My life philosophy and blog manifesto are displayed in the upper right hand corner of my website. I call it Frugal Decadence, and describe it like this “The art of enjoying the many pleasures and luxuries of life at a fraction of the cost others will pay. Life is too short to deny yourself, and too long to use up all of your money living today. Never go without, but never pay full price. No compromises.” Life is only lived once, and so it is up to each of us to find that delicate balance between overspending on today at the expense of tomorrow, and over-saving for tomorrow by sacrificing today. When I first began my blog, I was deep in the struggle between these two, erring on the side of over-saving for tomorrow at the sacrifice of today. In fact, I still struggle with these two extremes, placing retirement savings well ahead of anything else. But what made me excited about my blog was chronicling a lifestyle through my writing and experiences that showed myself and my readers that you can have your cake and eat it, too.

By being able to overspend now while over-saving for tomorrow, you would have the things and all of the experiences that you wanted today while stashing away enough cash for future comforts and necessities. And it is possible to do this (I hope I have shown you that thus far), but you need to think outside of the box. Making this lifestyle possible means that I need to utilize resources other than money when making purchases of any kind. These resources include smarts, strategy, time and energy. Some examples of this I have written about are some of our DIY home renovations instead of paying someone else to do them (input on top of money is time and energy), learning how to play the drugstore game (strategy, time, and energy) and layering deals (strategy, smarts, time). As you can see, saving money on purchases today typically always takes a bit more time than to spend money without any thought. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I needed/wanted something, entered the first store I encountered, and walked up the cash register empty-handed (except for the product and my wallet).

What I am learning now is how to prioritize my precious time in order to get the most bang for my buck instead of just sacrificing my time for every deal to be had. Our new plantation shutters are a great example of this.

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Deciding Against JCPenney Plantation Shutters

When we first moved into our home I knew that the large window above our bed in the master bedroom would look absolutely splendid with plantation shutters. I knew that it was going to be expensive, though I had not prepared myself thoroughly because when I saw an ad for JCPenney plantation shutters at 40% off, and found out that 40% off still meant a little over $800 for one window I nearly lost it. Still, these shutters were important to me, something that I had prioritized, so I kept looking and thinking about them. We priced them out at Lowe’s and it came to $437 for custom-made and custom-installed. This is the best price that I found, but surely I didn’t want to pay the $437 out of pocket.

What ended up happening was a series of very fortunate events that led us to pay just $19 of actual cash for these shutters. In the mail we received a $25 off $250 purchase coupon from Lowe’s, and applied this to the order. After the contractor came out to our home and measured for the shutters, the store called and the lady was kind enough to let me in on a little hint: if I waited just two weeks to order, these particular plantation shutter were going on sale! So, we waited the two weeks and had another 10% knocked off of the asking price. Since we were going to be renovating our master bathroom soon (we are in the middle of this one), we knew we would be spending a hefty sum in the near future. So, we took advantage of Lowe’s Tax Return Gift Card deal, and put $1,000 onto a gift card for the bathroom renovation, yielding us a free $100 on the gift card from Lowe’s to put towards the shutter purchase. Finally, we had $250 worth of gift cards at Lowe’s from  credit card reward points (due mainly from our spending on the wedding, which we put on our card for the points and then diligently paid off before there were any finance charges). This miraculously brought our price down to just $19 at the cash register, of which I gladly paid cash.

And just last weekend these beautiful, charming shutters were installed!

This was a major win for me, and also helped to solidify that my life philosophy works well for me. In the future I plan to further prioritize my time and make sure that I am using it in a way that is most beneficial to me and that saves enough money to be worth my time. For now, I will enjoy our shutters.

Have you had a big win with a purchase? I’d love to hear about it—it just feels so darn good!

11 replies
  1. krantcents
    krantcents says:

    Six years ago, I bought a large screen Tv. The salesman said they would match any price from a retail store. I found a lower price at a store in Brooklyn, NY. They matched it plus an additional 10% off. They asked if I wanted to put it on their credit card for an additional 10% off. In total, I received 40% off of retail! It was a great discount! They since changed the rules to only match retail stores in the local area.

  2. Theresa Torres
    Theresa Torres says:

    Hi Amanda,
    This is an eye-opener for me! I’ve never really realized before how I tend to make purchases on the spur of the moment or on as needed basis. This shows me that I can save a lot of money while still getting what I want.
    I remember the nice feeling I had when I bought my son school shoes at the mall. They were having a sale and I was able to get the shoes for 50%off and on top of that, I still got an additional 10%off by using the store’s reward card.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says:

    When we bought our house we were desperately trying to find a nice dining sweet that could accomodate our dinner parties. However when we went to the stores they were thousands of dollars. It wasn’t until we saw an ad in Kijiji for a moving sale that we found our dream table for $300. Then we bought some chairs to match at Canadian Tire for $500 and we were set. For less thank $1000 we got what we wanted. That was a $5000 savings from what we would have paid at the store.

  4. Mayor of Humbleville
    Mayor of Humbleville says:

    Hi there Amanda!

    Great job on the plantation shutters, they look fantastic! Our best “win” purchase happened kind of unexpectedly. We had just closed on our first home and were starting to look for furniture for our new master bedroom. We knew we wanted a particular tropical bedroom set, but it cost $4,200 for the whole set at the time, way out of our humble budget.

    One day, we just happened to take a random way home from church and sitting in someone’s front yard was literally the exact bedroom set we wanted, for sale! We had to make a snap decision, but ended up walking away with the set for only $700 plus the cost of a moving truck! Can you believe it? The exact set we wanted just happened to be in someone’s yard sale. Coincidence? I think not! Anyways, enjoy your new shutters!

    Humbly Yours,
    The mayor

  5. Johannah B
    Johannah B says:

    We recently were able to get our choice of $799 (regular retail) new dishwasher down to just over $500 (before tax). First it was on sale for $719, & we took advantage of their 15% off Energy Saver Appliances sale – then we used ebates and ordered it online. We paid with a bonus $ credit card (which we pay off in full every month) — and lastly getting a rebate from the MFG on the item – we saved about 38%. Best thing.. we got the dishwasher we wanted and hit our budget goal for this purchase of $500.

    • Amanda L. Grossman
      Amanda L. Grossman says:

      Fantastic Johannah!

      Our dishwasher recently started smoking when I turned it on a week ago…I immediately turned it off, then a day later tried again and it’s been working since but I am sure buying a new one is in the cards for us. It is the old one that came with our home, and it’s been good to us for the last year and a half (ooohh if it could only give another year or two…:)). Thanks for sharing!

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