Where is the line between “it is smart to be efficient and practical” and “this is a full-blown addiction”?
For the past week, I’ve been making a few purchases every other day at AliExpress. I used to be able to say that I would order a thing or two every month or two months. Order, see it takes “20-30 days”, forget about it, and it’s a pleasant (or not) surprise when it arrives two months later.
It’s as if I treat it like a sport to find which seller is offering the best deal (regardless of their rating), so I can shave tens of cents off an item that isn’t more than $3. Free Shipping is the first filter I apply, then rank by price. It is so validating to find and order from the seller that is giving the best price!
And it’s startling that when I recently learned/reminded myself that I can earn precious Ebates as well, (1) I was remiss to not have checked sooner and (2) it seemed to validate shopping there in my twisted little mind.
Let’s take a walk through memory lane and look at the kind of products I have purchased – a panda dress! – at what frequency and if they turned out to be useful…
|1||11 Jan 2016||Fitbit holder clip||Fashion||2.65||Y|
|2||11 Jan 2016||Korean style earring (large back)||Fashion||0.70||N|
|3||11 Jan 2016||Hermes inspired belt||Fashion||5.93||Y|
|4||11 Jan 2016||Korean style earring ("interesting")||Fashion||1.71||N|
|5||11 Jan 2016||Wind-up frog water toy||Kid||0.95||N|
|6||16 Mar 2016||Purple seating harness||Kid||8.92||N|
|7||16 Mar 2016||Car decal||Kid||3.41||Y|
|8||26 May 2016||Spin pins (12pcs)||Fashion||1.24||Y|
|9||26 May 2016||Cute cord holder (2pcs)||Tech||0.67||Y|
|10||26 May 2016||Superhero cord holder (3 pcs)||Tech||1.79||Y|
|11||26 May 2016||Outlet cord organizer (2pcs)||Tech||1.57||N|
|12||14 June 2016||Ball of foot pad||Fashion||0.69||N|
|13||14 June 2016||Invisible lifts||Fashion||4.55||N|
|14||31 July 2016||Mermaid tail blanket||House||15.69||Y|
|15||1 Aug 2016||Bike caddy||Sport||5.01||Y|
|16||30 Aug 2016||Cellphone holder at outlet (2pcs)||Tech||1.01||N|
|17||10 Nov 2016||Cellphone ring holder/stand||Tech||0.99||Y|
|18||11 Nov 2016||Wall mount cellphone holder||Tech||4.01||N|
|19||11 Nov 2016||Cellphone stand||Tech||4.50||Y|
|20||11 Nov 2016||Charging cable||Tech||2.05||Y|
|21||11 Nov 2016||Water drawing set||Kid||3.43||Y|
|22||16 Mar 2017||Tablet silicone holder||Tech||4.99||N|
|23||23 Mar 2017||Winnie the Pooh giant cellphone holder||Tech||3.99||N|
|24||23 Mar 2017||Batman giant cellphone holder||Tech||4.99||N|
|25||1 Oct 2017||Magnetic fake eyelashes||Beauty||4.09||N|
|26||9 Jan 2018||Chinese jewelry pouches (12pcs)||House||7.02||Y|
|27||9 Jan 2018||Small plastic pill/jewelry organizer||House||0.31||N|
|28||21 Feb 2018||Hair turban towel||Beauty||1.54||N|
|29||21 Feb 2018||12pcs rollers||Beauty||1.86||N|
|30||21 Feb 2018||Felt tech accessories pouch||Tech||1.36||Y|
|31||21 Feb 2018||Doraemon zipper case||Kid||1.19||Y|
|32||9 Mar 2018||2pcs hair tie bangle||Fashion||3.58||Y|
|33||19 Apr 2018||Jade facial roller||Beauty||1.89||Y|
|34||4 May 2018||Panda dress||Fashion||15.89||Y|
16 out of 34 purchases I deemed not useful in the end. It’s not a great ratio so either I am motivated to be more savvy about my purchases and/or “write it off” and roll in the cost with the purchases that I did use. At the very least, it satisfies the shopping/parcel itch and doesn’t in the grand scheme of things impact my wallet.
But the part of me that feels guilty over not having a minimalist mindset in the least. A cheapy product from China really is a lousy thing to put into the donation bag, but it happens so at least I’m not the one throwing it out … !
Which brings me to yesterday evening’s shopping spree, squeezed in while NPY was giving E a bath – because I just had to.
Over six years ago, I was given a $140 gift card to Lululemon as a parting gift from a contract position. They knew I was an avid runner and thought Lululemon was where I wanted to spend $140 … I did end up buying two items: a strappy tank top with built-in bra I still wear (and wearing, in fact, as I write this) and a super-silly running skort that I don’t wear. It is hopelessly out of style now and also hopelessly too small for me. I had $2.78 left on the card for a long time and finally just spent it yesterday evening when I saw they had free shipping on all orders. Good. Free ship saves me time having visit the store (although there is one in the mall below my work) and hunt for an item not in stock.
At barre class a few months ago, I saw something glistening in someone’s hair. It was the metal part of her ponytail holder and I couldn’t tell the brand but figured I would start with chichi Lululemon and I would be right – see for yourself the Glow On Hair Ties. At first, I thought the price of $14 was for one hair tie and I blanched. But you get get three, so … It was an item I identified as potential to use the rest of my gift card with the least amount I needed to pitch in. Oh, the psychology of gift cards – I still spent $14 on three hair ties. Boy is it a treat and boy are they precious to me! (I better remember not to tie too tightly or they will snap.)
Of course, you have nine choices of colours. Besides my preference for the colour green, I was also sold by the names of the shades: Tonic Sea, Spirit Green and Deep Cove. Ohhhhh….
I was also holding on to a $10 gift card from Chapters with no minimum spend but expiring in a few days, gained when I purchased $40 of goods a few weeks ago (which happened because I added a $6.50 – discounted – bottle of Honest cleaning spray to my $35 of goods). I had already identified through the Sale tab a couple of storybook treasuries that are regular $10-12 but on special offer for 2 for $10. What a splendid deal. So many stories, all for $10.
Classic Stories has abridged versions of Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty, Heidi, Oliver Twist, The Secret Garden, Treasure Island, The Wind in the Willows and The Wizard of Oz. (I don’t know four of those stories!) Meanwhile, I don’t have a fable compendium so Aesop’s Fables seemed to fill that gap. It doesn’t hurt the covers are gorgeous. Incidentally, both of these treasuries were the ones priced at $12. ;-)
At the special offer, they cost $10 and that was covered by my card and I didn’t have to pay the tax (weird) and since I didn’t make the minimum spend, I am having it shipped to a store half a block away from work. I call that savvy and balanced my Lululemon splurge. (Oh dear me.)