Monthly Archives: October 2010

Socially conscious…and frugal, too

In August, I decided to add Target to my (sadly) growing list of stores that I boycott. Target joins a venerable list which includes Wal-Mart (shady treatment of women, and, well, they’re gross) and Whole Foods (the CEO said WHAT? about health insurance).

I decided to boycott Target because of that whole “we took your money and made a giant donation to an organization that you would NEVER support if you had the choice thing.” Check it out here.

Truth is that I’m totally sure Whole Foods could care less, considering that I never liked the feeling that I had to refinance my mortgage in order to shop THERE anyway. Target, though – well, now, that’s another story. I was surprised that the first month I didn’t drop at least $100 there that I would get a “we miss you” postcard. I used to joke that I should have a portion of my paycheck direct deposit there.

The problem, though, is that I buy stuff there. Lots of it. Makeup, food, toilet paper, you name it.

To start with, I buy 6 Luna Bars a week there. They’re cheaper at Target than they are anywhere else. I’m sure, too, that when I pop in there to buy the weekly Luna Bar stash (and they get kind of stale, so I buy them once a week) I spent at least another $30 on impulse purchases – stuff that I used like, well, food. But impulse purchases nonetheless.

Target’s not stupid, of course.

So – now that I can’t shop at Target… what to do? I actually kind of panicked for a while. Then I realized that, well, there are other options. I know Target’s the closest (I could walk there if I wanted to. I don’t, of course, but I could), cheapest and all-around most convenient.

Here’s what happened in the last two months since my own little boycott began:

School supplies. Now that wasn’t hard at all. In fact, it was easy. Staples? Hello? Back-to-school supplies sale? Cheap cheap.

Food. Back to the grocery store. Not my favorite by a long shot. I hate grocery stores – the big ones. I hate the lines, the parking, the people (I mean the other shoppers who leave their damn carts in the middle of the aisles and talk for hours to neighbors). I did, however, discover that grocery stores can be pretty affordable if you do two things: read the ads instead of recycling them (since I don’t get a daily paper I don’t get them that way but I realized that the newsapery stuff that comes in the mail every week is actually useful if you plan to do grocery shopping) and only buy stuff on sale. There’s lots of it. I buy soda, um, kind of frequently and it’s almost always on sale somewhere.

Luna Bars. Know what? They’re like a dime more expensive for 6 of them at Trader Joe’s than they were at Target. And I pretty much hit Trader Joe’s once a week anyway for my lunch provisions.

Toilet paper. Two words: plan ahead. Bought it at Sam’s Club (yes, I know that Sam’s Club is just Wal-Mart in disguise but there are some things that I just have to buy there like the super-cheap chicken that’s probably hormone-laden and will eventually kill me, and the cheap-cheap (ha ha) eggs that thankfully didn’t kill me). I bought a giant package of toilet paper there that, considering I live alone, will probably last me 2 months or more.

And, finally, make-up. I’m not a big make-up buyer, but there’s stuff I do use. Well, now, have you considered drugstore.com? OMG… here’s where being generous paid off as well. I had a boatload of cash left in my FSA this year and encouraged younger daughter to use some FSA money at drugstore.com to buy her first load of over-the-counter meds for her new apartments. Anyway, that earned me over $6.00 in drugstore.com money that I could use starting this month. That, combined with free shipping and some sales got me the following for just a little over $30: foundation, powder, blush, mascara, eye shadow and a new hair brush. Are you kidding? That would have been at least $20 more at Target, not to mention the five other things I would have bought on impulse.

Socially conscious and frugal? Can be done.

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