There’s nothing that I love more than a good deal, or as my dad and step-mom would say, “a screamin’ deal,” which refers to something that is offered at such a low price that it’s worth screaming with excitement over. Okay, maybe you won’t break in to a full-blown shriek at the dress or shirt rack, but it’s a purchase worth making, and one you can feel good about. We all know the difference between a goldmine purchase and a regrettable one, especially in this economy. The shopper’s general goal is to limit buyer’s remorse, spare the wallet, and come home happy.
Here are my tips on how to buy a lot for a little when you shop for clothes…
Know the Local Store Stock
The first and most important aspect to getting a good deal on your purchase is to know the current stock of all the stores you frequently buy from. This means lots and lots of window shopping without spending.
Make weekly, or thereabouts, trips to your favorite shops while you’re out running other errands (this will spare you a separate shopping trip). Browse and check out deals, sales, and stock.
Check the Local Papers
Coupons and Sale inserts:
The local papers are one of your best shopping assets when doing physical shopping, as opposed to online shopping. Check the inserts (you know the middle section of the paper you initially toss as unnecessary trash), these will let you know of all the local sales and deals on the stores in your area. Save the coupons that apply to you and keep them handy for when you’re ready to do some spending.
Classified Ads: Garage, Estate Sales, and Freebies
I check the classified ad section every time I buy the paper; there are all kinds of estate, garage, and yard sales listed, not to mention freebies. You’ll occasionally see things like: “Moving and need to give away trunk of clothes. Free to anyone who can come and pick up today by 3 pm.” You don’t want to miss these kinds of deals when they happen. Of course, you’ll want to take the time to call the contact and get specific details about the item first and carefully check out the quality of the product.
Garage and yard sales are important to always keep an eye on; you can also spot these via signage while out on the road. Estate sales are perhaps the most beneficial of the three types of sales. Estate sales often have incredibly discounted prices on high quality items and there is always tons of varied selection.
Don’t miss any of those opportunities if you’re looking to buy more and spend less.
Don’t Buy Too Quickly, Check the Competitors
If you find an item that you want at one store, check at comparable stores to be sure it’s the best price available. There’s nothing worse than buying a coat at Macy’s for $150 and seeing the same coat for $100 at Marshall’s.
Remember the Online Stores
When you need something sometimes it’s easy to forget about the online options available, online stores sometimes offer better bargains than the local stores. Online shopping sites like Overstock, Etsy, and eBay, are good ones to check every so often.
Make Use of Online Community Resource Sites
Three favorites of mine are Freecycle.org, Craigslist.org, and TheBudgetFashionista.com.
Freecycle is an online bartering site; a user will offer a product or service either completely free of charge, or for the exchange of another product or service needed. I have a friend who scored a free canoe through Freecycle!
Craigslist, offers a wide array of options from freebies, to low-cost items and exchanges. I have seen many a good deal offered here, have a number of friends who have gotten great deals on home furnishings, and even cars; I myself have landed a number of jobs through the site.
Budget Fashionista’s blog is also a valuable resource for fashionistas looking for discounts on women’s clothing and cosmetics. The Budget Fashionista offers continuous updates on stores across the U.S. so you can stay informed on when and where to shop to get the most bang for your buck.
The three sites above should definitely be on a bargain shopper’s awareness screen.
Know Your Consignment and Thrift Shops Well
Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Ollie’s, Southern States, and all other local consignment shops in your area are great bargain spots. These stores, unlike chain stores, have limited stock and you’ll need to keep a close eye on when their shipments come in and if they have specific designated weekly sale/discount days. Goodwill for instance, offers all items at 50% off on Sundays, I often wonder why anyone would shop there on any other day, but perhaps some don’t pay attention to the sign on the door. With stores such as Goodwill you can also run into issues of slightly varying prices as well as selection quality depending on which location you shop in. I don’t tend to shop at my local downtown Goodwill because I know I’m not going to get the wide stock selection that I get at the Goodwill on the edge of town, or the price break for that matter.
Keep in mind your Outlet Malls as well when shopping because these stores can frequently offer comparable deals to those you might find at a consignment shop, the key is just biding your time for the right price and keeping your eyes and ears open for the sale/discount dates.
If you keep all of the tips mentioned here in mind when you’re shopping; you’ll be sure to find a “screamin’ deal” you can be happy with.
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