May 7, 2010
Icon"BEST BARGAINS#148; By Cheryl Gochnauer Where are the caravans of mothers roaming yard to yard, greeting fellow shoppers they'd already seen at three other sales today? My third grader needs a nice winter coat. Groaning, I remember the pristine parka I passed up this summer. Its $8 price tag seemed ridiculously high when the thermometer was spiking at 95. Now I realize I will probably pay many times that amount to keep her warm this winter. I spot an arrow up ahead. Encouraged, I signal and turn the indicated direction. Three more pointers wind me through a subdivision, then disappear. Stranded, I drive up and down several streets, hoping to pick up the scent. Nothing. Looks like I blinked and missed my last chance this season to cut costs by sifting through my neighbors' stuff. The good-buy waterholes have dried up. I've got the Garage Sale Blues. Chiding myself for being such a miser, I head for the local discount store. Their prices really are quite reasonable, although it's hard to beat four shirts for a dollar. I remember spring, its warm breezes ushering in another era of raised doors and card tables on the driveway. Balloons, streamers and posters promised the "lowest prices, best deals." Sometimes, the bold boasts were genuine, and I splashed through piles of nearly new clothes that fit my children to a tee. We cheerfully haggled - I know it's a great deal at 50 cents, but will she take a quarter? Cast-offs became keepsakes. It's all just a memory now. Until the birds fly north, I'll have to console myself with Sunday fliers and holiday sales. Coupons in hand, I'll forge through clearance aisles. Occasionally, I may even pay - ouch - full price. Hold me back before I cross the line from conscientious shopper to penny-pinching cheapskate! I know I'm spoiled. Besides, although I missed the parka, I was smart enough to stock up on boots and sweaters last July. Like a chipmunk, I hoarded away clothes calculated to fit when my daughters hit those mid-winter growth spurts. We're pretty much prepared. Still, I'll miss digging for those elusive gems buried in all the junk. Until spring hatches another bargain-hunting season, I'll be singing the Garage Sale Blues. Comments? Write or visit her website at Copyright 2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on

Posted by Staff at 1:56 AM