Ever meet someone that seems to have a knack for getting a bargain? Maybe they’ve magically gotten a whole new wardrobe but you know they barely opened their wallet. They always have a coupon, gift card, or some other trick up their sleeve. And now you will too.
1. While Shopping at Retail Locations
It can be hard to find a good deal at a retail store if you don’t know how or where to look. Sure, there’s the clearance rack and seasonal sales, but you can get a good deal anytime of the year.
2. Price Matching
First, remember that just because you’re in a store doesn’t mean you shouldn’t comparison shop.
This is easiest to do if you’re shopping with a particular product in mind, but sometimes possible while already in a store if your smartphone is handy. Many retailers price match competitors’ advertised prices so you should always double check the competition before paying. Some brick-and-mortar stores, such as Best Buy, Walmart, and Target, even price match items sold by Amazon.
The fine print can be tricky with these policies. One rule that’s always in place, you need to be sure the items are identical down to the model number. Some large stores even work with manufacturers to create retailer-specific models (meaning that product is never eligible for a price match). Even so, it’s worth checking, especially if the store matches online competitors.
3. Discounted Gift Cards
Ever get a gift card for your birthday or the holidays and have no intention of using it? You’re not alone. There are now businesses that buy unwanted gift cards at a discount and sell them below face value. You can often find these “used” gift cards for popular retailers like H&M and Walmart for 10-25% below the card’s value. Many are sold as e-gift cards that are emailed to you instantly and have a barcode that can be scanned right off your phone.
Gift Card Granny aggregates offerings from second-hand gift card marketplaces much like Kayak aggregates travel deals. Their mobile app for Android and iOS devices may come in handy. However, because Gift Card Granny doesn’t sell the cards directly, you’ll need to go to another website to make the purchase. It’s easiest to do this on the computer before you head to the store, but if you’re not sure which store you’re going to that’s not always an option. Raise and Cardpool have apps that make in-store purchases simple, and they sell discounted gift cards for hundreds of stores.
4. Last-Minute Coupons
Coupons are a common way to save and another app will help you in this department – Coupons.com. With it, you’re able to quickly browse through coupons you can use at over 50,000 stores. If you’re at the mall and not sure where to start, you can browse coupons based on your location or shopping categories. You can even save coupons for later and you’ll receive a notification if they’re set to expire soon.
Combine a price match or a discounted gift card with a coupon and stack the savings for a maximum discount!
5. While Shopping Online
Although the rules for price matching may vary slightly, the great thing about upping your frugal-shopping knowledge is that many of the offline tactics apply to shopping online as well. You can still buy discounted gift cards, use sites like Saveful to find online coupon or discount codes, and price match other stores. A few additional tactics can be used online though.
6. Free Shipping
The advantage of not having to leave the house, or even get dressed for that matter, may be costly if you have to pay for shipping. Many e-commerce stores offer free shipping once a minimum purchase price has been met. Amazon.com’s $35 threshold has led to the creation of “filler-item” websites that help you find inexpensive products if you’re just a bit short. On other sites, always search for a free-shipping coupon code.
If you have an American Express card you’re eligible for a free ShopRunner membership that comes with free 2-day shipping (no minimum order amount) on eligible products at over 75 online stores.
7. Comparison Shop
One of the great benefits of shopping online is that you’re able to easily comparison shop. There are many websites that’ll do the work for you. You simply search for a product and they’ll show you how much it costs at different stores. Although we’re a bit biased, we think Saveful is one of the better ones. We follow the tips in this article when we do our shopping, so we make sure that, in addition to the price, the shipping fees at each store are clearly displayed.
8. Abandon Your Cart
This is a hit-or-miss tactic depending on the retailer, but, if you have an account with a store, try leaving an item in your cart. If you wait a day or two, you may find a coupon code arrives in your email. Rather-Be-Shoppping has a list of 17 retailers that use this method to try and recover “abandoned shopping carts.”
9. Earn Cash Back
Unseen by most, online commerce primarily works through a referral system known as affiliate marketing. For example, if you visit a website that reviews a blender and then you click through to an online store and buy that blender, the first website is likely making a cut. This has led to the creation of cash-back shopping portals. These sites’ sole purpose is to take a cut for referring you to a retailer and to share a portion of it with you. Using these cash-back sites you can generally earn 3-10% back, sometimes up to 30% on high-margin items link ink and flowers. There are so many sites it’s hard to know which one offers you the biggest share, but CashbackHolic can help by showing you which cash-back site has the best deals for each retailer.