Yesterday was a public holiday (Hari Raya Haji) and long weekend so we decided to go shopping and bargain hunting for baby stuffs. We had a few goals in mind, namely baby cot and steam sterilizer. But before I get to the day’s chase, let’s take a look at the events leading up to the day.
This is the Shears Premium Wooden Cot that we were interested in. The free activity mat and bean sprout pillow is in the cot.
Baby cot first. 2 weeks ago, we visited Metro at Causeway Point and saw this Shears Premium Wooden Cot going at $189 (usual $499 from Palmax website), comes with free mattress, an activity mat and a bean sprout pillow. At that time, we had not started looking at cots but we knew that the normal price of baby cots start at around $300. This cot was quite a pleasant surprise, and we both liked it for its price and no-frills design. It is not convertible to a child bed which suited our intentions as we did not want a convertible cot anyway. An older child can just sleep on a mattress on the floor; the cot will remain as a cot for younger siblings to use. But, we weren’t ready to commit just yet, we wanted to look around for more options.
After more browsing, we decided yes, the Shears cot is what we want. In the following weekend, we went to Orchard to check out the many storewide 20% discounts to see if there were any good buys. We chance upon the same baby cot going for $169 at OG with only free mattress. Hmm… Pay extra $20 for activity mat and bean sprout pillow? Bean sprout pillow itself is easily $10. Moreover, at Metro, we can earn linkpoints at 6% returns. So the final decision was to purchase the cot at Metro. We walked over to Metro Paragon only to discover that the cot wasn’t available at the Paragon branch. So no choice, we had to visit another Metro branch then.
This is the Pigeon Rapid Steam Sterilizer that we eventually bought.
Sterilizer. We first spotted the Pigeon Rapid Steam Sterilizer going at a discounted price of $95 (usual $125) at Kids Mall (IMM) a few weeks back. At that time, we also recalled seeing a packaged deal somewhere with the Rapid Steam Sterilizer, Starter kit, and 1 other item which we forgot, selling at $130 something. We decided to look around first to see which is a better package.
We were unable to find the 3-in-1 package anymore, so the promotion had probably ended. We decided to get the sterilizer at $95 at Metro to earn the additional linkpoints. But alas, Metro Paragon didn’t have it. So the decision was to visit Metro at Causeway Point to get both the cot and the sterilizer. Since Woodlands is rather far away for us to travel to after work on weekdays, we decided to go there during the long weekend instead. During the week itself, we passed by Kids Mall and Giant (both at IMM) and noticed that the sterilizer was selling at the usual $125. Was the promotion over? Did we missed it? Meanwhile, Tom & Stephanie (Westmall) was still selling it at $95. Hopefully, the promotion will still be ongoing at Metro.
So came the big day yesterday. We decided to visit Metro @ City Square Mall instead of Causeway Point to buy our stuffs, partly also to check out the new shopping centre in town. But it was a disappointment. Metro there was pretty small and didn’t have either of the items we wanted. However, the kind staff at Metro offered to phone the Causeway Point branch to check on the availability of the sterilizer for us. Luckily, there was 1 last piece at Metro Causeway point. We quickly reserved it and would visit Causeway Point later that day to purchase the item. Heng ah.
6 baby shirts for just $10 from Shen Kwong Trading, sooooo cheap!
Side track a bit, we visited Shen Kwong Trading at Bugis since we were already in the area to see what we can pick up. Shen Kwong Trading is a local distributor of baby clothes so we can get very good prices if we purchased from the shop directly. Its location was a bit hard to find as it is on the inner row of shops at block 269C opposite the Guan Yin Temple. Wandering aimlessly, we happened to spot this shop next to the public toilet with half closed doors. There was a stroller in front of it and a MTB just stepped out from inside. We peeped inside to see shelves and shelves and shelves of baby clothes and essentials linens. They were closing soon, hence the half closed doors. We quickly went in and picked out 6 baby shirts, 6 long bath towels, and 12 square face towels for just $21! Fantastically cheap! We’ll definitely be back to get more. From what we heard, they’re opened Mon-Sat, until 6pm.
Back to the chase, we drove all the way to Causeway Point to buy the Shears cot and Pigeon sterilizer which we had reserved earlier. It turned out that the discount on the sterilizer had already ended on 13 Nov and shops that still sell at the discounted price were clearing the stock from that promotional batch of sterilizers. We were lucky to still be able to get one on 27 Nov (2 weeks after promotion ended). Our total cost for these 2 items were $189 + $95 = $284. We purchased $280 worth of Metro vouchers and earned 2520 linkpoints, wow! That’s 2520 / 150 = $16.80 worth of linkpoints claimable at NTUC. Moreover, our purchase entitled us to redeem a free 2010 Sesame Street calendar and a Sesame Street umbrella. What a shopping trip, yeah!
So, what is the moral of the story? Yes, we made quite significant savings. But we’ve also stressed ourselves unnecessarily over the past 2 weeks trying to hunt down the best deals in town. We’ve also spent a fair amount of petrol travelling here and there, and also car park charges. Luckily, most of our trips were multi-purpose trips (such as attending weddings) such that we achieve multiple objectives per outing, thereby reducing our petrol/car park expenses per objective. The point here is that, we need to weigh the benefits of bargain hunting. If the savings is not significant, then it probably isn’t worth the effort making a dedicated trip there. So here are a few of our rules of thumb.
Bargain hunt only for big items that preferably gives savings of $20 or more. Also, string together multiple bargain items to buy on the same route to maximize the returns on travelling cost and time. Next, know the current prices of items well so that you know what is a good deal and what isn’t. And, Internet is your friend, check out the many websites that track promotions and discounts around Singapore and read discussion forums where users constantly update one another on sale events.
Lastly, contribute back to the community by sharing with others (through forums or blog posts) about great bargains and tips to stretch the dollar further. :D