Spending is part of everyday life, whether you like it or not – but that doesn’t mean you have to pay at full market value for the things you buy.
Nowadays, there are several ways to shave a little off the price tag of pretty much any type of item you want to purchase – from clothing and electronics to online memberships and mobile data plans.
Thanks to the simple hacks below, bargain shopping has never been easier.
1. The internet is your friend.
Popping into a store and browsing around can be good fun, especially if you love to shop – but the best deals are often found online. It’s simply because e-commerce sites don’t have the same expenses that brick-and-mortar stores have. If you see a great pair of shoes at the mall, pull out your phone and comparison shop before heading to the register … chances are you’ll save some cash by getting the exact same shoes delivered straight to your door instead.
2. Buy off-season.
At the end of every season, stores are desperate to clear out their inventory. This is a great time for savvy shoppers to stock up on things they might want. The savings are no joke, as some stores mark things down by up to 80%. This means that a swimsuit that cost $60 in July can be bought for just $12 in September. Let that sink in.
3. Save through social media.
A lot of businesses give special bargains to their followers on social media, or give you a discount if you tag them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. This is a really common marketing strategy, so it’s worth checking out the pages of retailers and vendors before buying.
4. … And email newsletters.
No one likes spam in their inbox, but subscribing to email newsletters can be a great way to get exclusive offers that you can’t get any other way. If you frequently shop at specific online stores that you love, it’s worth signing up for their email lists. You get notified when deals are active, and you can always unsubscribe whenever you want.
Receiving emails from several online retailers can be a little overwhelming, so savvy internet shoppers often sign up for email newsletters that gather numerous online deals in a single message – like the Voiced Market newsletter.
You can sign up for the Voiced Market newsletter here, and you’ll get alerts when new exclusive deals up to 95% off are released. The variety of offers is astounding, and you can almost always find something you need.
5. Thrift stores are gold mines.
If you think thrift stores are only full of old and outdated clothes, think again. You’d be amazed at how many people donate incredible pieces from their closet that still have the tags attached – including luxury branded items. The big names like Goodwill and Salvation Army, run 50% off sales every single day, usually based on a “color tag of the week.”
6. … And so is eBay.
The popular auction site can offer incredible deals, especially if you exploit typos for your benefit. For example, if you’re looking for a Burberry purse, try typing in ‘Burbery’ or ‘Burbarry.’ Chances are, you’ll get results. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have less competition when it comes to bidding. Even without typos, you can still get brand new items for a fraction of the price you’d pay in the store.
7. Clipping coupons is worth it.
If you’ve ever seen the show ‘Extreme Couponing,’ you know that coupons can bring serious savings. Although you probably don’t have the same amount of time to devote as the coupon fanatics on the show, you definitely have time to grab some deals online or in the Sunday paper.
Just be careful that you aren’t buying things you don’t need just because you have a coupon! Also, be aware that sometimes store brands are still cheaper than name brands, even if you have a coupon.
8. Bulk is best.
The reason that people join discount wholesale clubs is a simple one – the more you buy, the more you save. As long as you have space, stock up on household items when you visit such clubs. This not only saves you money, but also cuts down on trips to the supermarket.
9. Loyalty programs are everything.
Just about every supermarket and drugstore has a loyalty card that saves you money in the store and gives you access to special coupons. Many such supermarkets also have their own gas pumps, allowing you to save every time you fill up. Not joining these programs is like dumping money down the drain.
10. Promo codes are waiting to be found.
Bargain shopping pro tip: before you purchase something online, always do a quick search to see if there are any promo codes available. It might take a few minutes, and there’s a decent chance the code you find won’t work, but there’s also a chance it will. It’s worth looking.
11. Cash back credit cards are always a good idea.
Credit cards offer some amazing perks these days, including many which give you cash back for every purchase you make. Even if you have to pay full price for something, your credit card can give you part of the money back, which means you didn’t really pay full price after all. See a list of top cash back credit cards.
12. … And so are cash back apps.
There are plenty of apps that allow you to link your credit or debit card in order to get cash back savings at nationwide retailers. If you use these along with a cash back credit card, you can really maximize your savings.
13. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
When you’re making a major purchase, say for a refrigerator, you can often save tons of money by getting a ‘scratch & dent’ item. These items work perfectly fine, but they have a cosmetic blemish or two. But if the imperfect fridge cools your beer just as good as any other, does it really matter if there’s a scratch on it? Cover it up with a magnet and enjoy your savings.
14. Take advantage of ‘first time customer’ bonuses.
Many businesses try to lure new customers by offering a one-time discount to newbies. Always take advantage of these, and realize that sometimes it may be beneficial to try a new business (instead of your old standby) in order to get these savings.
15. … And birthday rewards.
Many retailers and restaurants like to know your birthday when you sign up for their newsletters or create an online account. This is generally because they’ll email you a coupon or a free offer when your special day rolls around. Sometimes it’s a free ice cream, other times it’s a free meal or discounted shipping. No matter what it is, take advantage of it and enjoy!
16. Sign up for automatic payments.
Some services, like cell phone providers and utility companies, give customers a discount if they sign up for automatic payments. There’s no reason not to do it, particularly as it also saves you from making late payments and incurring fees as a result.
17. Use third-party comparison websites.
Whether you’re looking to rent a car or book a flight, chances are you’re going to get a better deal by going through a third-party site and comparing prices, rather than heading straight to the website of your favorite airline or hotel chain. These bargain shopping sites are great because they give side-by-side price comparisons, making sure you get the best deal.