How to be a better bargain shopper

I’ve shared on the blog tips about making an investment purchase but I know that for the majority of shopping that I do, I want a deal. And if you are smart about when and where you shop, getting deals is not very hard.

I know when I first moved to Maine, I had three little ones under four and they were with me 24/7. I was trying to be smart about how we spent our money and so I was buying bread and other baked items at the bread outlet, bulk items at a warehouse store, specialty foods at Trader Joe’s and filling in the gaps at Wal-Mart or our local grocery store. It was exhausting and I realized that while it worked in the beginning when we didn’t really know anyone or have activities to fill our day, by the time we started making friends and filling our calendar it was just not sustainable. I definitely saved a little money but the effort didn’t make it worth it to continue shopping that way.

I think the same is true when you are shopping for clothes and other retail items. The places that have the best deals require that you visit the store regularly because inventory is unreliable and constantly changing. To feel like you always need to hit every place that you’ve found a deal is unrealistic and frustrating.

But don’t be too disheartened. I have tips. I think it’s safe to say that I love to shop more than most and I feel like I’m pretty good at it! But I cannot do it alone. My biggest tip is to find a group of friends who also love a good deal and get a little bit of a network going. It is a perfect way of staying on top of what’s out there without having to make yourself crazy looking for the deal! We all hit our favorite store on a semi-regular basis and if there’s a deal worth sharing, we pass along the deal.

Recently, I was on the hunt for some housing decor for our addition. We have a fantastic store locally that buys out inventory from other businesses (for various reasons) and while you never know what they are going to have, whatever is in store won’t last! I have a friend who is a loyal shopper to this particular store so she texted me when she was in and saw they had bought out an entire department store. I made it a priority to get there and got some fantastic deals on towels and a precious Kate Spade shower curtain for just pennies on the dollar (stay tuned for the addition reveal!)

Another friend alerted me to a boutique closeout earlier in the year at this same store. I got a pair each of Vince velvet and corduroy jeans – both for under $10 (retail for anywhere in the $200-400 range) and I scored a real fur coat for under $100. (Mine had been stolen in one of our moves and I was so excited to be able to replace it without breaking the budget!)

I also have a friend who hits Marshall’s and TJ Maxx on a regular basis and will text me if she sees something she thinks I’ll like. These stores are in your town too, I’m sure. If you can’t get to them frequently, find someone who can – odds are you have a friend who loves to pop in regularly. Ask her to keep you in the know for good deals!

And my particular go to is a consignment shop in town. I stop in whenever I have a few minutes and almost always see something worth sharing. And I’ve made use of online consignment as well. Facebook marketplace, Trendlee and Thredup are sites that I have both successfully bought and sold items on consignment.

Also, it’s obviously worth mentioning that shopping off season will always get you deals. Even though it’s hard to do, buying a winter coat in March, or a bathing suit in October is always a good idea. And January is a great month to find deals in retail stores. They want to move inventory out and are slashing prices, so if you are in the market for anything now is an excellent time to be shopping.

I know last week I was at the mall making a few returns and could not believe how great the deals were. In fact, I tried on a dress in the Lou & Grey section of Loft – it was the only one in the store and I loved it but it had an odd hemline. I took it to the counter to find out what the price was with the sale and even though it was sale priced at around $50, I scored it for $2.05!!! At that price, I’ll happily pay $10 to have the hemline adjusted – still such a great deal. I later found some great T’s in J.Crew for $4.99. Much lower than the price on the tag in the store. If you find something you like when a sale is going on, ask for a price check because often times the deal is even better than you thought. And if it’s not, just be ok walking away – there will always be deals to be had!

Where is your favorite place to score a deal? I want to know!




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