Being the daughter of a NASA engineer, I had a good childhood. I was never spoiled but never went without either. I try to instill this in my kids too. My parents taught me something at a young age that has stayed with me like spilled wine on a shag rug: “Never buy something unless it’s on sale.”

This means when you walk into a department store, look for the sale rack. When you’re in a high-end boutique, walk straight to the back and check out what’s on sale. At stores like Target, anything goes. Unfortunately, buying things from the sale rack has cost me more than I’ve bargained for through the years. I have more “orphan” blouses that I never wear (that go with nothing else in my wardrobe) but purchase anyway because they’re on sale. I buy certain investment pieces like handbags and boots at full price, which gives me enough guilt to fill the entire first floor of Nordstrom. I justify this guilt by wearing those pieces over and over again until they can practically stand on their own.

So this week, I head to a store I’m not familiar with to buy three “girly” birthday gifts for my daughter’s friends. I’m trying to plan ahead for a few upcoming kids’ birthday parties, and one mom tells me when it comes to her daughter, this store is, in so many words, the “fashizzle”. So, I decide to try it out. I walk into this store I’ll call “J,” and it feels like I’ve walked into a tween girl’s room on steroids. I find myself surrounded by bright sparkly things from faux-fur pens to PJ pants, monster winter hats to bling-a-ling tee-shirts. Anything and everything an 8-year-old girl doesn’t know she wants until she innocently steps foot in this place. “Thank goodness my daughter is not with me,” is all that goes through my mind. The plan is to walk in, buy three gifts and walk out. Unfortunately, there is a large sign right near a wild winter hat bin that changes everything. “Every item in the store – 40% off.” OK, I’m done. Take my brain out, this mama wants to shop. In my mind, that sign could have read, “You’re an idiot if you don’t buy something.”

Ah, yes, you see, I’m not only addicted to a good sale. But I’m a marketer’s dream. I like stuff that’s colorful and cute…and I like it even more when the cute and colorful items are on sale. Thanks, mom and dad. My husband shakes his head every time I come home with stuff that I purchased just because it’s on sale. I’ve gotten better through the years, but I still suffer from minor “sale” issues.

I start walking around, in a whirlwind, picking up be-jewel-a-fide journals, hats, erasers, pens, etc. As if the word “sale” has unlocked the “logic” button in my head. For no particular reason, I bought my daughter a giant green “oops” eraser the size of my hand because it was on sale. Granted, she already has enough erasers in her desk to last her through high school.  I walk out 45 minutes later with adorable presents for three soon to be 9-year-olds, plus a jumbo eraser, a winter Mohawk hat and a sparkly soccer tee for my daughter.

I hide everything in my trunk, ponder my purchases, and justify that only three of the items are not gifts. I can’t help it. I have no shame when it comes to a good sale!