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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bringing You Bargains and Splurges

This marks a new beginning for this blog.

Originally, I created Goo Goo Buy Buy as a way to share with the world all those things I covet -- great shoes, handbags, clothes, jewelry. (I can just hear old-school Madonna signing, "I am a material girl.")

But I'm reinventing the blog and myself in the process.

I'm still all about things that are "to-die-for." But I also think it's pretty cool to save money so you have more to spend on splurges, be they killer heels or a killer house. So, I'll also be bringing you news of the best bargains around, as well of examples of how I've stretched the bacon.

As you get to know me, I think my spending sensibilities will become clear. I do have some brand allegiances, and I do like to have nice things. But I also think it's foolish to waste your money by overpaying for products. That said, I believe my time is more valuable than money. So, sometimes I'll pay more for something if it saves me precious time. And you won't find me obsessively washing out plastic bags, as my very well-paid mother-in-law does. I just don't have the time or the inclination.

But since we're all just getting to know each other, I thought I'd share some facts about myself and my spending habits:

  • I hate Wal-Mart. Won't go there no matter how much they roll back prices. I'm not a big fan of the company's practices, and I also hate the whole Wal-Mart atmosphere. Most stores I've been in are cluttered and overcrowded, and I find I spend too much time and patience when I shop there. (I will say this, however: My brother lives in Arkansas, near the W-M HQ and the stores there are spectacular. Well-stocked, well-staffed, clean and everyone seems happy to be there!)
  • I'm a savvy shopper. In fact, I used to be the Savvy Shopper columnist for the News & Record newspaper in Greensboro, N.C. So I have an understanding of the business side of the retail scene. That informs my own shopping decisions and the advice I pass along to my friends who are looking for the best deal.
  • The best deal isn't always about price. As I've said before, I don't always buy the cheapest thing. So, you probably won't find me busting down the doors on Black Friday to get my hands on a $2.99 DVD player. That's just not my style. I try to buy quality products that will last and perform well, and I try to find them for the best possible prices.
  • Splurging is important. Treating myself makes me feel good. And since I'm financially able to do so, I'm going to spend my money on things that I enjoy. That means getting mani-pedis or buying a new pair of shoes every now and again. (Some people would probably say I treat myself too much, but I disagree!)
  • Saving is important, too. If we never delay gratification, we'll never realize our financial goals. Mine are retiring early and moving into my dream house. And lately, I've been thinking that I'd like to spend less time working and more time being a mommy. And then there's the goal of wanting to send our son to private school when the time comes. I understand that how I spend my money today affects whether and when I'll reach those goals.
  • Planning for the future. To prove that I do practice what I preach, here's what we're doing to save money in our house. My husband invests in the 401(k) program at his office, and every month, I put a set amount in my SEP IRA (because I'm self-employed). At tax time, I put as much money as I'm allowed into that account. When my husband and I left our last jobs, we rolled over our 401(k)s instead of cashing them out as so many people do. We'd been maxing out our contributions, so now we each have a mid five-figure fund that's growing. That's in addition to some other investments we have, so I think we're pretty set for retirement if we keep doing what we're doing. We've contributed to Roth IRAs, as well, and we have a school/college fund set up for our 19-month-old son. Finally, we set up a house fund about 9 months ago, and we've managed to save quite a bit. Add that to our equity in our current house, and we will have a very nice downpayment that will enable us to avoid PMI on our dream house and have affordable payments.
Wow, I've written a lot. I hope I haven't bored you, but I felt that I needed to explain why Goo Goo Buy Buy has suddenly morphed into a bargain-saving blog. But as I've noted, I'm about more than pinching pennies. So, I'll probably be writing again about $800 Mary Norton bags, but I won't be buying them unless they're on sale! (BTW, Mary Norton is having a super secret sale from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday at its Charleston boutique with prices starting at $100. How long does it take to get to Charleston from here?

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