My name is the Brave Ski Mom and I am addicted to Steep ‘n’ Cheap. It all began in 2007, when I read about this One Deal at A Time (ODAT) site in a ski magazine. Being a budget-conscious, bargain-hunting kind of gal, I cut out the article, logged onto the website and immediately purchased a backpacking stove. We used it just a few months later when we took the family backpacking in Capitol Reef National Park. I have a photo from this trip of me wearing a lovely Isis medium weight wool base layer and new sunglasses. Yes, you guessed it. I purchased them at Steep’n’ Cheap (from here on known as SAC).
Since 2007, I have made 65 purchases “one deal at a time” (Truly. I just checked. I need professional help). While this may sound excessive, I have never bought anything that we couldn’t use or didn’t need. Sometimes I have to stop myself to make sure that I am not buying impulsively. Usually, however, when I see a deal that we need, I grab it. That is, of course, the theory behind ODAT. You have to act fast or the deal will sell out. I have lost some darn good deals and been rather sad about it. Luckily, items often repeat so if you check back on the site frequently enough, you have a good chance of finding what you are looking for.
Now, If you already know all about Steep ‘n’ Cheap (SAC) and its sister sites such as Chainlove, Tramdock, and Bonktown, you should stop reading and check Cleansnipe to make sure you’re not missing a killer deal. If you don’t understand what you just read, stay with me. Your gear strategy will never be the same again.
KNOW WHAT YOU NEED: As with any gear strategy, you need to know what you want. You don’t want to just buy because the deal is in front of you. I use SAC and the other sites to buy outdoor gear, everyday clothing and gifts. Before you go onto the sites, know the sizes of everyone you may buy for and the colors and styles they prefer and the items they need.
BE PREPARED: Set up a site account so you aren’t slowed by having to enter all of your information every time you want to make a purchase. If you have a backcountry.com account it will work on all of their sites. You can set it up the first time you buy something on any of their sites and then you are good to go as long as you are signed in.
THINK OUTSIDE THE SEASON: You must be willing to buy out-of-season. For example, last year I bought my dad a great wool base layer in April and then hid it until Christmas.
NAVIGATE WISELY: Once you know what you want, you have to know how to get to the sites. SAC used to stand pretty much alone as the ODAT site for backcountry.com. In the couple of years, backcountry.com has both expanded and complicated their ODAT offerings with new sites dedicated to specific sports and activities. Thus, go to Chainlove for mountain biking; Bonktown for road biking and Tramdock for skiing (and these are just a sampling of the backcountry.com sites). Or better yet, put www.Cleansnipe.com into your browser favorites and click on it throughout the day. It lists the 6 primary backcountry.com sites on the main part of its page, as well as 25 other ODAT and Deal of the Day sites, such as Patagonia and Altrec, on a right hand side bar.
PAY ATTENTION: One caveat, on SAC and its sister sites, make sure you check the shipping costs. I have found that the default UPS shipping is usually more expensive than the USPS shipping option. Depending upon how close you live to Salt Lake City, the USPS option may also be faster.
ADMIT YOUR MISTAKES: Finally, if you get something you don’t like, don’t be afraid to send it back. SAC and the other backcountry.com sites have awesome customer service. The people on the phone are super friendly. Returns and exchanges are easy. I have even had to call them because I mistakenly purchased the same item twice. They stopped my second order before it shipped.
© 2010, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.