If you’re a broke college student like me, you are constantly looking for the best deals. However, I find that sometimes I start sacrificing the quality of the product for a cheaper price. Through extensive tests, and an ungodly amount of shopping, I have perfected the best way to ensure that I get the best deals every time I shop. These five steps will help you too!
Set a budget and make a list
One of the biggest reasons I tend to spend more than I should is because I don’t set a limit for myself. I just begin adding things into my cart and hope for the best, which is very dangerous for my wallet. By planning out these purchases in advance is can help you figure out how much you can afford to spend. With a budget in mind, be more intentional about what you buy. Write a list of the items you aim to purchase before you start shopping to avoid impulse buying. Sticking to the items on the list will prevent impulse buying and make it easier to follow your budget.
Shop at the right times
Believe it or not, there are many times in the year where you can spend less than normal. Think of the big holiday sales such as back-to-school, Labor Day, Black Friday sales. These are the perfect time to buy items because it’s signifying the end of one season into the next. Back-to-school sales are great if you’re looking for new clothing and office/business apparel. Many states in the U.S. also waive sales tax as well. Labor Day sales and Black Friday are also perfect for someone looking for a great deal.
It may seem obvious, but coupons can be your best friend. I know sometimes you can get to the register and don’t feel like pulling up the coupon on your phone and tell yourself you’ll use it next time, but never do. However, they can make a world of a difference. Get in the habit of searching for coupon codes every time you shop. Spending a minute or two on different sites could get you money off or free shipping on an order. There are also great (and might I add, free) browser extensions like Honey which can automatically check for the best price.
Rewards are something that a lot of people tend to overlook. I know the constant email can be annoying, but it can save you money in the long run. Nearly every store allows you to earn money, points, or other benefits, often on top of regular discounts, through rewards credit cards, retailer loyalty programs, and cash-back apps. Just be careful that the promise of a reward encourages you to buy things you don’t need.
Buy online and pick up in-store
When shopping online, shipping costs can be a big factor in spending more money than you need to. You can shop online and get your order the same day (possibly at a discount) without paying shipping costs. The only thing is that you have to make a trip to the store to go and pick it up. But curbside and in-store pickup options can be worth the minor inconvenience, especially when you consider the money you’ll save by spending less time near tempting displays.