How to Get the Best Deals When Shopping! – Tip #13

June 17, 2008 · Print This Article

Teen Girl ShoppingPeople ask, “What should I buy now?” There’s no magic time to shop. Every season has its sales, deals, and discounts. Every year has its trends, fads, colors, and patterns. So I recommend a different approach that can work during any season.

Begin with a methodology to shopping even before you start.

STEP 1A. It’s always fun to shop the trends. And although new trends are ushered in every season, they don’t change drastically from one year to another…usually. That’s great news to the discount shopper.

To get great deals, buy ahead. That means that if you want to update your Summer 2009 wardrobe, buy at the end of the Summer 2008 season. Retailers need to move product quickly at the end of their seasons to make room for the next season’s merchandise. And who doesn’t love to get 70% off something in mid-August that will take you through September and will still be fresh next April when the new Spring season arrives!

Don’t wait for sales. Take advantage of the sales that are currently running. Remember, it’s easier to buy in preparation than in desperation. You get what you want instead of settling for what you can scrounge up. The other benefit to shopping when the time is right is that you can stretch your wardrobe budget!

That said,

STEP 1. I alway recommend to start clothing shopping by walking the store quickly to get a lay of the land as to what is available. The quick scan maximizes time when you’re on the hunt for the inventory that’s on sale. To me, no matter how much you have, if there is great merchandise on sale, why not pick these items up first so you can add more to the items that matter most or you can use the money for some other worthwhile living experiences since shopping is not the end all.

Lorrie Boot Shoe  Creating Your Personal StyleI remember a great find at DSW’s sale rack where I found for Lorrie the shoe pictured. It’s perfect to wear with a pair of boot-cut jeans as it looks like a boot with a big surprise under the pant. Every time she takes a step, the medallion-type “flower” pops out. When she sits down, it’s completely visable. She looks great wearing them and for US$14, you can’t go wrong.

For myself, I’ve purchased a pair of US$120 pants for $4.69 off the on sale rack. When I brought it to the register, the person behind me said he couldn’t buy a beer for that price. The woman he was with just could not believe the price.

Last year I found a leather jacket that was marked down several times from $450 to what I thought was $60. An absolute great find. At the register, I was told the price was wrong, it was $30.

I found a $1200 suit for $399, bangles for $10, jackets for $40, handbags for $60.

Shoes, accessories, clothing, bathing suits…the item does not matter. I always go to the back of the shop or check the sales first.

STEP 2. Shop to fill a space in your wardrobe and not just to look around. If you’re just looking, you’ll buy. Not good. If you approach shopping like going to an auction and sticking to a limit on an item, you’ll only buy what you need.

Need a pair of shoes? Take several accessories with you to buy the shoes. Then start with the sale rack and move forward to the front for current goods.

STEP 3. Walk the store keeping in mind you have certain criteria that fit your shape and style. Don’t waste your time looking at everything. Use the principles of shopping to filter out where you travel. In essence, don’t shop the store, you shop what works. If you find an item, walk with it and continue looking, don’t just throw it on unless it’s something that fits over your existing standard wardrobe we’ve talked about. You’ll find that shortly thereafter, you’ll typically find something else you like better. Then put the other one down and keep on walking.

Phone Creating Your Personal StyleSTEP 4. Try on what you like and then in the mirror, take a picture of yourself using your cell phone or camera. If you still like it, take a picture of the garment close up so you can remember it. Depending on the store and the inventory, ask if they can hold it until the end of the day. If they can’t, do the “misfile-hide” trick. Put the item where you can return to find it.

Don’t buy unless your’re absolutley in love with the items or they fit like a glove.

My belief is that if you really love the item and it fits your closet, you’ll come back for it after you’ve done your walking. If you decide it’s not worth the effort to return to the store, what are you telling yourself….IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

STEP 5. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask if there are any specials or discounts you can take advantage of while making your purchases.

* behind the counter coupons could take $100 off your bill.
* commissioned sales staff can drop 5% without batting an eye.
* buy 1 get 1 free deals may have been advertised or are to be advertaised that can be used.

*if you buy something today, and it goes on sale next week, many stores allow you to return with your receipt only. Submit the receipt, and they’ll re-ring your items, refunding the savings from their current sales prices.

A few weeks ago, a guy in front of me came in to buy two pairs of shoes and left with five! If he’d entered the store with a strategy, he may have left with two pairs of shoes he loved, saving himself money, instead of storing three extra pairs in the closet that might collect dust.

This type of shopping works all year long and is not specific to a season. It’s more practical and keeps your closet free of extras.

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