My wife and I received a T.J. Maxx gift card this Christmas from someone appealing to our frugal side. I admit, I haven’t been to a T.J. Maxx store in a long time, but thoroughly enjoyed browsing the aisles with my wife last Saturday. One of the things that struck me was the number of name-brand items on sale at clearance prices. Not fully understanding the store’s off-price strategy I was off to learn more.
First, a little history on the industry straight from the T.J. Maxx website:
Off-price retailing grew in the recession of the mid-’70s when consumers had limited discretionary income. Consumers wanted to save money without sacrificing quality and fashion. Shopping “off-price” provided the perfect solution. Through the years, the off-price industry has continued to grow. The recession of the early ’90s reinforced consumers’ value-oriented; mentality and heightened the demand for quality fashions at reasonable prices.
Sound familiar? If the blurb on their website had not reference the recessionary times of the mid-’70s and early-’90s I would have though they were describing the consumer sentiment of today. After all, many folks are hunting bargains without sacrificing quality. To me, that is the mantra of the frugal shopper.
The hardest part of spending money with a gift card is trying to decide what to buy and stay within your budgeted amount. Our gift card was for $25.00, which normally wouldn’t buy much, but as we shopped the items at our local T.J. Maxx store we were able to find three much-needed household items to toss in our shopping cart.
19-piece ultimate measuring set. Just like the label says, this is the “ultimate measuring set.” Up to now we’ve collected a mix-matched set of measuring spoons and cups of various sizes, colors and brands. Now we have a complete, matching set and can retire our current measuring devices to back-up duty.
Shower curtain 3-pack. My son loves to play “splash the parent” in the bath tub, so we’ve employed a plastic shower curtain liner for some time to protect us (and the bathroom floor). Unfortunately, these things tend to collect mildew pretty quickly, and there are only so many times you can clean with vinegar before they need replacing.
8-piece prep bowls with lids. My wife enjoys watching the occasional cooking show, and is always envious of the little glass prep bowls everyone uses to separate their spices and various ingredients. Well, now she has her own! We have also discovered these are the perfect size for pouring up a little homemade honey mustard or similar sauce for dipping meats and veggies.
We took home all three items for just over $25.00 (the difference was less than a dollar). It felt good to pick up three things we needed, but had put off purchasing because of their expense, even in discount stores. We didn’t even make it to the racks of discounted, name brand clothing, but plan to as the seasons change and the kids need spring and summer clothing. From now on, we’ll check off-price retailers before stepping foot in a mall!