Now, I’m inclined to believe that the tendency and passion for bargain-hunting is genetic. Here’s why: As young girl, I always had a love for shopping. For new clothes, shoes, makeup and such. (Hence my rabid amour for we heart this!) But I never really understood that prices are but merely a suggestion. Why my mother should think things were too expensive was beyond me – the price was the price – and if you wanted something that’s what you had to pay, right? Well eventually my bargain-hunting genes blossomed and I daresay I am a better one today than my mother ever was! However, I believe the skill can be taught – we can all train ourselves to search for the best price out there. So I want to share with you some of my favorite tricks for finding good deals.
My basic, big-three tips for the bargain hunter are as follows:
• Research, research, research.
You have to know what makes a bargain and what does not! True story: two days ago I was in TJ Maxx for some payday fun. I was poring through the clearance racks (you can find some real gems there). They had a whole bunch of designer jeans in the clearance rack (think J. Brand, Joe’s Jeans, Rock & Republic), all priced between $50-$70. Two women nearby were exclaiming how $60 for a pair of jeans was ludicrous! I wanted to yell, “But $60 for a pair of jeans that would cost you $174 at Nordstrom IS a bargain!”
These shoppers didn’t care or know the difference; which is what I urge of you! Be aware of the good quality, big name brands and the latest trends to watch for in the racks. And know that a great name (or the latest cuts/styles/colors) doesn’t always work on everybody. However, if you know which line of jeans makes your butt look like a million bucks, then you know when to grab a great priced pair of demin. Same goes for well made, timeless pieces (even out of season) in hues that always flatter you; get it while you can, you will wear it later. As for seasonal trends, just be aware of their limited time appeal and budget accordingly (meaning the trendier pieces should be the smallest portion of your shopping budget).
Also, buy off season. Have your heart set on a collection of Christmas decorations or table setting? There are some unique finds to be had in January and February! Same idea if your looking for a cashmere sweater (buy in late spring) or patio furniture (early fall) – snap up big savings by buying just when the item goes out of season – stores need to clear their shelves for new arrivals and you will pocket the savings!
If you have your eye on a pair of jeans, or new bedding for your guest room, or whatever you are jonsing for next: take some time to first think of the ideal. What you would buy—and still love—if money were no object. How much does this ideal item cost? Now get on the internet (or start searching the aisles) and see if you can do better!
• Location, Location, Location.
You have to know where to shop for what!
Housewares: Tuesday Morning, TJMaxx, Marshalls, Ross, Overstock.com, plus the Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn outlet stores (We grew up in one of the Outlet Capitols – Reading, PA, and strongly agree, Outlets are where the shopping bargins are at! ~ Stef & Tyna)
Gifts: Shop for gifts in odd places. Who doesn’t love an antique/thrift store or craft mall?! Or the fun housewares section of the grocery store? Don’t forget good old Etsy, not only for unique, handcrafted, bargains but for it’s well-edited selection of vintage wares.
The other trick to discount stores, especially places like Ross or TJ Maxx is that each location has something a little different, so it is often worth your while to go to two or three different locations in your area to see the variations in stock.
Plus be friendly with the sales associates – a little kindness and a smile can go a long way! Ask when they receive their shipments and when it is usually processed and out on the floor for sale – so you can arrive early and get the best pick!
• Supplement, supplement, supplement.
You can always add on to your savings. Scour the weekend newspaper for coupons and sales and promotion notifications. Sign up for the retailers e-mail list to find out when the sales start. Places like Hobby Lobby have 30% off this or 50% of that every week. Just watch for their circular in the paper or in your mailbox so you can might be able to wait out your heart’s desire at a steal-worthy price.
Cosmetics connoisseur, France fanatic, great gal; this post was brought to you by wht member and friend, Katie.