One of the best ways to save money in-store or online is to shop off season. When you find a great sale on something, think ahead if any of the sale items would be a good fit for Christmas presents or an upcoming birthday. Holiday decorations in particular can go up to 90% the week after the holiday passes. Snatch up the mega-discounted holiday items, store them away, and next year you'll have all of the supplies you need! The same idea applies to items that you use frequently. If you know that you always buy the same brand of shampoo, and that brand has a 75% off sale, take the time to stock up and buy three or four bottles. That way, when you inevitably run out, you won't have to pay full price!
Ebates is one of my favorite things in the entire world. If you do ANY amount of online shopping, you need to sign up immediately. Ebates is a free online service that provides you with up-to-date coupon stores for tons of online retailers PLUS you get a percentage of your money back via electronic rebate or ebate. Simply sign-up for a free account, search for your favorite store, click through the link, and you've created a tracking code for that website. Each quarter, you'll receive a check or PayPal payment (your choice) for all of your online purchases through Ebates. Over the holidays, there are great promotions like 10% or more back on your order, so definitely sign up now!
E-Mail Newsletters / Mailing Lists
Ok, so I'll admit that email newsletters can be a little annoying, but they do help you keep track of sales and promotions! I'd recommend creating an alternate email address if you don't want to clutter your main email inbox. Take a few minutes to sign up for the email newsletter or physical mailing list of your favorite stores. Once or twice a week, check your alternate email address and scan for any sales that you're interested in. In addition to advertising the latest information on sales, newsletters and mailing lists often send out coupons for free products or additional discounts. Victoria's Secret and Bath and Body Works in particular tend to send out lots of free item coupons!
Coupons / Coupon Codes
Many stores provide physical coupons in the weekly newspaper, on their website, or in store. I like to put all of the store coupons I receive in a slim pouch or envelope in my purse. That way, I always have the coupons that I need with me. In addition, most online retailers have some sort of coupon code going on whether it's for free shipping or a percentage or dollar amount off your order. I recommend using Ebates or RetailMeNot to find the latest coupon codes for your online shopping. Look on the store's website to see if they have any printable coupons too. Target always has coupons to print on their website, and they can be combined with manufacturer coupons for even more savings!
I don't recommend paying for store discount cards, but many stores such as Sephora, Ulta, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Urban Outfitters, and American Eagle offer free loyalty reward cards that provide you with coupons or gift certificate when you purchase items from their store.
Ask For A Discount
I sound like a crazy person, right? I know it sounds crazy, but I always ask sales associates in stores if there are any sales or special promotions going on. Most of the time they'll point you towards the clearance section or remind you about a promotion, but oftentimes that are unadvertised discounts. Many stores give discounts for students or military members/veterans, and most stores will give you a discount when purchasing floor items or slightly damaged items. Some stores, such as furniture retailers, will often times give you a discount based on your total order amount. The worst thing they can say is no, so why not ask?
Be Friendly With The Store Associates
If you frequent a certain store, ask to be added to the store's promotional list. Many stores will call, text, or email you about special events, in-store promotions, or new shipments! Also, sometimes I've had friendly store associates point out hidden clearance sections or get additional items for me from the back simply because I was friendly!
Take Advantage of Free Shipping
I always take advantage of sites that offer free shipping. Online shopping allows you to find amazing deals without having to deal with the crowds, and if you can get the items shipped for free it's an even better deal!
Stack All Of Your Discounts Together
Don't be afraid to stack all of your discounts together. I guarantee you that most people will be impressed- not annoyed- with your savings! If you're shopping online, start your order through Ebates to guarantee a certain percentage of money back. Then combine coupon codes/promotions with the retailer's sale and clearance section. Next, try to qualify for free shipping! With all of these discount combined, you'll be able to get your holiday shopping done for at least half price.
Brag About Your Savings And Share Your Secrets!
It's so easy to save money online, and it's definitely worth the effort! Now that you know the secrets to savvy online shopping, I hope that you'll be able to score some amazing deals for the holidays!