I spend an embarrassing amount of free time shopping. Not always buying things, but browsing in person or online, especially since websites are open at all hours. It’s a great way do to thorough research on your purchases, find deals, and for short people like me, sometimes online orders are the only way to get specific petite size ranges that aren’t carried in store. The focus on my shopping tips is for items that truly go into “shopping” on your credit card statement – so things like clothing, electronics, Amazon purchases, and not groceries or utilities.
Never Buy Full Price
The only time you should buy any retail item full price is if you absolutely need that specific item right then and now. For example, you are traveling, lost your luggage, and need new clothes. Or you need to replace a tool right away to use it the same day.
Otherwise, you should wait for a sale or seek out a way for a discount to come to you. Most retailers hold sales on major holidays. For a weekend holiday, the sale cycle is usually Thursday-Sunday, but it’s becoming more of a trend to extend these so they can better handle demand and logistics.
Get on the Email List
Most retailers also offer a discount if you sign your email up for marketing communications. You can use an email account specifically decicated for this purpose, or filter these emails so they don’t take over your inbox. All of mine automatically filter into a single folder in my email account. For any sites or stores you frequent, this is a great way to be notified of any deals or other special loyalty perks like birthday discounts. You can unsubscribe from any if you’ve utilized a sign-up discount and no longer want their emails.
On the Fence? Leave it in Your Cart
If you’ve signed up with your email and leave things in your cart without purchasing them, most retailers will email a reminder about your item. Some of them will also offer you a discount to complete the purchase. Walking away and waiting on the item can also help you decide if you really want it. There are some browser add-ins that will let you save those for later or track price change alerts as well.
Always do a quick search for promo or discount codes if you have not applied any to your purchase. You can add apps like Rakuten to your browser to automatically search for these and earn other cash back on top of your credit card or retailer deals. (A note that Rakuten works best on desktop – I find it cumbersome to use it on mobile because you have to launch websites within the Rakuten app but many retailers have their own app.)
Price Matching and Adjustments
If you see something you want discounted on another site, request a price match. Large retailers will match this under their listed conditions. Some sites, like Nordstrom or Best Buy, will automatically adjust their prices online.
Likewise, if something goes on sale or is discounter further right after you buy it, check for the price adjustment policy. Most major retailers will grant a price adjustment within a couple weeks and will refund the difference.
If you’re buying from an individual seller (Ebay, Poshmark), check out that seller’s policies for bundle discounts or ask nicely if there is any wiggle room on price. You can also submit offers on prices or message the seller directly. Be reasonable with these in terms of what is a fair sale price that meets your budget needs.
In the next post, I’ll dig into store loyalty programs and credit cards.