I’m a big fan of stretching a buck.  Doesn’t matter what you call it – cheap, frugal, tightwad – it pretty much boils down to the fact that money doesn’t grow on trees.  Although many parents recited that same phrase, I’ll put it simply and honestly – not everyone gets it.  I’ve watched people live beyond their means.  I know people who refuse to shop at yard sales.  I’m amazed at how many people shop by brand name alone.  When I save any amount of money, whether it be a few cents here or several dollars there, it means a lot.  My husband and I have been able to afford the things we have because we are conscious of how we spend our money.  Thankfully, our parents taught some important lessons about value.

Last month I posted a review about T.J. Maxx and the treasure trove of bargains we found there during a PR sponsored “Back to School Shopping” excursion.  As I explained in that post, I had been approached by public relations firm, Rocket XL, to shop and review both T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s and was provided a $25 gift card to each.There has been a lot of uproar regarding the FTC’s new guidelines for disclosure so I want it to be vividly clear what my position is regarding Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx.  Did I shop there because I’m cheap and now had a $25 gift card in my pocket?  Couldn’t be further from the truth.  We’re not strangers to T.J. Maxx or the other stores in The TJX family, including Marshall’s.  Actually, we’re more than familiar with Marshall’s because of its close proximity to the McDonald’s that is nearest to our house.  And when I say close, I mean we park once and walk to both.  We shop there regularly.  A few days before Rocket XL approached me, we had just been to Marshall’s and purchased new tennis shoes for Miss K.  And new swimsuits, too, for both the girls. And a few shirts for DH.  And I believe even something for me.  It’s just one of those places that falls into the category of “Provides the opportunity to get the most for my money.” So when I set out to write a review, it was encouraged by the gift card but it’s a store that I would shop at – that I do shop at – and that I do believe in regardless of whether a public relations firm asked me to stop by.

Now that I got that off my chest, allow me to share our experience!

Since we have two daughters and received two gift cards, Miss K spent hers at T.J. Maxx and Miss M was the beneficiary of the Marshall’s card. Sometimes when we shop at Marshall’s, we don’t find much but other times it’s a jackpot – you never know what you’ll find there. It’s not uncommon for us to spot well known brands at Marshall’s that are at deeply discounted prices. But this is the first time that I’ve noticed a pair of Ed Hardy jeans on the rack. Seriously. Ed Hardy Jeans. At Marshall’s. For a fraction of the cost. No, we didn’t buy them… they aren’t our style. Although I’m not a brand name shopper, I do understand that sometimes higher prices mean a better quality. So when I see brand names, I take notice and if the price is right, then I’ll buy it. But the fact that trendy clothing lines hit Marshall’s means that parents can shop there for Back to School clothes, for Christmas gifts or just to fill gaps caused by growth spurts and have success in meeting their child’s tastes while controlling the outflow of cash from the wallet.

I know I sound like a commercial but I’m not copying literature from a scripted marketing page. It’s genuinely how I feel and why I shop there. Here’s proof of their pricing – “Compare at $64” (but $16.99 at Marshall’s) and “Compare at $40.00+UP” yet we paid $19.99!

Anyway, so on Miss M’s outing to Marshall’s, she netted a pair of jeans and an adorable jacket. The original suggested retail price of the jacket was more than twice what we actually ended up paying for both items at Marshall’s. Because of her size, we often have difficulty finding outfits that we like but when we’re shopping for single pieces, we have a better chance of success. These pants fit her great and will make a wonderful addition to her closet. The jacket is perfect for wearing on cool days but versatile enough to use as a regular layered piece when winter hits.

As I said, we’re regulars at Marshall’s and in between the time that we used the gift card and the time of this post, we made yet another trip there. This time, we walked out with two lovable Halloween outfits. We had searched several places, including WalMart and some Halloween stores but didn’t find what we wanted. The outfits we picked up at Marshall’s were priced similar to discount store costumes but are a much heavier quality. But that’s how things are at Marshall’s… quality items at a reasonable price. If you haven’t shopped for a Halloween outfit yet, stop by your local Marshall’s to see what they have. Although we mutually agreed on the ones pictured, we passed up on some phenomenal looking Renaissance-style costumes!

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