END OF SUMMER BUYING BLAST by Rula Sinara & Catherine Lanigan

Courtesy JessicaGale@morguefile.com

RULA: Happy September, everyone! For those of you who enjoyed a long Labor Day weekend, we hope you found the time to relax...and shop. I know shopping isn't relaxing for everyone. After all, many of us are still catching our breath from crossing off the back-to-school lists. I personally don't like crowds and hide at home on days like Black Friday, but I love 'therapy shopping' on occasion. And who doesn't like saving a bunch of money on a great bargain?

Right between seasons, when stores are starting to switch out inventory, is a superb time to catch those deals! So Catherine and I decided to share some of our 'steals and deals' and we'd love to hear about yours too. 

In fact, I have a photo below of two lush, comfy, designer tunic sweaters I got at a price you won't believe. Guesses anyone? The original retail price of each was $80 US dollars. What I paid was highway robbery.

Rula's sweaters after an entire fall/winter of use and many washings. Guess how much?!

Read on to find out how much I got them for and why! But first, Catherine has some great tips...

CATHERINE: Honestly, we’ve never done this, but it was too much fun and too much good info not to share. If you don’t know, Sears is closing 46 stores nationwide. That’s not all that many, but stack that along with the Kmart closings. The end of the Carson, Pirie Scott stores in the Chicagoland and Midwest last winter, the closing of 63 Sam’s stores, Walgreens, ToysRUs, Gap---all totaled over 3, 800 stores closed so far in 2018.

Some will moan and groan about these closings. Jobs lost and that is a tragedy, truly. We’ve been on the receiving end of that story.

What it also means is BARGAINS. Lots of them. If you’re smart enough to get out there and pick up items that you can give as gifts, for kids off to college, grandkids special birthday and Christmas items or just plain household necessities that at low prices stretch the family budget.

courtesy of morguefile.com

The ads slamming across the internet reminded me of my mother when a particular gift store and bridal registry in town closed. The owner died. My mother went down there and bought several place settings of my china pattern, my sister’s china pattern, silver for the boys. Then she loaded it under her bed. For a decade, she routinely pulled out a piece or two and wrapped them up for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. She said that for years, her holiday shopping was stress-free because she had most everything still under that king sized bed. Now that was smart shopping.

Last year, a chain store office supply here in our town shut down. I went out there and bought a case of copy paper. Pens. Padded mailing envelopes I use to mail copies of my books to friends and reviewers. I filled a closet. I went twice. The first day everything was 50% off. The place was nearly barren by the end of the day. But the second day, what was left was down to 75% off. I bought a few things I’d forgotten…and paid a pittance. I felt like I was stealing the goods, they were so cheap. Here again, I bought a few things like nice pens, notebook sleeves and iphone covers for gifts.

Here’s a link to some of the news breaking stories. And what those hot deals are. https://www.cnet.com/news/these-are-the-best-labor-day-deals-2018-aug-31/

I have a tendency to believe that a lot of us have bargain-hunting tricks that we use to stretch our dollars. What tips can you share?

RULA: I tend to check out the clearance aisle (sometimes tucked at the back of a store) at the end of a season (holiday or time of year). Stores need shelf space for new items coming in, so they put 'older' items that haven't sold at a mega markdown to move them out. I've gotten winter and fall decor items at awesome prices this way...quite often 50-80% off...at least!

However, those sweaters I told you about above? They were actually on a sale rack placed at the front of the store last summer (as in 2017), during a time when they were still selling summer outfits. I guess they really had a lot of winter inventory they needed to clear out because I got those $80 tunic sweaters (great over leggings) for only $4.99 each! Less than 5 bucks each!! That's probably one of the best deals I've ever gotten. It was super hot outside, but they stayed tucked in a drawer until fall and boy did it feel good to wear them.

And btw, don't forget to check out www.Harlequin.com for book deals! They always have special sales going on, including Free Book Fridays! They usually post sale announcements on their Harlequin Books Facebook page too.

So as Catherine said, between stores having closeout sales, holiday sales and seasonal inventory change-outs, have you all found some bargains to brag about? Any bargain shopping tips? We'd love to hear tips from everyone hanging out here today! 

Happy bargain shopping!

Rula & Catherine



  1. Catherine, love your mom’s china bargains. Smart shopping! Rula, I once got a Samsonite pet carrier for $2.00! My best bargain ever. Great post, ladies. The sweaters are beautiful.

  2. Hi, Leigh! It's really fun to shop for super bargains. My latest is over the weekend, after seeing all the fall decorating catalogues and the cute pillows and pumpkins, but sooo expensive, I hit up TJ Maxx. I got a grey/aqua pumpkin for 4.99 and a pink pumpkin with gold and silver beading for 19.99. ---not 40.00 or more like the catalogue. That's not my best bargain ever but I was happy!

  3. I love back to school shopping and luckily my daughter with the twins who are now off to college still comes and September and I get the fun of helping the girls shop for school clothes. With all of the stores closing I'm worried that soon we will be left with only online shopping. Personally I like trying things on and hate buying by mail and sending things back. Your bargain sweaters are more than worth seeking out the sales.

    1. I have to try things on, Roz. I've tried ordering online and I almost always end up returning (unless it's something I'm reordering...like my favorite yoga pants in the exact model/size etc...). I like to feel the material too. You can't always tell how well something is made from just a photo. Of course some online sites are very reputable. I love shopping deals on house items/decor. Clothing is more stressful for me because nothing ever fits right. But those sweaters sitting right at the store entrance waiting for me was perfect! I didn't have to hunt through racks lol! :)

  4. Ugh! I so agree, Roz. I recently ordered super deals from Norstrom Rack and had to send everything back. They didn't even send what I ordered! But the articles all say that these closings are due to on line shopping now. When it comes to clothes, I have, have to try them on!

  5. What a great deal, Rula, and so pretty. Catherine, I love what your mom did with the china. Wish I had that foresight. I love the after-holiday sales - Easter candy after Easter, picnic wares after the 4th of July, Christmas decorations. I have an elaborate adjustable Christmas tree stand I'd never have paid full price for but found for $3 in February once.

    1. A Christmas tree for $3? That's incredible, Beth! Artificial trees have become so expensive. Super deal!

    2. Hi, Beth! I'm there with you for the after Holiday deals. Though not as much these days as my friends...and me...are older. My granddaughter is 20 and usually wants the cash to buy her own stuff.

  6. I love bargains! I really scour the internet and shops for good deals. I find a lot of great home goods at Marshalls... do they have those all over the country? Great stores. And I just found my son the cutest T-shirts to start the school year at Carters online, $5 each! I am wary of clothes on line for the exact reason everyone is saying, it's time consuming and sometimes expensive to send them back again. And hard to find that perfect fit! But I do buy most of my shoes at Zappos online. They have free shipping and make it so easy.

    1. Hey Claire! We do have Marshalls here, as well as Ross and Steinmart. There's actually a Home Goods here for home goods, and I love the variety and deals they have. I haven't tried Zappos, but shoes are my absolute hardest fit. I have to try them on. I'm a total wimp when it comes to foot pain lol.

  7. Hi, Claire---sometimes I think it's the thrill of it all to get that bargain. Or the memories of when ten bucks had to buy groceries for the whole family for a week. I have not tried the Zappos on line. BUT there is an outlet mall near me. Most of the time, their deals are not deals, but just as the seasons turn, like now, some of the shoes are so, so cheap! I love that!


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