Thursday, April 12, 2012

Savvy Shopping Secrets

I'm a frugal shopper by nature.  My mom is quite the shopper but she always taught us growing up that you should never pay full price for anything - a lesson that has stayed with me to this day.  Plenty of times I have come across something I want and found it at a better price just a week or two later either because it has gone on sale or I received a coupon code.  So it is safe to say that I rarely pay full price for anything.  I thought I'd share a few of the ways I've found bargain deals with you.
  1. Ebates - Do you ebates? Ebates is a great site I stumbled upon a few years ago where you get a predetermined percentage cash back for your online purchases. The catch is that you have to click through their site onto the store from which you are purchasing to get the credit, but it is a seamless process that doesn't cost anything and doesn't take much time. For example, I purchased a snow blower from Sears.com last year. By clicking through the Ebates link, I received 2% cash back on my purchase, or $25. Just for making a purchase I would have made anyway! You can sign up here (my personal referral code).
  2. Coupon Codes - I'm on all my favorite stores' email lists and there is rarely a day when I'm not inundated with coupon offers from any/all of them. Since I know that tomorrow there will be another coupon, I often make lists of what I want and wait until a 30% or 40% off code arrives. When I don't have a coupon code handy, I do a quick google search and inevitably something comes up.  Coupon Cabin and Retail Me Not are also good places to search for user submitted coupon codes.  In February, I posted about a sweater I bought for $1.50 - it was on sale for $35 with an additional 50% off all sale items plus Lord & Taylor had sent me a $15 off any purchase of $15 or more coupon.  Can't beat a sweater for less than $2!
  3. Store Credit Cards & Rewards - Now I know this is a controversial topic, but assuming you can keep track of your spending and not run up debt for frivolous purchases, I think store credit cards are great.  I only have a couple - to my favorite stores - and I pay them off in full every month.  But I do find that not only do I get more coupon offers for those stores for which I have credit cards, but often store rewards programs are linked to your credit account and give you bonuses for shopping (again, if you are going to do it anyway, might as well get something back for it!).  There is rarely a time when I don't have at least $10 rewards to Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy that I get simply because I make all of my purchases at these stores on my Gap card (and pay them off in full every month).  Some stores have rewards programs that aren't linked to a store credit card (like DSW), and I sign on to those as well.
  4. Thrift Store & Outlet Shopping - I have no qualms about thrift & outlet store shopping, and have found great deals at both.  The pink Ann Taylor Loft coat I wore on Easter was purchased at my local goodwill, tags still on, for $19.99, for example (actually, I think that's expensive for a thrift store, but since the jacket was new/unworn it was still a good deal).  The problem with thrift stores is that you have to go frequently and you only get deals on occasion.  Outlet stores are also great because in certain cases things you find at regular stores you can find at huge discounts at outlet stores.  This is especially true of designer items, I find, as regular stores (like Gap, J.Crew, Banana Republic...) often have separate items for their outlet stores than their regular stores.  I also like to frequent discount retailers like Marshall's, TJ Maxx or Century 21 for deals.
Those are my top tips for saving money while shopping.  What resources do you use or like most to save money while shopping?

1 comment:

Brianne O'Neil said...

Ebay is my favorite place to find a bargain!