Stores are set up to make profit. Most of the time, that involves enticing you to make purchases you do not necessarily need at prices which are not necessarily the best prices. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s business after all. However, as a consumer, it is your duty to get the best value for your dollar.
Without getting fraudulent, here are 10 shopping tricks that could help you get top value.
Using free credit and paying it off on time
Stores sometimes offer free credit to regulars. The original idea is based on the expectation that you will buy beyond your means, and not be able to pay it off before the free credit runs out. But you can take advantage of this. Next time you see an offer of “6 months, no interest, no payments,” carefully plan your purchases. With all of your intended purchases carefully mapped out, take the plunge.
The next six months will tell whether this was a great deal or a bad one. You can take the original funds intended for this set of purchases and place it in a high yield savings account. Or, you could take your time to gather the money over 5.9 months. Either way, ensure you pay before it clocks 6 months and you would have used the store’s money for free. Keep in mind that interest rates can get killing should you miss the deadline.
Abandon online shopping baskets halfway to get a promo code
In their bid to ensure that you make a purchase before leaving, online order companies often send codes to those who seem to abandon their shopping halfway. While this is not a guarantee, it is strong enough to give it a try. Simply sign to your account, add some stuff into your shopping basket as though you are looking to make a purchase. And then, disappear from the site. Under 24 hours, you are likely to get an email that you have been noticed, and you could make your purchase at a specified discount, under certain terms. Now, use the code to make your purchase. Again, this isn’t a guarantee, but it’s worth a try.
Buy seasonal items during after season clearances
Retailers try to estimate how much of their items will be sold during the season. This is because a new trend might be more in vogue by the next season, reducing the re-sale ability of their current stock – if it remains. When they gauge consumer purchase poorly, they look to clear out their seasonal stock after the season. Their haste makes them drop prices to ridiculous levels. Take advantage of this and buy it when they sell it at cost or below during the clear out. Keep it in tact for the next season, and you do not have to worry about making any purchases then.
Seek out the best coupons
Sites like RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com essentially provide coupon codes for your purchases. But if you’ve used them quite well, you might notice that not all of these coupons work. If you feel too lazy to sieve through these coupons before any purchases, you can make the job a tad easier by installing browser extensions that track retail coupons and inform you of them, such as CouponFollow.com or GetHoney.com.
On the other hand, subscribing to certain newsletters might be an opportunity to receive regular news on unpublished coupon codes and private sales discounts. Certain brands give these codes to those who take the effort to follow them, sacrificing their personal data for these benefits. The trade-off is that you will receive constant future advertising. Be sure to only buy what you need as these offers of 40%, 30%, or even 50% off are designed to push you into reckless buying.
Cut costs on shipping
Shipping costs can often push your online purchases beyond your expected spend. Although retailers often offer free shipping, this is usually dependent on your ability to meet a certain price quota in a single purchase, quotas which they constantly increase. But you can skip shipping costs without meeting these quotas. Websites like FreeShipping.org provide codes from a bunch of retailers. Some retailers also offer free shipping if you make your purchase using their mobile app or if you join a loyalty program.
Avoid the lure of “buy 2 for $8”
Yes, these are discounts. But they are not just discounts. They are there to draw you into the purchase of more stuff which you don’t really need. If you have come for only one, and need only one unit, buy what you need and leave. It might cost you $5 to get one, against $8 for two, but that is what you need, and you have avoided gifting the retailer $3.