Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY: Clearance, Closeouts, Damaged and Seasonal

To be certain, I am always looking for a bargain, and sometimes they are right under my nose.  Working in a garden center has its perks and knowing when things go on sale is one of them.  Recently, my job has included the task of loading all the damaged bags of soil and mulch on pallets (originally stacked about knee high, but now it is about half that), writing down the UPC code and count, then wrapping the whole mess in shrink wrap and labeling it with a bulk price.  The main catch is that there is usually a mix of organic and chemical enhanced products on the same pallet.  Since Anna and I are both determined to keep our operation organic, this poses a problem.

Friday, we had a pallet of nothing but natural forest product mulch.  Needless to say, at the current price of $5 for the lot, I bought it.  As you can see from the picture, there weren't many bags (actually, there were four but one is hiding behind the others), though they were large bags.  Considering that the already discounted regular price averaged $3 each, it wasn't a bad deal, though not spectacular.  Sunday we had one of the taller pallets remaining, with only one bag of chemical laden garden soil among the large pile of organic stuff.  For $5 you can bet I bought it, and proceeded to stuff it in the back of my Jeep Cherokee Sport.  Quite a load for the little Jeep but I got here with the load and everything intact.

While I was loading my pile of bargains, I was also running the numbers in my head.  The lot turned out to be about a $50 value even based on the already marked down price.  These things make me smile, and also get me thinking of things that I normally do without thinking.  Things like watching for seasonal markdowns at a variety of business types (and it is the season for markdowns on garden center items). 

Seasonal markdowns are only the beginning, and pick a season, any season with its own corresponding items and you will find something being marked down.  Of course, as already mentioned, there are damage markdowns.  These are an unlimited source of tightwad resources.  Anything that can be damaged and remain potentially usable is fair game.  Building materials and tools are always fun ones for me.  While we are at it, lets not forget about clearance items that may be old but still good, or in many cases, just not selling as fast as anticipated.  And of course there are the closeouts, which are, more often than not, perfectly fine, their only flaw being that the new/updated model has just arrived and room has to be made.

To any tightwad, such bargains are a wonderful way to get what is needed and keep the money in the budget for------ well------ all the other things that are needed (or even an occasional "just because I want to moment").  However (and it is a big HOWEVER), there is a danger to this wondrous practice.  It can be just as addictive as dumpster diving and road scavenging (both topics for later posts).  The trick is to keep a focus on what IS needed and what is just cheap.  Example: a $100 pair of golf shoes for $2 would be cheap, and for some it would truly be a bargain, but for me, it would be $2 badly wasted on something that would lay around in the way until it turned to dust.  Point being, it is only a bargain if you need it or can make a profit on it, no matter how cheap it is.  Yes, I do mean even if it is free.  If they pay you to take it, on the other hand, it could still work out well.

So keep an eye out for those seasonal/clearance/closeout/damaged markdowns, enjoy the bargains and live well.

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