Diary of a Discount Shopper | Clearance Pants Lead to Expensive Assets


I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the past few weeks, getting ready for various classes and the Working Women’s Survival Show.  All of that preparation and I completely forgot something extremely important.  Clothes.  My dress socks were full of holes and even my underwear could use an update.  I was down to one pair of pants, which were black.  Black pants clash horribly with my closet full of black v-necked tops.

That one pair of pants wasn’t going to work over the course of three days, two newscasts, and 6 workshops.  I had to go shopping, but when the  nearest town with any selection is 50+ miles away, I didn’t have time to devote to an all-day shopping trip.  There is a new Factory Connection store in a nearby town, so I swung in there determined to find something that would work.  I must stop right now and tell you how much I hate clothes shopping.  I used to love it, but something changed inside of me after that fateful March day when I went to sleep a size 4 and woke up a 14.  Now clothes shopping is only pleasurable when I kick start it with a week of plain yogurt and a case of wine, and buy only flannel pants and hoodies.

When I pulled in, I was thrilled to see a Buy 2, Get 1 Free sign on the window.  This was valid on all clearance, which was pretty much everything in the store.  The very first thing I noticed along the back wall was a pair of gray pants- the perfect shade of gray.  These would match ALL of my black tops!  I’ve always wanted a pair of good gray pants, because nothing else could ever match black tops aside from jeans.  Yeah, they make Khaki and white ones, but let me tell you.  NO ONE looks good in them.  They don’t make a cut that flatters even a 115 pound personal trainer. 

This coveted pair of gray pants was ONLY available in my size.  Is this a sign?  I sure hope so.  I glance at the price tag.  $8 for this name brand pair of pants- retail was $59.99.  That was BEFORE the B2G1.  I headed to the dressing room and slid right into the pants.  They fit!  Then I slowly turned around and looked into the mirror.  I was met with what could only be compared to the 50-lb sacks of potatoes that Summer Fresh has on ‘sale’ this week.  There were lumps sticking out in places that I thought were areas that I didn’t yet need to worry about.  Although the pants fit, the fabric left something to be desired.


So I headed off to the clearance sweater dress rack to find tops long enough to cover my knee-caps.  And boy, did I find some cute ones! 

I ended up leaving Factory Connection with 9 items for less than $30!  But I still had this uneasy feeling about my butt in those pants.  I’ve found that those wearing the clothes are often oblivious to the way they look, so if I knew it, how much worse would they look to strangers?

I decided I’d head to Target and pick up a pair of Spanx.  Surely those would help, right?  I needed some jeans anyways, as those lumps mentioned above had finally blown out the inner thighs of my American Eagle jeans.  ALL OF THEM.  I’ve heard some good things lately about Target jeans- I decided to try them out.

I picked up a couple of pairs of jeans in my size and headed to the dreading dressing room.  I cringed as I pulled them on, just knowing that they would be tight.  Then something phenomenal happened.  They were loose.  I checked to see that the hanger matched the tags.  It did!  What?  A smaller size?  Yes, MA’AM!  I tried on the next smaller size.  They fell off.  I started frantically looking around, just sure that the guy from Dateline was watching.  He never showed up.  Now I’m shaking.  I grab yet a smaller size.  They fit! 

No, I’ve not lost any weight- even after the yogurt and wine diet. Their pants just run bigger.  Do I care?  NOPE!


I’m glad I bought the pants first (which are still a little big, by the way).  I felt a little better about buying those postage stamp sized bike shorts, known to Target shoppers as ‘Assets’.  Seriously, that’s their name.  When I made my way over there, I could see the big red clearance signs.  What?  Another clearance?  Perfect!  In a size L?  More perfect!  Wait.. that’s a 1, not an L.  I flip the package over and draw my index finger across the weight recommendations for this size 1.  95-110 lbs.  I don’t care who you are- unless you are 17 inches tall, you do not need a pair of Assets if you weigh 95 lbs.  Even if you are wearing white jeans. 

So I put them back and had to pay regular price for my Assets.  These suckers were $25!  But I guess $25 is a small price to pay if they make my butt look like the picture.  I head for the checkout, looking for a similarly sized woman that just might sympathize with my situation.  Of course, every cashier was male, and all but one were under the age of 27.  Crap.  I just pulled up my ‘big girl Assets’ and headed for the one that looked the most oblivious. 

He did a great job making me feel normal.  Apparently, Target even thought there was a chance I might blow a hole in the side of these suckers, as a coupon for 15% off of my next pair printed at checkout.  Woohoo- that’s like discounted insurance.  Think Progressive would let me take out a policy to cover my Assets in case of damage?

While at Target, I spent $76 on jeans and gut suckers.  All because I was too cheap to pay more than $8 for a pair of pants that actually fit.  I’ll bet I could have found great pants for less than $33.  Some say Assets are an investment.  I sure hope so- I ended up not even wearing them. My sweater dresses worked well enough and call me crazy, but I like to breathe. 

On the bright side: If I weren’t so cheap, I would be constantly pulling up my size 10 jeans as we speak! 

Like this post?  Check out the rest of our Diary of a Discount Shopper Series!

P.S.  Only buy the even numbered size pants at Target for an ego boost.  The odd numbered are the exact opposite. 

Saving Your Way to a Better Holiday Season | Finding Coupons!

Big_Toy_Book_CoverCover of 2008 Big Toy Book

The best Christmas sales don’t always start on Black Friday.  Actually, many of the pre-Thanksgiving sales are right up there with the Black Friday deals.  Store are looking to capitalize on profits for the entire quarter, and the sooner they get you to buying, the more money you’ll spend. 

Instead of offering huge weekly sale ads, stores will put out a book of coupons at the end of October, filled with special pricing, incentives, and coupons.  These books mainly include children and baby items.  Their goal?  To put the products in the child’s hands.  When I was small, I had a Sears Wishbook.  My mother said I drove her nearly insane with that book and my constant begging and ‘I wants’. One day, she got so fed up, she threw it in the woodstove.  Then I drove her insane with my crying over the loss of my book. 

I don’t think I cared if I actually got those items, I was just dreaming about them (I’d like to think anyways- like I remember, I was 3!).  A few years ago, I opened one of my gifts and found… a 1984 Sears Wishbook.  Thanks to Ebay, things like that are much easier to get your hands on now.  The funny thing is, in this era of nostalgia that the toy companies are pushing on us, many of the items in the book are on store shelves now! 

Enough of my digressions.. let’s get to the point.  These books are great because:

  • They are full of discounts.
  • You can pre-shop from your couch.
  • Your kids can make their Christmas lists off of them!

Many parents give their kids markers and the books and let them go to town on circling items.  This encourages them to make their Christmas lists (or write their letters to Santa).  The earlier you shop, the better off you are!

What books are available?

Some of the biggest books are the Toys ‘R Us Big Book, the Sears Wishbook, and the Target Toy Coupon Book. 

When are they released?

All of these books are released the last Sunday of October.  With it falling on a holiday this year, I’m not 100% sure, but I assume it will come out on the 31st.  There is a slight chance it may come out this weekend!

How can I get them?

Sears: I cannot find an online registration (if you find it, let me know!).  You can either call their customer service number at 800-549-4505 to be added to their mailing list or you may view the entire book online. 

Toys ‘R Us: This will be in the Sunday paper, can be picked up in-store, or will be delivered to the homes of those on their mailing list.  To join the mailing list, call: 1-800-869-7787 then select options 1, 2, then 4. 

Target: In previous years, the coupons have been available for print on their website. They also come out in selected Sunday papers.  You can also find these in the store, hung from the endcaps in the toy and electronics departments. 

Are there other types of coupons available?

Of course!  Around the holidays, retailers are putting out coupons like crazy to get you to purchase their products.  Watch in the weekly inserts (in your Sunday paper), on printable coupon sites such as Coupons.com and Redplum, and stuck to products.  The Christmas shopping season is full of holiday peelies! 

Watch for rebates, too!  For the last 3 years, Mattel has offered a $50 prepaid Visa for the purchase of $100 Barbie products.  Hasbro puts out rebates for board games every year. 

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series- they will help you save (and earn!) some serious holiday cash!

Making a List

Setting Your Budget

Finding Extra Cash

Earning Some Dough

New Target Apparel Coupons



Target has some printable apparel coupons available on their website.  These do not restrict clearance items, so print them now (as Target coupons have tendency to disappear quickly) and hold onto them until you can find a great deal.  They mark down their clothing on Mondays. 

  • $5/1 Men’s or Women’s C9 (by Champion) product
  • $1/1 Hanes Product
  • $2/1 Women’s Plus Top
  • $3/1 Merona Handbag
  • $3/1 Men’s Merona Top
  • $2/1 Women’s Merona Top

It’s Official, Target is…

PRICEMATCHING!!! The official word has come down and is now published on Target’s website. You can view the full details here.

I started getting my hopes up in May when Target announced that they would start pricematching in select test markets. If it was successful, they would expand the policy corporate wide this fall. It must have been very successful, because it started on July 12th!

If you’re new to pricematching, it’s simply when a store will honor a competitor’s prices if you have a copy of the physical ad at the time of purchase. Normally, this discount is given in the checkout lane, but Target is asking that you pay the full price for the item and then go to guest services to receive your adjustment. Because of this policy, I recommend that you pay with cash or debit, not credit, so that you receive your credit automatically.

Target is also giving you 7 days to come back for your adjustment! This is great, in case an item you purchased suddenly goes on sale elsewhere.

As always, there are several exclusions to this policy. You can view and print the official policy here.

New Target Printables Up!

$1 off Archer Farms artisan bread (bakery)

$1 off 5 lb Green Giant russet potatoes

$1.50 off 1 lb. or more Archer Farms bulk deli meat

$.50 off Hostess snack cakes

$.50 off Ming Tsai frozen meals

$1 off 40 ct. Bagel Bites

$1 off 2 Eggo waffles

$1 off Cheetos snack

$1 Pop Secret popcorn

$1 off Febreeze Candle (5.5 oz)

$1 off Pledge furniture care product

All will expire 4/11/09