So You Think You Can Save

Ready to lay down your hard earned cash? You may think that you are saving money, but did you ever take in account the markup on the products that are currently on sale?
Ready to lay down your hard earned cash? You may think that you are saving money, but did you ever take in account the markup on the products that are currently on sale? | Source

It’s that time of year again. Schools are just about to start or have already started. We all know what this means - Back To School Shopping! With a flood of coupons and fliers promising door busting deals flooding your mailbox, how can you not be tempted?

Retailers all over the United States gear up for this time of year. It is the perfect opportunity for them to drive traffic to their store for what is deemed necessary for the start of school. It is a great time for them to get a spike in their business, cash in on huge profits, and pull out all the stops to get your attention. After all, when there are so many stores to choose from - they are fighting for your business.

According to retail analysis reports, Back To School sales are important to retailers, coming in as a close second only to the holidays. This is the time for them to make up for the lack of sales happening during the slower months. And with a variety of coupons at your very fingertips, it is hard not to be lured in. Yet, why the sale prices on kitchen gadgets and other household goods? These are not necessary for children to go back to school. Yet, these “too good to be true deals” just can’t be passed up! So, who wants a new coffeemaker?

As a rule of thumb, retailers often mark up products 100%. That being said, if a shirt costs them $10, they will sell it to you for $20 or sometimes even more. (Seriously, do you think those oh so popular, almost completely see through shirts from say… Abercrombie… are worth $40! You need to buy three of them just so you don’t see the goods underneath.)

While the amount that each store marks up their product is hard to pinpoint exactly, that markup is what allows them to put the article on “sale” and make you feel like you are getting a sweet deal.

When it is time to go back to school you need to be dressed for success. Have you hit up the Back To School Sales yet?
When it is time to go back to school you need to be dressed for success. Have you hit up the Back To School Sales yet? | Source

Shopping Spree

Typically, I hate shopping. Today was no different. I still hate shopping. However, it is a necessary evil. Kids grow too fast, and if lucky, the clothes might last long enough to be rugged play clothes. Not to mention, I like to somewhat play by the rules. In the parenting handbook I got about a decade ago, it stated that “getting new clothes for your children to wear at the beginning of the school year was important to their social standing.” We don’t want them to be the center of ridicule for wearing the exact same outfit as last year!

Ok, so that isn’t exactly true, but I remember I always got a few new outfits for school, so I am just following my parents lead. However, while some parents may only buy their children new clothes when absolutely necessary… first day of school, an important function, Christmas, etc… I find myself picking up clothes for my kids several times throughout the year. If you pick up an outfit here and there, you don’t end up with a hearty $500 bill all in one sitting.

But, I do make sure they have at least one new outfit for the first day. The second day they can go back to be the kid’s I know and love on a daily basis - playing so hard they have holes in their jeans (and not the ones purposely put there by designers!) and shirts that are handed down because they still work, as in they cover the stuff that needs to be covered. Who cares if it has a ketchup stain. Their new clothes will probably have one by lunch anyway.

So today, with a coupon promising 20 percent off, the family headed out to Kohl’s to see what we could find. Since Back To School shopping is such a big deal, the prices were ridiculously marked down - 80% off, 70% off, 60% off, 50% off - it was a frugal parents dream come true! Of course anything marked at 50% off or higher was a complete waste of time. It was pieces of lost outfits and stuff that was obviously damaged or not even usable. But I am sure someone will find use for it… especially at that steal!

After selecting a basket full of clothes, doing a fashion show and narrowing our results down to a few select items, we headed to the checkout. As each tag is swiped, I feel my heart beating faster and faster. That item cost me $26 and some change… and that was on sale. Obviously when you are blinded by sales, you have a tendency not to really look at the prices.

By the time we had swiped our card, the total amount we owed was $20 less than what we actually saved. That means we paid about $130 and saved about $150. Without those sales, we would have spend $280 on just six lousy outfits. That is ridiculous! That is more than $46 dollars per outfit! However, they are on sale, so it is less ridiculous when the average outfit is only $21. But it did get me thinking...

I like Back to School Sales because...

See results without voting

The Thinking Game

I realized then and there how bad the markups really were, and then I realized that because I had already known that, I have never paid full price for anything while shopping at Kohl’s. It seems to me our attention is drawn to the stores at this time of year because of the need. It is Back To School shopping and that is just what we do as parents. We want our kids to start the year off right… with a snazzy new outfit!

For me, I usually get them an outfit or two just to celebrate the first day of school, and then a few months down the line, I might get them another outfit or two to replace the ones they had outgrown or worn out. Yet, these sale prices that seem so promising during this time of year, are really there all year long. You just have to be patient enough to not jump on the outfits during their initial premiere. Don’t worry, they will still be there and they will eventually be cheaper.

So after much deliberation of the lack of change left in my wallet, I realized I still hate shopping. Maybe it is because of the high markups that eventually become a decent price only when it is on sale. It is deceiving to make us thing that we truly “saved” that much money.

On the other hand, I did walk out of the store with a smile on my face. Not only because I was finally done shopping, but because even if it is a crock that the sale price is really the only decent price, it still feels good to know I saved $150!

Knowing that you saved money can put a smile on your face... even if the original was priced ridiculously anyway!
Knowing that you saved money can put a smile on your face... even if the original was priced ridiculously anyway! | Source

More by this Author


Comments 32 comments

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

We didn't buy any new clothes at all. Of course boys are different. He is not at an age where he cares. A batman tee shirt and sandals make him happy. Almost all of our clothing come from thrift and consignment stores. It is my way of controlling the flux of materials consumed to produce items.

That said, I love to look and shop. I just do it virtually now, kind of window shopping. laugh


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Yeah! that time! Thank God I'm done with School. Saving is good, but if you save..let's say 35 dollars on a 400 budget, still you will spend it on another pair of T-shirts, or maybe notebooks you forgot about. Well done again BARBERGIRL28. Actually I have to buy some items on sale here at 'Target'. By the way... our company print those coupons that you might get in the mail. Lol!


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

Still going through the ordeal ourselves! Two years left and then higher ed! Hang in there. We are all in this together.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I hate to shop - you know that! Hate it hate it hate it! But - I have discovered if I take the girls with me - we have lots of disagreements about what to buy - if I go alone and bring stuff home - they love it all!

Mark ups are outrageous!! Look forward to 16 - then they drive themselves shopping! Ha!


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 5 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

Shopping -- yuk!!!

Hard enough these days to ear let alone save... Like a ziggy cartoon I saw when ziggy was applying for a loan.. the loan manager asked what he wanted the money for - he replied "I was thinking about having dinner this evening"

Shop till ya drop used to take a while - now it takes ten minutes. LOL


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Hyphenbird - we didn't have much of a choice. My kids pretty much went through massive growth spurts over the summer and really don't have much that fits them and is still nice. We were going to take them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill and pick up some clothes there but out here they are so disorganized it is difficult to find anything. The clothes are cute though and they are pretty happy with the couple of outfits they got. When we move we will probably get them one more just because it is a new school and it will start cooling down... hopefully.

I don't care much for online shopping though. Mainly because I like to feel the stuff in my hands and actually look at it. Sometimes pictures can be so decieving.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@lord de cross - it is definately good to save, but you are very right... what you save will be spent elsewhere so I guess it really depends on where you want to put your money. My husband and I were having a similiar conversation about budgets. About 10 years ago we were impressed that we could live off what now seems impossible. It just goes to show you spend what you have. Now, it is as if we need more money to survive. Granted, inflation and 3 extra kids affect that, but really I can't imagine having a job and getting paid more than $100,000 a year. Seriously, if I made that much I would probably save half of that. But we live in what we have and spend it regardless. Although I must say, thanks for the coupons! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@PaddyBoy - I still have one left that has yet to enter school. So I am horribly delighted that I don't have 3 kids to buy supplies for. Yet, I guess it is made up in the diapers he burns through. I am sure when I am older I am going to miss this... right now I don't! LOL


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@REal - NOt only do I hate the markups but lately I have been hating the "new" fashions as well. Maybe that is a sign that I am getting older and not as hip. Although I am not looking forward to 16, cause then not only will I still supply the money, but then I am paying their gas to get there... lol


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Neil - I don't think it could have been said any better. With the prices of gas going up, the prices of products go up, and parents wallets get empty a whole lot faster. What do our kids have to show for it... one shirt! LOL... I think I need to take out a loan too... dinner would be nice :)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Shhh!..Would be nice to teach our kids the value of money V/S spending. But all kids want the best. God bless to your added family and...pampers? They come and go as needed.

LORD


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I am so thankful that my days of back to school shopping are over and done with. When the boys got older it was much easier as I remember as I would set a budget and say okay here's your money....spend it wisely because it is all you are going to get. I would drive them to a mall and then pick them up. I was amazed as they would actually shop for deals. I would go with them though to buy school supplies.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Lord - My oldest is really starting to learn the value of saving. She has been carrying her purse everytime we go to the store in case she wants to buy something. But, everytime we get to the checkout she tells me there was nothing interesting for her to buy so she just decided to save it instead for something better. She is 9 - I think she is learning nicely! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Just Ask Susan - that is a definately a good way to teach your kids financial responsibility. I know when I was younger we got $100 or so for school shopping. Because of that, we always stayed away from all the expensive stuff so we could get more clothes. It sure taught me how important it is to save and spend wisely. I try to do that with my kids now. They go shopping with us all the time and I always draw attention to the price so they are aware. Of course, we do sometimes have our bad impulse buying habits so maybe we shouldn't take them shopping all the time! :)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Bless your girls!! hope they grow to see mommy and take care of her for the rest of her life. If they need math tutorials check some of my hubs. Just finished some with tricks and good examples. May God bless you all!!

LORD


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@lord - I will definately have to check that out. The kids go back to school on Monday and they are super excited. My oldest had testing from last year that we just got the results from. It said she was above average in Math - so she is getting a bit big-headed because of it. I might have to try your tutorials on her! :)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Lol!..little women will be little women!


Daffy Duck profile image

Daffy Duck 5 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

I use to work at a store and would see how much they marked up items. The average markup was around 50-60%. The thing is I was working at a grocery store that was noted for cheap prices. I can imagine the markup being over 100% on some things at other more expensive stores.

Great deals my ass! :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Stacy - oh yeah - you are in for it! Don't even get me going about the 16's the cars, the clothes, the hair, the boys.....


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Lord - Both of my girls are quite the character. They give me lots of great ideas for hubs... for instance - school shopping. Now that school is starting tomorrow - I am curious what other ideas will spur from them! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Daffy Duck - I searched all through the internet to see if there was a solid number for markups and there really wasn't a rule of thumb. Most say about 100 percent (but most people think it is a 50% markup when they double the price) HOwever, when I worked at the barbershop, all of our retail was marked up 100%. This allowed them to have "sales" so people thought they were getting a deal. That is partially why salon products are so darn expensive. They are still a little pricey even when bought at close to cost, but definately more affordable when you have a liscense! Nothing seems to be a good deal anymore - and if it is - well it is most likely not well made!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Real - luckily I still have another 7 years to go before I ground them... lol... I mean - no cars, no boys... I will give them a book! LOL Yeah - not looking forward to that age bracket!


pennyhosts profile image

pennyhosts 4 years ago

As this is the first article I read after joining and having just become a new dad - there's lots relevant on so many levels!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Pennyhosts - First of all - Welcome to Hubpages. I hope you find this place as great as I do. Second off... congratulations on becoming a new dad. You will find so much inspiration from that little child! And thirdly, thank you so much for stopping by. I feel honored that you came across me first on Hubpages and decided to check me out. I hope you found lots of useful information in here. It is here for the grabbing! :)


pennyhosts profile image

pennyhosts 4 years ago

No worries - I will follow you :-)

Chris


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@pennyhosts - :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Stacy,

The 100% markup makes sense. Why else could they have end of season 75 and 80% mark downs? You have to know that they are not selling below cost! I hate shopping also. Do you have stores like Ross Dress for Less? Some pretty good bargains can be found there and the store is organized unlike some thrift shops.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

I hate shopping, too, and they don't fool me with all the coupons and markdowns. The "retail price" is out of this world ridiculous. When I go to places like Kohl's, I feel that the sale price is really the highest price I would pay anyway! I don't really shop, though, so it's usually a moot point. Nice hub!!


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Peggy W - Yeah - unfortunately it is just the way of the world. Luckily though I do have a Ross and a Marshalls. It just makes me sick how expensive some things are. But hey - at least they make us feel like we are getting a bargain when they are on sale! :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Victoria Lynn - Sadly the only time I usually buy something is when it is on sale and almost going out of style. I guess I am way to frugal to not find the deal. Maybe that is why I hate shopping so much! Then again, luckily I don't like it and I don't do it unless it is necessary! :)


Londonlady profile image

Londonlady 4 years ago

I always like to keep a "loyalty card" at a national retailer in my wallet, the deals they offer are really worth it sometimes.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca Author

@Londonlady - I have heard some people complain about loyalty cards. For me, I think they are great. For instance, I have one for Sears and Kmart (they are a combined card) and I have accrued $25. That right there is a good chunk of money! Off to go shopping I guess!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working