Friday, November 21, 2008

Crowded Department Stores

I was going to go to Walmart this evening but I never made it out of the car. I went in the parking lot and decided it just wasn't worth it! I have never seen so many people gathered in one area. What is the population of the Tristate area? Well, Wikipedia puts us around 288,649 according to the 2000 census. We have 5 Walmarts within a 20 minute radius of each other and 4 of those are the newer Super Walmarts and in the "city limits". I bet that 1/5 of our entire tristate population was at one of these Walmarts today.

What is the appeal? The convenience of one stop shopping? My experience with convenience shopping (and I did it for years at Walmart) is that you will conveniently spend $250, of which you didn't need $150 worth of it (dvd's, clothing, etc.) and you could have saved another $75 by being patient and watching the grocery circulars.

We are by no means a rich area. Heck, I would be suprised if 60% of our population met the lower portion of middle class, which I might also add is $32,000 to $60,000 gross annual income. Not to get into personal finances but we fall about midway between that statistic on 2 incomes (I only work part time) and we struggle. Our mortgage is the only debt we have and let me tell ya, it is pocket change! I would bet money you don't know anyone who pays a cheaper mortgage, that is the only reason we have kept this place, is to rent it out. The average rent in South Point is double my mortgage. No lie! We have 23 acres in Jackson we bought on land contract and paid off a year ago and we will eventually be living on.

Anyways, I know that we are almost debt free and only have living expenses and we find it difficult sometimes to make ends meet. A little more than a year ago I was bumming money from my parents to pay the electric bill. Oh, and guess where I did ALL of my shopping. Yeah, Walmart. Don't get me wrong. I love Walmart, honestly. They have alot to offer and cheaper than most prices, UNLESS you are patient and watch sale ads. I am not saying drive around all over the place and waist gas money. What I am saying is pay attention, do you really need that item? Do you really need that DVD? Yeah, it is in the $5 bin but $5 adds up darn quick. Just 5 of those bargain movies will cost $25! And now that they have a redbox movie rental at the Walmart in South Point, I will show you how to get free movie rentals. Make a plan of attack. If you are going to drive close to Kroger, Foodfair, Aldi's etc. Make it a point to make out your list and get your coupons together, stash them in your purse and make it a point to stop.

Would you rather spend a little time researching ads and clipping coupons or would you rather spend more money? Time is money right? Why not have as much of it as you can? Start out small if it feels daunting or you just don't get the hang of it. Ask questions. I will answer any and all to the best of my ability and as we grow here we can help one another. Coupons and sales are out here to help us save money but they are not going to force it on you. You have to be willing to help yourself.
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