, Newburyport, MA


January 4, 2013

Cha-ching: Love a bargain? Buy next year's gifts now


She told her boss she was quitting, but was offered a chance to work part time from home, an offer she couldn’t refuse.

“Financially, we’re much better off,” said Holbrook of Commerce Township, Mich. “Between gas, day care, the work clothes and eating out, you add that up, and it costs you more to work,” she said.

But the savings really piled up when Holbrook made some other changes. She stopped buying things new.

“We just used to go to Kohl’s when they had a sale, and we’d blow 500 bucks for clothes,” she said. “Everything was always brand new, and we were in that mentality.

“When I decided I was going to quit, and I started asking people who stayed home, ‘How do you make it?’ I was just like, ‘Wow, we can do this.’ We stopped charging everything. We talked with the kids, and we started making choices.”

She now buys clothes at resale shops, where some send coupons to further reduce already low prices.

“My kids are finally getting it — you don’t have to have it just because everyone else has it,” she says. “Nobody has to know you didn’t go to the store and buy it new. They’re wearing nicer clothes now than they were before. I wouldn’t take them shopping at Justice or Abercrombie, but they can get those brands now.”

For lessons and classes for the kids, Holbrook turns to Living Social and Groupon.

“They’ll e-mail you all kinds of offers. You buy a voucher, and it’s good for a certain amount of time.” Her daughter is taking horseback-riding lessons, she says, “for less than half of what they normally charge.”

Game Stop’s used and refurbished electronics are a good buy, too, she says.

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