to stop into her shop and this invite was the nudge I needed to do so, plus it included food. I accepted the invite, which added it to my calendar and confirmed my attendance. (Marketing note to small businesses… if you invite me/customer I’m likely to come.)

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I arrived at The Plate Boutique to find Kati’s husband donning an apron behind the counter. He’s an even more familiar face, thus prompting me to stay longer than intended. As we chatted between customers I shopped and snapped photos of interesting, unique items throughout the store. Interesting and unique is truly what separates small shops like The Plate Boutique apart from the big box retailers down the road. On every shelf, down every aisle in Kati’s shop is something I cannot find anywhere else in town. And that’s precisely why I shop stores like The Plate Boutique. (Marketing note to small businesses… you are NOT in competition with big box stores, You offer unique, they sell everyday.)

I spent my lunch hour looking over the vast assortment of gadgets, accessories and cooking items that will make my life easier in the kitchen. Included below is a collection of the items that caught my eye. I think you’ll agree each qualifies as unique and interesting, and things you will not find at the big box stores.

I did come away with a couple things I just couldn’t do without. One for my hubby and one that would make my life easier when it comes to getting my wine glasses spot-free (no easy task with the water in our town)

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Cheese Markers for hubby, replacing his handwritten slips of paper on next meat/cheese tray. Polishing Cloths for me to tackle those pesky water spots on my fine crystal wine glasses.

At the register I filled out a frequent shopper card. A standard for most stores these days, serving as an incentive for shoppers and a way for retailers to gather customer information. Rather than a lengthy form and another plastic card for me to carry around and have to dig out of my purse, Kati opted to keep it simple. I filled out a printed index card with my contact info, they filled in amount of purchases, after sixth purchase I receive reward. They keep card on file and purchases added upon visits to store. Easy for me, the customer and the shop owner. (Marketing note to small businesses… create a simple incentive program to keep customers coming back, and collects contact information.)

In addition to the unique and interesting assortment of products throughout the store, one of the coolest things offered is right as you enter, and it’s a shining example of what small shops can do that the big boxes can’t. Kati hosts a cookbook swap, encouraging customers to take a cookbook from the collection and leave one of theirs in exchange. A very cool idea, and a great way to drive repeat customer traffic. It reminds me of the local library – when you’re done with book return it and come get another. (Marketing note to small businesses… what can you offer exclusively to your customers to keep them coming back).

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Small retailers like The Plate Boutique are the backbone of communities today and the true spirit of our country. As a small business owner myself, I have a heart for small shops and tremendous respect for those with the courage, confidence and passion for opening their own retail store. Applause to Kati Mora, the others small shops in our downtown and the many scattered throughout other communities. I plan to stop in, say hi, check out your unique collection of merchandise … and I promise to share what I find here on my blog. Stay tuned for future ventures into small shops throughout my community and beyond.

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