My Favourite 4 Letter Word, SALE

So I confess, I am a shopaholic
but not the filthy rich kind who can close both eyes, sign off big ticket items in big designer stores without wincing a bit

When I was still working, which was about a decade ago, shopping was like driving
The satisfaction and freedom of spending your own money is similar to the feeling one gets when sitting behind the steering wheel

Liberating, empowering and in control
Financial independence is one of the hardest thing to let go when I chose to quit my job, stay at home and be a full time mother
Being independent is a big thing for me and being financially independent forms a large part of it

Then I quit my job, became a mom and had to move to the States for 2 years
Shopping was no longer limited to retail shops in big shopping malls

There were factory outlets, online shopping, ebay, amazon and garage sales
And without an income, satisfaction takes on a different meaning involving the lovely 4 letter word usually in red – SALE

You don’t just shop, you shop for things that are on sale
And the satisfaction comes from getting the best deal

I studied the best strategy to get the best bid on Priceline for hotel deals
I know the sales rack in Target like the back of my hand
The items that go from 30% discount, to 50% to 75% and that’s when you grab them and feel really smug about yourself
The rush and the sense of achievement, my husband calls it cheap thrill
I snapped back at him that I am helping him save money !

The truth is, I ended up buying stuff that I didn’t really need at really good prices
There were children’s toys, clothes, shoes, books, kitchen utensils, and scrapbooking materials that I was still struggling to finish after 5 years

During the few times we had to pack and relocate, I was determined to learn my lesson and not become a slave again to this alluring 4 letter word

My strategy so far has been abstinence

And having 3 boys in the family who simply abhor shopping helps
They often dictate where I go and what I do
So far I have been quite successful in keeping my shopping addiction in check except for a couple of occasions

Then last Saturday, there was a community sale in our neighbourhood, which was effectively a garage sale, the kind of treasure hunt sale without the red tag

I was hoping to get some outdoor furniture, so I woke up on Saturday morning, skipped my morning jog, hopped onto my minivan and was out of the house before everyone woke up

The thing about garage sale is that you can get really good quality stuff at a ridiculous low price especially in a good neighbourhood

There were 5 piece dining set that cost 50 bucks, book shelves that cost a dollar each, books that cost 20 cents and outdoor playset that cost 20 bucks

Depending on the items, I don’t usually pay more than 10 bucks for most things from a garage sales
The same item will usually cost more on craigslist or ebay, that’s how things are

So my heart raced each time I saw the balloons tied to a lamp post, an indication of a sale just around the corner
I slammed on the accelerator, swerved the car and came to a screeching stop,Β like a adrenaline junkie on a loose

3 hours into this, I was completely exhausted and was ready to call it a day
And I drove home with a full load that looked like this

Because I was such a sucker for wooden toys
I lugged home wooden baby toys, table, a shape sorter and a dollhouse although I only have boys and they are 4 and 9 years old who don’t really play with a toy sorter or a dollhouse!

But all these were all selling at 10 bucks or less and the sales junkie in me was reeling its head and I just couldn’t stop it
Yikes !

And the best deal for that morning had to be a complete Mizuno ladies golf set, probably older than my elder boy packed in a hand-stitched leather golf bag that cost me only 20 bucks !
I ended up canceling the one that I ordered on Amazon the night before, of a much inferior quality but cost 10 times more the price

You gain some, you lose some
That’s the real deal
And I am still trying to quit

Are you a shopaholic or a sale junkie like me too ?




  1. Corsage @ A Dollop Of Me says:

    I am so envious! I wish we had such sales in Singapore! I am like you, a sale junkie. I almost never buy things that are not on sale (with exception to food), and do sometimes end up with ridiculous things that I later regret. You just reminded me that I have lots to clear out!

    • malmal says:

      hi 5 Corsage ! I think these days, garage sale is getting more common in Singapore, but the price is usually less attractive, I guess probably becos to start with, things are more expensive in Spore. But I think with more expats, we are going towards the kind of garage sales like in the US πŸ™‚

  2. Adora @ Gingerbreadmum says:

    Woohoo fellow sale junkie, here I am!!! I would be so excited to see that community sale!

    I agree with you – finding a good bargain can be exhilarating! And oh my, those doll houses! I love!!

    I recently “went crazy” at a sale at a clothing shop because it was prob one of my rare times I got to shop alone without the kids in broad daylight (ie I was full of energy as compared to me dragging myself out after they’ve gone to bed). Wow the feeling of satisfaction is indeacribable. Cheap thrill? Well, a full time working mum with a full monthly salary wouldn’t understand as much I suppose. But I’m with you: being home based without a fixed salary does affect you in a very big way πŸ™‚

    Thank you for sharing this post. It’s my fav 4 letter word too!

    Ps. Too many exclamation marks in my comment methinks!!

    • malmal says:

      hi fellow sale junkie ! I can feeeeeel your excitement ! hahaha I told my hubs he is absolutely right about cheap thrill…cheap cos it’s a sale…thrill from the adrenaline rush from beating the crowd and grabbing the best deal …You know, I was 10 minutes late and the 50 bucks dining set went to someone else ! Arrrrggghh ! Thank you for inspiring this post ! I saw your CottonOn top with the red tag ! haha

    • malmal says:

      I so wish to bring back ! If we can sort out the shipping… I swear I will lug everything home ! Don’t know whether you remember the wooden train set you saw at my place…we sold it eventually at 20 bucks ! and I still can’t get over it ! booohooo

  3. lyn lee says:

    I think I’d go crazy too! The sales in the US are quite unbeatable. I got $3 12×12 albums in the bargain section of a scrap store overseas!! I bought 3, should have bought 10. πŸ˜›

    For garage sales, I suppose it costs much more to pay for someone to come dispose of it, so might as well offer it for a nominal token sum, and you’ll know it goes to a good home, to someone who really wants it! It’s such an environmentally friendly way of giving items a second lease of life. And that plain wooden doll house!!! please please bring it back to sgp – you can auction it off to us, I’m sure!

    • malmal says:

      oh ya Lyn, scrapbooking sale ! I still have my scrapbooking stuff from 5 years ago when we left Spore … I gave all to salvation army ! I was trying so hard to resist this time, but I caved in the other day…bought some cardstock and pattern papers… I was there again today…I tell you, soon I will be getting all the punchers and Fiskars stamping stuffs ! HELP !!!

  4. Beverly says:

    Yayy! Glad that I’m not the only one who is a big SALES fan! Haha, I absolutely love it when I get a good deal..and the husband says I’m starting to become an auntie. I tell him it’s an achievement of sorts cos well that’s about the only way a SAHM can measure her contribution. His reply “30% off is still spending money right, when you don’t buy you spend $0” and then I just roll my eyes and quietly sneak off to the next sale. Hehe.

    • malmal says:

      Hey Beverly, tell him, the gain comes from the 30% that you needn’t pay, one is measuring relative gain and the other absolute amount spent ! Both are measuring different things .. haha

  5. Jasmine says:

    What great buys! I love buying wooden toys too from the US. They are so much cheaper there. And how wonderful that you got a great golf set at a good price!

    • malmal says:

      hey Jas, the sad things is, these days, everything is made in China ! The best deal has to be my golf set…becos they were so old…I suspect they were made in Japan πŸ™‚

  6. Susan says:

    Looks like I’m not the only one who spotten that wooden doll house. I always love a bargain and always step into a shop when they scream SALE even though I don’t have anything that I need. But missing a sale, makes me feel like I’m missing on a good deal. I recently went to a Typo sale and bought an iPad cover for $5 and a photo album that can be a scrapbook for $12. So proud of my buys πŸ™‚

  7. yAnn says:

    Oh gosh, sales. My Achilles heel. My then-boyfriend (now husband) had to physically restrain me every time the sale season came round. Those wooden toys are absolutely gorgeous. Good buys, I say!!

  8. Candice says:

    Sale is our common language indeed. I even bought masak masak (more wooden toys!!) from US flash sales sites!

    I do wish I can take off a week or two to go shopping in US. Their sale and outlet prices are oh-so-worth it!

    Now, if only Pottery Barn will have a big sale online too. πŸ˜‰

    • malmal says:

      wow so u are one of those who would pay for the air tickets to go shopping ?! heard of friends who fly all the way to Paris during sales season…I thought it is insane…must be really rich to do so ! even if it’s sale !

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