I’m Allergic to Paying Full Price

I come from a long line of bargain hunters. I have been able to find the clearance aisle of a store since I was able to walk. I cannot go to Target without walking up the backsides of every aisle, eyes peeled for the tell-tale red sticker.

We all know by now that shopping online typically offers the best deal on most things. Brick and mortar stores have too much overhead to compete with online-only companies, and eBay offers a wealth of goods, both used and new, for pennies on the dollar. However, I like shopping. I like it quite a bit. I like the act of scouring through sale racks or the mishmash of clothing and housewares at stores like Ross, TJMaxx, and Marshall’s. I take an unreasonable amount of pride in the deals I find. I love finding slightly damaged goods for next to nothing and taking them home and making them perfect. A friend was recently telling me about the great deal she had gotten on her new dining room table and chairs – $750 – and I was appalled because I realized that I had furnished most of my house for that amount of money. Unless it is something I absolutely have to have, I am pretty much physically incapable of paying the retail price of anything.

Couch- Free from Craigslist. Chair - $50, Craigslist. Suit of armor- $100 from Home Goods(housewarming gift). Frames and mirror - less than $30 total from Dollar store and Ross.
I paid $20 for this entertainment center from a furniture store going out of business. Score!! Seriously, I am cheap. Super cheap.

Shopping for me is like meditation, a methodical sorting of the good from the bad, a calming retreat for me from the rest of my hectic days. I know that many people do not feel the same way and dread the idea of shopping for fun. However, please allow my hours spent in discount stores offer some insight into the items you should never, EVER pay full price for.

Phone/Laptop/iPad Accessories

We just switched over to iPhones at my office, meaning everyone needed new cases, chargers, and the various other accouterments that go along with that. The Verizon store had everything I needed right there to scoop up along with the phones. $24.99 for a car charger, $30 for a case, $50 for a headset. Sure, I was using a company card and could have scooped it all up right then out of sheer convienece. But I couldn’t. Physically and mentally could not plunk down that kind of cash for such things. Instead, I walked across the parking lot to Marshall’s where I found, in some cases, the exact same items for a fraction of the cost, and also a much larger and better selection of cases and other accessories. Average cost of chargers? $6.99. Cases? $3.99-$8.99. Headsets and earpieces are a little more challenging, but you can sometimes find them (online is best for these). They also have iPad cases, iPod accessories, and plenty of other electronic goods, all at steep discounts. These stores typically hide these in the men’s accessories department; apparently the ladies just find those fancy electronic thingies better left to the men folk (I’m such a feminist killjoy, I know), or up by the registers.

Another thing I almost always see at these stores? iHome docks, the same ones that go for $60-$100 at Target and Best Buy, for about half the price. Same exact item.


I absolutely love Honeydew underwear. They have the cutest designs ever, and their mesh boy shorts and cotton thongs are the shit. However, they are $14 a piece at department stores. There is not a chance in hell I am paying that much money for something that rests on my crotch all day. I just won’t. Nordstrom Rack used to sell them for less than $3 a pair, but they got wise a few years back and jacked up to price to $6-$10 each. Ross and the like have not. While it always takes some digging, and sometimes requires patience waiting for them to get a new shipment, they are $1.50 for the thongs and $2.50 for the boy shorts. They have Calvin Klein, DKNY, Maidenform, and many other bra brands as well. All of my favorite, most comfortable bras have come from these stores and I haven’t paid more than $15 for one in years. They also usually have a large selection of bras in bigger sizes, so even the well-endowed among us have many options.

Picture Frames

There are going to be times when one needs a very particular sized frame. For those times, try eBay or use the weekly 40% off coupon from Michael’s. For all other standard sized frames, never buy them anywhere other than discount stores (unless they are on clearance at Target; sometimes you can find EPIC scores). Home Goods, Marshall’s, etc., always have an ample and awesome selection of frames and I have yet to pay more than $20 for one, and that was a huge, multiple photo collage frame. Most of their frames are in the $4-$15 range, even for large 8×10 and multi-photo ones. They have ornate frames, simple and modern frames, and every style in between. I try to buy frames with visual interest, even if they are horrendously colored, and spray paint them all to match. You will find a much more varied selection at discount stores than almost any other retailer.

The frames in the picture above? Not one of those is its original color.

Pet Supplies

Pet toys and supplies are outrageously pricey. Those little rolls of poop bags cost around $12 for a pack of 4, for goodness’ sakes. They are poop bags!!! Bags whose sole purpose is to contain fecal matter for disposal! There is this old, incredibly gendered and stereotypical adage that goes something like “A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item she doesn’t need; a man will pay $2 for a $1 item that he does.” Basically, chicks will by anything if it is on sale and a guy will spend too much money on something because I guess he is too lazy to shop around? As much as I like to combat bullshit like this, my brother and my husband have both recently purchased the aforementioned poop bags at a pet store for the full price, and I berated them both for being willing to spend that amount of money on something used to pick up shit. This is my long winded way of saying that Ross and the like have them cheaper. Usually a 6-pack for $2.99, a 12-pack for $5.99. They also have a ton of toys, pet beds, and outfits at great discounts.

You can even find costumes!! May lead to cat trying to kill you in your sleep... fair warning...

I know that these discount stores can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t like shopping in the first place. Hopefully these tips will make the stores seem a little less daunting, giving you a more pointed reason for going in and knowing which areas to hit. Too many people in my life have expressed shock that these stores carried good selections of the items mentioned above that I felt I was duty bound to enlighten all my awesome Persephoneers.

Do you have any secret discount shopping tips? Any stores that having amazing prices on something you never would have guessed? What are you unwilling to pay full price for?

20 replies on “I’m Allergic to Paying Full Price”

Recently, I bought a brand new shirt from Old Navy for a penny. A PENNY. Previously I had gotten a .49 dress. I am really good about hitting the clearance off the clearance rack. I got two dresses for my junior prom at Ross’s — one was 8 dollars and one was 12.

We use grocery bags for poop bags. Beau bakes bread because he can’t stand how much a loaf costs.

And we’re hardcore library patrons. Kathy can attest to that. We’ve been playing Skyrim which we’ve checked out of the library 4 times because no one ever thinks to get video games from the library.


My people! I have found you!

I cannot remember the last time I saw an item of clothing that I loved enough to be willing to pay full price – even if it was only 9.99 to start with. I think the only clothes I am willing to pay full price for are clothes/shoes for my kids, but only then if I absolutely have to.

My current challenge is finding a bridesmaid’s dress for my sister’s wedding this summer…wish me luck!

Depending on where you live, yard sales can be a fabulous deal. I live outside Philadelphia and when I moved here, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Brand new clothes for a buck. Housewares that had barely been used. Amazing deals.

Also, if you live in a city with an ikea and you like their furniture, craigslist can be a super good deal as a lot of people buy Ikea and then get tired of it. The advantage is that Ikea furniture is mostly all washable, especially their Poang chairs which have washable covers. I have to admit that I never let anything into the house that I can’t sterilize first.

I love this article, btw. It’s nice to hear from other people who go “You paid THAT much?”

There’s only so long I’ll shop for something, before I get tired and just buy it. Of course, for essentials, you can’t really just wait till the next sales, but for clothes and so forth, I love shopping in thrift stores.

For grocery stores, they upload their deals and stuff online, so you can always check to decide which one you should go to, if there are two or three near you. Same for stationery.

My favourite is going back to India (my parents moved back there) and buying tons of pretty cute clothes for really cheap.Oh, and books. India has the cheapest books ever.

Target is my friend. Although, I’ve been shopping at independent bookstores lately and paying full price for books, but I just found out that the one I go to has a rewards program where you get 10% off everything. So it looks like I’ll be going there more often.

Also, when I got my iPhone a couple of months ago, I followed up on a recommendation from an acquaintance and bought the case and screen protectors in Chinatown rather than Best Buy or someplace. The case I got protects just as well and it cost much less. And– it has Hello Kitty on the cover.

Ikea’s furniture is pretty well made and relatively cheap. Depends on what you like for style, of course.  (See my post about craigslist if there’s an Ikea near you…) Otherwise, I would go with all wood items from craigslist. You know if it survived use and is still in good condition that it will stand up to your use as well.

First, look to see if there are any home consignment stores in your area. There is one in my area that has beautiful and hardly used (meaning it looks brand new, usually) items that typically come form the homes of people who have the money to redecorate regularly. They also have things from home stagers, so many pieces have only been used for show.

After that, Home Goods often has some really nice things, and while they aren’t always cheap, they are heavily discounted from the original prices. I have seen truly covet-worthy pieces (couches, chairs, credenzas) that I would have loved to have.

Costco is also a good place to look, and usually the delivery prices when ordering online are pretty reasonable.

Happy hunting!

That full-price allergy definitely runs in my family. Growing up, we shopped at the thrift store a lot and went to bargain stores a lot. My grandma loves to clips coupons, hit the thrift stores, .99 stores and the dollar tree. She even received a dollar tree giftcard from one of my uncles for her birthday one year. I don’t mind pay full-price for something that I really need but I do try and find the best deal when I can.

THIS! Because my Christmas decor is hot pink, lime green, teal and purple-instead of the more traditional red and green – there is always a ton of pieces for me to pick through after. I got an awesome teal velvet sparkly tree skirt, originally 49.99, for $8 this year. So stoked.

Halloween is the best for me, though, since I tend to scatter skulls throughout my decor like a 12 year old goth girl. Those skull pillows on the couch in the pic above were clearance buys, I think they were around $3 each. Love.

TJ Maxx is just about my favorite store. I love it sooooo much.

However, I have a limit on how long I’m willing to shop around for a bargain. Once that time limit is set/how annoyed I am at shopping, then I don’t care too much about how much I pay as long as I’m DONE.



My tip is to sign up for newsletters. That way, you get immediate notice of sales and usually lots of discounts: free delivery, X% off a new range and so on. I love Dorothy Perkins and very rarely buy anything full price from them because I get the deals via email which mean money off!

A chance find lately – as I don’t often go ‘out’ shopping – was at Clarks (shoe shop), where I got a pair of boots for £36 instead of £90. I was rather pleased, to say the least.

Right?!?!? I actually couldn’t justify the price at the time, since he wasn’t really a necessity and I was broke, but I took of myself standing next to him and showed one of the ladies at work how awesome he was. She took up a collection from everybody that day so that I could get it as a housewarming gift from all my co-workers. It was the sweetest thing ever. We named him Fernando, and he was the man of the house until my husband moved in. He has costumes for EVERY holiday, so he becomes Fernanta at Christmas, Ferpatrick on St. Patrick’s Day, etc., and he has multiple costumes for Halloween- pirate, disco, biker, among others.

He is my favorite.

Books. I worked at a used bookstore for 8½ years and I got used to paying ¼ of the list price or less for even most new books once I stacked the employee discount on top of the regular discount price. Frequently I’d find proofs or advance reader copies for 50-75¢, so it kills me to pay full price for books. Since Border’s closed the closest “real” bookstore is half an hour away, so I wind up getting a lot of kids books and some regular ones at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Kohl’s, Christmas Tree Shops, Big Lots, Sam’s Club (I know, but it’s the only warehouse club in town!), or other random discount stores. And there’s always Amazon or the library!

I also rarely pay full price for clothing, especially kid’s clothes. Target, Kohl’s, and Babies R Us almost always have stuff on sale for the little one, and I buy almost everything for myself from Kohl’s. I can’t even remember the last time I bought shoes for myself that weren’t from DSW or Famous Footwear or otherwise steeply discounted.

BOOKS! I am a horrible borrower, so the library is out for me, and I spend way too much money on books. My favorite for cheap books is still garage sales. I recently found a trove of kids books, seriously, these folks had ALL the classic kids books, for 10 cents a pop. I really need to go to Big Lots. I haven’t been to one in years, but I keep seeing reference to it, so it’s time.

Another good kids clothes option is Old Navy. I get tons of stuff for my nieces there super cheap in teh clearance section.

With my parents, you got the marriage of a Rockefeller and Donald Duck’s uncle (is he called Scrooge in English? Yes, right?).

So I have an expensive taste but I don’t want to pay the price that comes with it. I don’t like shopping much and will only do it during sale (so more and more often). I will remember new season clothes and come back when they’re on sale. As long as I’m not making loads of €, I’m not paying €50 ($55, give or take) for a T-shirt that will have a 80% drop during sale.

Ha! I love that description! I, too, have champagne tastes on a Budweiser budget, hence the constant bargain shopping. There used to be a time where I would treat myself to outrageously expensive shoes, but that time is looooong gone. Luckily for me, I live within walking distance of one of the largest outlet malls in the state, with a Saks 5th Avenue outlet, J. Crew, 7 for All Mankind and tons of other great stores.

I like to shop at Dillard’s the last weekend of the month because they take an extra 75% off the lowest price of their clearanced items. This is how I get most of my shoes and and nicer jewelry. But also, I love TJ Maxx. I go at least once every time I visit my mother (I don’t have anything like it where I live).

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