Every year people spend thousands of dollars on shopping most of it going to clothing. Since the internet has made shopping more convenient for people it has become even easier to spend money. If you are a mother, a student or just anyone that enjoys shopping or needs to shop for their family but have to keep a close eye on your budget, there are ways to shop and save at the same time. I have worked in retail for over three years, my experience combined with the 30 plus years of knowledge from mothers and grandmothers have made me a smart shopper. I understand that most people do not have a bottomless checking account and everyone works hard for their money and that is why I want to share my secret with everyone.
The first thing to know is when to shop. Most people know to shop during holidays like before and after Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. But not many know that there are deals going on even when there are no holidays. If you have ever worked in retail before you will know that truck (for new merchandises) days typically come in during the middle of the week or close to the end of the week. Truck days for the middle of the week will be on Wednesday or Thursday and towards the weekend would be Friday or Saturday. Most department stores try to put out new merchandises before Saturday because it is their busiest day, it is the day when people are off of work and kids do not have school so they are out shopping. Why is this important to know? It is important because when new merchandises come in it normally means the old stuff goes on sale. Every two to three weeks department stores get new merchandises and they need to make room for the new stuff so they try to push out the old stuff by putting it on sale. By the time Saturday rolls around there will not be as many sizes and colors to choose from so figure out when truck days for your favorite department stores are and come back the next day or later in the day to get first pick. If you go back the next day do not be there too early because they might not have gotten the chance to put everything out instead go by around noon, about 12 or 1 p.m.
Another thing to look out for is seasonal stuff because when department stores get clothing for a new season, they will probably get the first batch in large amounts and they need to push out last season’s stuff. When I say season I do not just mean fashion wise, I am talking about clothing that is season and weather appropriate. During this process you will notice that the mark-downs are more significant than truck days, it will be anywhere from 30-50 percent off and when it is two weeks into the new season they will be marked down even further. You will notice this switch when you start seeing a section of the store that has clothing for the next season. The clothing style, fabric, texture and color will be different from the rest of the clothes in the store. You may wonder why you would want to buy clothes that are out of season. Shopping is not always about buying clothes for right here and now, especially if you want to save money, it is about planning ahead. For example, if you are buying winter clothes that have gone on sale right after Christmas you know you will not be needing it much longer but you will have plenty for next winter. See how that works? Of course there is a right way to go about doing this. Important rules to remember is that just because it is on sale does not mean you have to buy it. If you do not need it then do not buy it. Do not go crazy with designs and trendy pieces because you can not be sure that it will still be in style next winter, summer, spring or fall. The key is to pick out nice clean pieces that will work for years and can be easily updated with new accessories.
As mentioned above, most people know to shop during holidays especially major holidays. The big holidays to watch out for are Thanksgiving and Christmas because it is the time of year when people spend the most money. It is pretty obvious why people spend more during this time of year it is because Christmas is a gift giving holiday and because two of the biggest holidays are so close together. There will be some sort of sale going on all through November to December but the best time to shop is the weekend before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas and the day after these holidays. What is great about this time of year is that many department stores offer extra discounts on top of sale prices. How do you get these discounts? You get them by checking your newspaper for coupons, yes, coupons. More people use coupons for department stores than you may think and when you can pay next to nothing why not? Another way you can get added discounts is to get there early way before the store even opens. If you do this you will find that you are not alone because right after Thanksgiving and Christmas smart shoppers know to get there early so that they can be in front of the line. This is because many major department stores will open an hour early and hand out $20-$50 gift cards to the first hundred shoppers. A lady I use to work with did this every year right after Thanksgiving and Christmas and she would tell me how much she saved. She would tell me that she bought over $100 worth of stuff and only paid $5 out of pocket and sometimes she would even get money back.
Aside from holiday sales you can get great deals just about every day you just have to know where to look. Several stores do annual and semi-annual sales and on top of that they offer coupons for even more discounts in newspapers and online (which can be printed out). The best way to find out about these sales is to check the Sunday papers and sign up for newsletters with your favorite stores through their website. If you are a makeup person and shop at drugstores like Walgreens check out their monthly ads, you can get them in your Sunday paper or pick one up at your local store. Walgreens is always having a sale on something and they normally have a sale or special on cosmetics. Every so often they will have a sale on specific items (like mascara, lipstick, etc.) for every brand or a few brands or they will have a huge sale where every brand of cosmetic is on sale. The sale varies but what you want to look out for are the buy one get one free months because those happen less frequently. Do not forget to check out their monthly store ads for coupons or ask the beauty advisor if they have any coupons for items or brands you are buying. Coupons on top of sales can help bring down your total cost to half of what it would have been.
My last tip on how to save money is a fairly new concept to the rest of us but is pretty common in Hollywood. If you are a fashionista or just love handbags and designer clothing but can not afford it, why not try renting what you want? Sites like Borrow Designer Handbags and Bag Borrow or Steal allow people to rent or borrow designer handbags and jewelry all for a low monthly fee. The fee can be anywhere from $5 a month to $50 a month, either way it is much less expensive than buying one (which can be anywhere from $500 to over $1000). What is nice about renting instead of buying is that you can switch out handbags and jewelry as often as you like. You can have a Prada tote one week and the next you can be carrying Gucci. If celebrities borrow and rent designer gowns and jewelry for red carpet events why should you not apply the same concept to handbags?
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of how to shop and save you should not have any problems saving money and knowing when and where to look for deals. When others are spending hundreds of dollars while you only spend half that much for the same amount of stuff you can smile to yourself because you know something they do not know.