I pride myself on being a pretty awesome bargain shopper and I love a good deal. While some things are worth a splurge, it's always nice to save money when you can! I wanted to share some of my favorite ways to save a few extra bucks and get the best deals.
There are so many stores that have rewards programs these days and most of those are free to sign up for. Some programs are definitely more rewarding than others, but my theory is that if it's free, why not join?!? Many stores that have programs that you do have to pay for do make it worth your money if you shop there often.
Sign up for e-mails.
I know that many people are hesitant to give out their e-mail address to stores, but being in the know about current sales and promos is worth it. I have one e-mail account that is almost exclusively for this kind of stuff. It's an account that is totally separate from my blogging stuff and my work account. Yes, I get a TON of messages each day, but I have made it a habit to only read the messages of stores that I am interested in purchasing something from. For example, I get messages from Bath & Body Works almost daily, but I only open them on days when I know I will be going there or when I know I need something. Otherwise, they go straight to the trash so that I avoid potential temptation.
I learned about Ebates a few years ago and was a bit skeptical, but this site is 100% legit. You can earn a percentage of cash back from your online purchases. To date I have received about $90 cash back! There are so many stores that work with Ebates and I really have found very few that aren't on there. They've also recently added a toolbar icon that notifies you when you can get cash back on a site that you are shopping on so that you don't miss out of deals.
If you'd like to join Ebates, you can click my referral link here! It's free to sign up and they typically send you a gift card with your first purchase through them!
Take time to compare prices.
If you have the time, take the opportunity to compare prices of items from store to store. I do a lot of "pre shopping" online to compare items that I am interested in. Not only does this sometimes eliminate the temptation to make an impulse buy, but it also can save you a lot of money!
Learn about special discounts.
As a teacher, there are so many discounts out there! Most of these are limited to shopping in store, but occasionally you can use these special discounts online. One of my favorites is J.Crew / J.Crew Factory's teacher discount because they let you stack it on top of other promos in store! There are also a lot of discounts out there for students and military, so do your research and see if you qualify for any special savings!
Learn the sale patterns.
Get to know the sale patterns at your favorite stores. I've learned a lot of this just from subscribing to e-mails. Most stores have a pretty consistent schedule for when they get in new items and when they do markdowns. Many sales also do semi-annual sales and this is a great time to stock up on items. I love B&BW's shower gels and hand soaps, so I usually stock up during their semi-annuals to cut down on trips throughout the year. Many times you can also get great deals on off-season items. I am known to snag Christmas gifts during the summer semi-annuals.
Make friends with the sales associates.
Maybe it's just my personality, but I love chatting it up with the sales associates at my favorite stores. I think I got this from my mom... She ended up inviting some of the girls from her favorite store to her wedding because she'd known them so long! It's fun to talk to people and get their input on items that you're considering purchasing. This ultimately led me to my part-time job at Aerie! Making friends at your favorite stores is a great way to be in the know and get some of the best deals. I've learned as both a shopper and a SA that being friendly gets you a long way! SA's will go the extra mile to help friendly and regular customers (even when they're not on commission).