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Another big focus of our redesign has been budget budget budget. It's
true that half the budget-tightening battle depends on having good
organizational skills. Think about the gal at the grocery store who
hands over a two-inch pile of coupons at checkout—the cashier rings up
an $11 savings and you think, "Well, when did she have time to clip
all those?" She made time. I'll get back to that, the "organization factor," because that's only part of the equation.

The other part is knowing where to look. Right now, we're busy
compiling all the local bargain-hunting scoop we can find for the
Fall/Winter issue, including sales and special deals at well-known
retailers, online resources that'll steer you to the best prices, and
items we've found that make good budget sense. A brand new section
entitled "Shop Smart" is full of helpful tidbits we've picked up here
and there—where to shop for fresh flowers, when upholstery goes on
sale, and much more.

In the meantime, as I was making some notes about setting aside cash
for the after-Christmas sales, I had an idea. If you're really serious
about using these post-holiday events to fill in what's lacking in
your interior (and you should!), how do you go about getting what you
need while sticking to your budget? The reason I ask is because, in
the frenzy of the price-slashing that time of year, my mind returns to
the importance of organization. You may be buying multiple big ticket
items without knowing well in advance how much they're going to cost
you; add in the ticking clock as other shoppers rush in and out, and
it's easy to lose out on some great opportunities. So what can you do
to a) make informed, on-the-spot decisions and b) avoid buyers'
remorse?

Take a look at the attached worksheet and let me know if you could use something like this? I'd love to hear thoughts from you, our seasoned shoppers.

Click here to enlarge image.

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