If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you likely know that I love getting a deal. If you ask my mother, she’d confirm that given options, I always gravitate toward the most expensive items without any prior knowledge of the prices. Good taste? That’s subjective, but regardless, the price tags always work against me! Over the years, I’ve been learning how to play the shopping game. In order to be able to continue purchasing some of the items that I love, I do my best to never (ok rarely) pay full retail price, by working the system. There are a number of steps that I take on a regular basis in order to keep my shopping budget in check. Speaking of budget, that would bring me to step #1…
1) Budget: My husband and I have worked out a budget for our discretionary income where we each allow ourselves a given dollar amount to spend per month. Granted, mine may be a bit higher than his, but thankfully he’s a pretty low maintenance guy ;) Our budgets are always top of mind when it comes to any shopping I do during the month and it certainly keeps me in check. As much as I enjoying shopping, I certainly don’t need it ruling my life.
2) Email Lists: Those dreaded emails, and for those of you gmail users, the dreaded sorting of the ‘promotions’ tab. I admit, I subscribe to a ton of websites. Part of the price I pay is deleting 100+ emails per day, but it can be worth it. Many times, companies send out exclusive email offers that I’d never know about had I not been on their email list. Sometimes these sales prompt a purchase but more often than not, they get tucked away. What is more likely to happen is that I find myself filling my online basket and prior to checking out I do a quick search through my emails. You’d be shocked how many times I am able to use an email promotion/discount/offer that I didn’t even realize I had.
3) Be A Follower: Along the same lines as email, I follow all of my favorite stores that are on Facebook and Instagram. Every so often, stores will chose to advertise a sale through one or many of their social media outlets and if you’re not a follower, you’re missing out.
4) Credit Cards: This one is a touchy subject as I am not claiming to have any expertise in the financial arena. What I know is what has worked for me. First of all, I only use my credit cards when I know I am able to pay them off either immediately or monthly when their statement arrives. Paying interest on my purchases only goes against what I am attempting to share with you (ie ways to save money while shopping). Second of all, I only open credit cards at stores that I shop at frequently and if they offer rewards that are substantial. For example, I have a Gap card that I am able to use for all of my purchases at not only Gap, but also Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piperlime. I know that I shop at all of these stores on a regular basis (check one) and the rewards are something I look forward to (check two). By using their card, I earn dollar rewards for every purchase I make which I in turn can apply toward future purchases. The same is similar with Macy’s, LOFT and TJMxx/HomeGoods/Marshalls which are other stores that I frequent and take advantage of their reward offerings as well.
5) FREE Shipping: I would say that the majority of my shopping happens online. This is in part because I don’t live in an area surrounded by much shopping, but also because I am a full-time mom to 2 (almost 3) little ones and many times the idea of shopping with them isn’t all that appealing, call me crazy. For those reasons, I’ve become quite keen on paying attention to the stores that offer free shipping because those fees can add up quickly. Some stores (like Nordstrom) always offer free shipping, others offer it once you hit a certain dollar amount and yet others only offer it sporadically. This is always something I keep in the back of my mind, and again (referring back to #2) always double check my inbox for any ‘free shipping’ email that may have come in.
6) Referral Programs: A number of sites that I (and many of you) use, offer referral programs. By shopping and sharing with your friends, you can earn rewards (ie dollars) from sites such as BirchBox, Rent the Runway, Stitch Fix, Gilt and RueLaLa to name a few. It pays to share ;)
7) Cross Reference: If you are purchasing an item that may be offered at more than one store, always do a quick online search to see if you are getting the best price for your goods. It only takes a minute, but could end up keeping dollars in your wallet.
8) Wait For The Sale: I know, this one is the most obvious and often the most difficult to follow. But unless it’s an item you are sure will sell out, do yourself a favor and wait for it to get marked down. They always do!
Hopefully you’ll be able to implement and use some of these tips to your benefit. And if you have any other tricks up your sleeve, let me know! As always, happy smart shopping!