Main Line Belt-Tightening

Bargains! Bundling! Costco?! When the spenders start saving

I’ve bundled! No, I haven’t botoxed, I’ve bundled. It’s the new battle cry for the fiscally savvy Main Line housewife who, heretofore, thought bundling meant throwing a pile of shorts and t-shirts into a bag for a quick road trip to the beach. (New Jersey, if you only have a couple of days; Nantucket, if you can swing three or four). No, during these difficult economic times, we Main Line Mavens have taken up the good fight and learned how to tighten our belts. In fact, as crazy as this sounds, it’s become sport among my kind, a competition so to speak, to find a bargain, pounce on a good deal, locate the deepest discount.

Bundling was the first line of attack. Verizon or Comcast? Doesn’t really matter. All that matters is the number!

“I shaved $300 a month off my cable/phone/internet.”

“HA! I saved $400 a month by switching to Dish, Vonage and the Family Plan.”

“HA! I can top that! I moved my wireless router to the other end of the house so I can steal from the neighbors, took the cell phones away from the kids and go to the library for Internet!”

Okay, maybe that last one never happened, but you get the idea. The competition is on.

These economic times demand some creative shopping from everyone. No one is immune to the impact of our wounded economy. No one is unaffected, and so we all look to find ways to reduce expenditure, save some outlay.

Reduce expenditure … Hmm, just where can I cut out some “fat”? The tv/internet/phone service decision is easy as Comcast and Verizon both offer packages designed to reduce the total expense for these services. One good lightning storm, however, and you’re reading a book, trying not to stress over the e-mails you’re missing and the fact that you have no way to call anyone to vent. Maybe that’s not a bad thing; a sudden plunge into the dark ages might just do a body good. Does my daughter really need a personal trainer? Can I live without the weekly mani/pedi? Can’t I buy the hair color in a box? I mean it’s just brown, how hard can that be to match?

Luckily, for the everyday things that one needs to buy, we have the “tabernacle” just up the road in King of Prussia. The holiest and most revered locations in any bargain hunters search, the Cathedral of Cost Savings — Costco. We shop there for bulk dry goods and perishables if we can use them up. If you have the room to store them, who can turn down 84 rolls of toilet paper at bargain pricing? While scouring the aisles for killer savings (anything that ends in a 7 is last mark-down. If you can use it in the next decade, buy it!). While there, we Deal Divas often run into each other. You can spot another Main Line warrior easily; she’s the one with the designer jeans and Prada handbag toting a 42-inch Sony flatscreen and four pounds of peanut butter, sipping on the Starbucks latte she brought with her.

There are few rules in the belt-tightening competition. One, we don’t buy fakes. Remember, the goal is to find the good stuff for less, not the fake stuff for cheap. Compete within the rules of the game, no Belichick behavior allowed. Secondly, we share intel. If someone finds a new bargain spot or a great website, we pass it along. The shop/site gets the play and we get the savings.

So if any of you know of a “” or a JimmyChooForLess website, just let me know and I’ll put it in the playbook