Shop a Lot, Save a Lot: Money Saving Tips for The Shopping Obsessed

Shopping, like any other sport, requires technique, skill and good eye for talent. Okay, so maybe shopping isn’t exactly an Olympic sport (yet), but being smart about the way you go about it can make you feel like you’ve certainly won some kind of contest (and saved some big bucks!). Even the very best shoppers know that you must be quick, agile and sharp as a tack in order to find the best deals.

Here are some great ways to hop on those deals just in time to enhance that great summer wardrobe you’ve got (or will have soon thanks to some of these ideas!) Stretch, put on those shopping-flats and stick in the pump-up CD in the car – you’ve got a big day ahead of you. On your mark, get set…

Research
Spending a little extra time and doing some research on where you’re shopping and what you’re shopping for is better than spending a little extra money. Make sure you know what you’re supposed to be looking for. I’m not saying you have to sit down, read the Sunday paper and clip coupons religiously like your Aunt Carol, but be smart about it. For example, I have a separate email account I specifically set up for all of those “final sale!” emails I recieve at 4:28 am every morning. When it comes time to do some post-breakup, post-exam or even just post-lunch shopping, I know who’s got sales, when and where.

Ask Questions!
So… I’m a little bit of a J.Crew whore (and by a “little bit” I mean 95% of my wardrobe comes from that heavenly place…). However, I never knew some key info about my favorite place until I asked. Did you know all college students receive 15% off of every full price item? Or that their tortoise shell hair-clips are a life-time guarantee? (Yes… I have had to replace my clips a few too many times.) Or that they load up their new stock/put their old stuff on sale on Wednesdays? Don’t be afraid to ask sales associates questions, and don’t worry, there will always be a customer more asking more obnoxious questions than “when does this collection go on sale?”

Shop Around
I’m an impulse buyer. I buy things when I see them. That is until I went on Zappos.com one day and found my newly purchased pair of killer over-the-knee boots for 40 bucks less than I paid. I was so angry with myself, especially when I realized I was a mere 2 days past my return date! Zappos.com has 365 return policy, another punch in the stomach. Just knowing some basic policies and shopping around could’ve saved me, like, 12 coffees worth of money! That’s, like, three whole days of coffee and I’d have those same hot boots.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Sale Rack
I used to be the brat who always thought “there must be something wrong with it if it’s on sale.” Whether it was the color, the fit or the offender itself, I never gave those sale-rack-hidden-gems a second glance. With a little research and a three-year-long stint in retail I soon learned sale items oftentimes have nothing to do with their popularity or awesomeness. Sometimes it’s because you’re the lucky one who wears the obscure size shoe or sometimes it’s because the company has an incompetent buyer in that department who overstocked the dashing aqua backless top. Either way, don’t be afraid. Try it on. Buy it. Love it.

Do it With a Friend
Sounds a little risque right? Well don’t be afraid. Shopping with friends (well, the right ones) can be better than anything. Sometimes there’s that fantastic 4 for $25 sale and you only want two… buuuut your BFF wants two too! And – bam! – you guys both save. Not only can shopping with a friend be more exciting, but it can be more rewarding as well. Just make sure one of you keeps track of who has what receipts.

Long story short, spending a little more time while you shop in order to find those must-have sales can really save you some big ones in the long term. So get out there and save, my friends. Save away.

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