Shop & Save: Tips On Buying At A Bargain

December 24, 2011  |  
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Do you love the thrill of a sale or get a rush when you realize your favorite brand of jeans has finally hit the sale rack?  Well you might be missing out on some important bargain hunting tips that could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars each year.

With the holidays among us, it’s important to shop smart and save when and where you can.  Take a look at these 9 helpful tips to bring out the savvy fashionista in you.

1. Know When to Shop

Whether you realize it or not, stores and retailers all run on a specific schedule.  They do mark downs on a certain night and therefore the next day is the time to attack.  So how do you know when these special delivery days are?  Just ask!  If a store clerk doesn’t know they can check with the manager on duty who should know that schedule by heart.  Generally most non-boutique stores mark down items and change their specials Tuesday night before closing.  While the “official” sales usually start Wednesday morning, you can get a head start on other shoppers and a better selection.  Also, do you know when the best time is to buy gas? Thursday mornings may offer the best deals because gas prices typically rise on Thursday afternoons due to gasoline demands for weekend travel.

2. Sales Tax Smarts

Besides your state’s annual tax-free weekend, there are other ways to avoid that pesky fee. If you purchase from an out-of-state store, you can ship it home and avoid being taxed, time for vacation spending anyone? You can also check out your state’s official website to find out more tax-free secrets. For instance, many states don’t charge tax on clothing purchases under $100, so you may want to consider breaking up a large purchase into a few under-$100 increments.

3. Compare, Compare, Compare

Who has time these days to bounce from store to store in order to competitive price-shop? Use online searching sites like shopstyle.com and the lowest price will be staring you in the face! Plus, online retailers like shopbop.com are happy to match a better price out there. So if you paid $20 more for that dress, politely ask customer service to match the competition’s price and go get yourself a manicure!

4. Be Bold

Have you ever bought a shirt at full price only to find it on sale a few days later? Stop feeling like a sucker and ask for a price adjustment. Some major retailers will issue you a full credit for the difference in price if the sale happened within 7 to 10 days of your purchase. And don’t stress if you waited too long to return that blouse that frankly looked better on the hanger and is now on sale. If you have your receipt in hand and the tag is still on, most retailers refund the price you paid, not just the discounted one currently on the tag.

5. Utilize Twitter

You’re probably already following your friends and favorite celebrities on Twitter, but did you know that you can tweet your way to some extra cash? Follow your favorite stores like Macy’s or Victoria’s Secret for access to Twitter-specific specials, hot sale alerts and contests that aren’t advertised anywhere else!

6. Cash-back

Sign up for ebates.com, an online shopping portal that gives you up to 30 percent cash-back on purchases from stores like Sephora, Macy’s, Nine West and thousands more. You’ll get a check in the mail four times a year, just in time to update your wardrobe for the coming season. And don’t overlook their weekly coupons. Keep clipping, printing, or code-grabbing from sites like retailmenot.com and couponcraze.com, where you can power-search for your favorite stores. Plus, every Friday, check out Little Miss Fortune’s Friday Fortune Cookie, a weekly roundup of online deals and freebies.

7. Profession-specific Discounts

Depending on where you work, your 9-to-5 job could save you some extra dough. Teachers get 20 percent off at J.Crew and Ann Taylor, and enrolled college students are eligible for discount cards that work at Topshop, Urban Outfitters and A/X. So inquire about profession-specific discounts, they might just apply to you.

8. Check the Internet

Save time and energy by comparison shopping online, even if you’re buying at a brick-and-mortar store. Sites like MyCoupons.com list discounts from a myriad of retailers and well as Bargain Shopper Lady who stays up to date on daily discounts at a variety of stores and restaurants. http://bargainshopperlady.com/

9. Free Shipping

The only downside to shopping online is the extra cost of shipping and handling. But lucky for you and your credit card, stores like J.Crew and Talbots will you give you free shipping on catalog and online orders if you place them at the store. So if they are sold out of your favorite colored cords or your size is no longer in stock, ask a sales clerk to hook you up with an online purchase and sit back while your new duds come right to your door, free of charge.

 

 

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