I live within walking distance of a factory outlet mall. It was built the year after we built our home and the entire time it was being constructed, I waited in excitement for the day that it would open.
For several years, the factory outlet mall and I were great friends. I would go there to “relax” and I would always leave at least $100 poorer and loaded down with all kinds of great buys. Fortunately, the novelty wore off.
About Factory Outlet Malls
Sure, factory outlet malls are full of promises of superior items al low prices. Where else can you get high-end items at department store prices? Where else can you dress a child for the winter with only $100?
For example, not all stores in a factory outlet mall are outlet stores. Shocking, isn’t it?
The truth is that only a certain percentage of stores in a factory outlet mall need to be outlet stores in order for the mall to be considered an outlet mall. What this means for shoppers like you and me is… we still need to compare prices.
I discovered this when shopping at the Radio Shack in my outlet mall. After buying a camera, I realized that I had actually paid more for the item than it cost at a non-outlet Radio Shack (on sale). The next time I went back to the outlet mall, I questioned the people at Radio Shack and they informed me that they were not an outlet store. In fact, at least ¼ of the stores in my outlet mall are regular price stores.
Two other reasons I’m not so crazy about outlet malls anymore:
- You tend to buy things you don’t need. I still have items with the tags on them that have gone unused from back when my outlet store first opened. The last of them are in a pile to give to a church youth garage sale. I now only go to the outlet store when I have a specific purchase in mind.
- You tend to jump on last-chance sales. In outlet stores, items are marked down more, the longer they are in the store. You may want to purchase an item for fear that it will be gone the next time you go to the store, and it very well may. But I promise you that an equally great item will be there when you are ready to make a purchase.
I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future — which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.