Enjoy the thrill of finding great deals.
Bargain hunting is back, thanks to a tough economy. Shopping smarter can take some extra time, but once you start finding big savings, it can be fun and very rewarding. Try these strategies to find discounts.
Comparison shop online before you buy.
Use online sites like Bizrate.com, Pricegrabber.com, Shopzilla.com and Smarter.com to research the best prices retailers are offering. Planning to buy an expensive item, such as a washing machine? Research the leading brands in Consumer Reports, so you know how to focus your comparison shopping.
Weigh quality vs. price.
Sometimes a top-quality, higher-priced item can be a better value than one that’s cheaper. For instance, a classic, high-quality overcoat that will last two or three seasons may be more of a bargain than an inexpensive one that you’ll have to replace next year.
Money Management Tip #3
Before you buy something online, do a Google search to see if there are coupon codes available for purchases with the retailer.
Wait for sales.
To find out about retailers’ sales in advance, you can often sign up on their Web sites for e-mail alerts or ask the sales staff when you shop. Blogs such as The Budget Fashionista can also offer great tips. To find out about bargains at your grocery store in advance, sign up for TheGroceryGame.com, a service that alerts you to price-cuts on your favorite items. Whatever you’re shopping for, don’t let big discounts persuade you to buy things you don’t need or can’t afford.
Ask for a better deal on big-ticket items.
If you are shopping for an appliance, always ask if the retailer offers unadvertised specials. Also inquire if the retailer will match a competitor’s advertised prices.
Take advantage of group discounts.
When you join new organizations such as professional groups and non-profits, check out the member benefits for group discounts on purchases or tickets to events. You don’t necessarily have to be part of a very large group to get discounts. For instance, if you are thinking about enrolling your children in an activity like music lessons, ask if you can get a family discount for events at the facility.
Max out your savings.
Before you buy something online, do a Google search to see if there are any coupon codes available for purchases with the retailer. Many retailers will give you a discount or free shipping if you use these codes when your purchase reaches a certain amount. You can also save money by using a debit card or credit card that gives you cash back on purchases.
Look for sample sales.
These sales, at which manufacturers sell samples directly to the public, are especially popular in major cities and you can Google the term “sample sales” to get your name on mailing lists. You’ll have to put up with tight dressing rooms and no-return policies, but the bargains can’t be beat.
Consider outlet malls.
They have popped up everywhere—in suburbs, especially—and often offer stylish clothing and other goods at a fraction of the prices charged by name-brand stores.
Take action now.
Look through your budget, make a list of some planned purchases for which it may be worthwhile to do comparison shopping, and use an online search engine to hunt for the best price.
What's next? 10 ways to save money
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