Friday, December 2, 2011

savvy shopping tips

I'll be the first to tell you I'm not frugal person but I am pretty thrifty when nabbing up the things that strike my fancy. Years of shopping has taught me many money-saving tricks and I thought it was high-time to share some with ya'll.
1. Be patient. This is the ultimate money-saving shopping tip. I'll give you an example, last October I came across a pair of Cole Haan mary jane pumps (here) I decided I couldn't live without. I've watched as they've slowly crept down from $297 to $171 (!). That wasn't quite enough of a discount for me though. I sat on it a bit longer and finally scooped them up today with Endless' 20% off sale (code: MAYEVENT) for $137. That leads me into my second tip...
2. Know when to spring into action. This is key! All that waiting doesn't do any good if you don't know when to go for it. Check in every week or so and make sure your size's supply isn't getting dangerously low. I used to let deals slip through my fingers because I waited too long to pull the trigger. Be mindful of when promotions end and if you let one narrowly pass you by, call customer service and explain the situation, they'll usually extend the offer (I did this with the last Sephora site-wide sale).
3. Check promotion code sites. I despise paying full-price and shipping for anything so I do this every time I shop and rarely does it not save me at least a couple bucks. My favorite site for this kind of thing is Retail Me Not. Just today I used it to search for a Gorjana discount code and found one for 25% off your entire purchase (code: LUCKYBREAKS8). This saved me $101.25 (picture below if you don't believe me). 
4. Sign up for mailing lists. I know these emails can be irritating but I can't tell you how much they've saved me over the years. When many promotions last only a day or two, getting a notification sent straight to your inbox will ensure you don't miss it. Also on the same subject, subscribe to Groupon-like sites listservs. They're free and every once in a while, present a really awesome deal, for example the $150 gift cards I purchased to Gorjana for $50. With two of them and my Retail Me Not code, I paid $103.75 for $405 worth of full-priced jewelry!
5. Keep some money tucked away. If you keep yourself on a strict budget, allot some funds for special "emergency" shopping. I don't mean for when you just suffered a break-up and momma needs a new pair of shoes, I'm talking about when an unbelievable deal crops up out of nowhere and you need to jump on it now. This has happened to me twice this year with a designer bag and an insanely expensive leather jacket. Both were things I imagined owning at some point in my life but were just too costly to consider at the moment. Then, a few months down the road I happened across them at 60 and 80% off respectively and needed the money I'd set aside to purchase them before someone else did.
6. Don't be an emotional shopper. I don't have problems with this (I struggle more with emotional Skittles binging) but I know a lot of women who do. Most everything in my closet I thought and stalked and thought some more on before buying but I understand not everyone is this way. If you do feel tempted to head to the mall after an emotionally tiring day, head to CVS instead and treat yourself to a new nail polish or lipstick rather than an expensive new outfit.
7. Give them your information. I'll sign up for most anything, it never takes more than 2 minutes and over the years I've received countless discount cards to retailers I shop at anyways. Vera Bradley even sends out $20 gift cards during your birthday month, I've been enjoying those for years. Also, if you shop responsibly (no judgement) and can, sign up for retailer's credit cards. The perks range from % off purchases, to early access to sales, to free alterations.
8. Talk to sales associates and don't be afraid to call customer service if ordering online. J.Crew's irritating final sale? Not so final if you voice your concerns about worrying about how something might fit you. All of these retailers are businesses, they're in this to make money and at the end of the day if they can knock shipping charges off your order and make some money off you, bygone they're gonna do it. Use it to your advantage, the worst answer you'll ever get is a no.
9. Use Ebates. There are many helpful money saving sites but this one deserves a mention of its own. It's a super easy and quick way to get cash back on nearly everything you buy online. The best part is there's no emailing, saving receipts, or phone calls to be made, it does it for you! My last payment was over $100 and was sent straight to my Paypal account. Sign up here (and thank me later). Oh, and I promise they don't sponsor me.. although they should!

If you have any helpful tips, feel free to share in the comments!

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