The Value Of A Real Bargain

The greetings are always friendly when I walk through the door. I gaze around to see who I might run into today as I often find several friends and acquaintances browsing the tightly packed racks of what I like to call “vintage” clothing.

It wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t run into Rose or Ann. They like to point out their latest finds among the bargains. A co-worker recently complimented me on the blouse I was wearing and, without hesitation, I told her I found it at Goodwill in Wheeling. She, too, enjoys the thrill of the chase and the fun of a great buy.

Reactions to my shopping excursions at places such as Goodwill, the St. Vincent DePaul Store and consignment shops bring about a variety of responses. Some of the comments I find amusing and sometimes I just shake my head at the smirks. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Besides you are helping out others when you patronize the charities.

My mother is an acclaimed bargain-hunting shopper (she had to be with 12 youngsters to feed and clothe) and I guess most of us inherited the trait. None of us likes to pay full price for anything if we don’t have to. Her thrifty ways apply to any place she shops from garage sales to J.C. Penney. She’s not shy about letting us know how much she saved on a new pair of navy blue slacks or a set of sheets. She takes advantage of senior discounts and doesn’t hesitate to haggle over a pricetag.

As much as we say we won’t ever grow up to be like our parents, well, we do in some ways. I confess that I have store coupons strewn about the house. They are tucked in purses and pockets. There are even a few in the car visor and between the seats. I like to be prepared. A skeptical husband thinks I am a bit nuts to be clipping all these coupons. But he doesn’t scoff at the amount of coins we save by using those scraps of paper.

I profess to being a not-so-happy shopper on occasion. However, when I find a good deal and can use a coupon on top of that, I return home a somewhat smug and pleased customer. I do enjoy the hunt, utilizing the strategies found within the slots of my expandable coupon book. I’ve never been shopping with my mother that she didn’t produce a coupon or gift card when it came time to pay the bill. Well done, Mom.

I beat up on myself when I discover a coupon has expired before I could purchase two cake mixes to obtain a free can of frosting. I try to stay positive and remind myself redemption will arrive in the next Sunday edition. I am not a hoarder and do not purchase tons of toilet paper or detergent simply because it is on sale. My shopping is based on what we need, not just what we might want.

Those TV shows featuring incredible shoppers using hundreds of coupons at a time kind of scare me. I’m afraid it would be too easy to cross the line from your run-of-the-mill shopper to hoarder lady with 200 coupons clutched in her hands. It would be my luck to get stuck behind her at the checkout as my ice cream sandwiches begin to melt. But, hey, I think I have a buy-one, get-one-free coupon.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via e-mail at