Good Deal or NO deal!

Good Deal or No Deal Introduction:

To truly get a good deal, you need patience, some smarts, and a little bit of luck!  Here are a few key ways to make sure that you really are getting a GOOD DEAL.

Rule #1: “Buy-one-Get-one” isn’t a deal-ESPECIALLY when you’re talking about clothes! Many stores (like Kohl’s, JCPenney, Sears) will have most or all of their clothing one sale all the time, meaning you never really pay MSRP (or the retailers ideal high price point) anyway-SO if you do the BOGO deal, they make you pay FULL MSRP (which is usually A LOT higher than you’d ever pay for that item!) For Example: I bought a shirt at Kohl’s the other day that was $4.80, but said it was 90% off, NO ONE ever would pay $48 for a plain, long-sleeved black shirt, but the MSRP is higher so they can put it “On Sale” and make you feel like you saved more.  Even with a BOGO deal, the shirts would have come out to $24 each, which isn’t a deal either! Don’t be tricked!-the “Buy-one-Get-one-Half-off” is the BIGGEST scam of all-for the same reason!

There are exceptions to this rule! There are some stores/items that you may never find on sale, but you have to be smart enough to know what these items are! For Example: I would NEVER pay full price for Sketchers shoes because most major department stores carry them, so if you wait until the right season, you can always find them on sale.  BUT It’s difficult to find speciality brands on sale because you can only get them at their store-like Stride Rite-they do have outlets, but it’s hard to find them most anywhere else and they are rarely on sale, so if that’s the only kind you can wear, you’ll just have to know, you’re probably going to pay a lot for shoes, which is OK because you’re saving so much money on everything else you buy!!

Rule #2: 50% off isn’t a deal!-I’m sure you’ve been to the store after a holiday or at the end of the season and seen people frantically searching shelves or racks and then you look up and see a “50% off” sign-This is where the patience comes in! After holidays most major retailers (Target, Sears, JCPenney, even Walmart) will begin to markdown their excess inventory in order to get it out the door! Most stores mark it down the day after (30% at Target, 50% at Walmart, JCP and Sears vary depending on the store).  By the end of the first week after that holiday, they almost always have everything that’s left marked down to 75% off, which is a MUCH better deal!

Rule #3: Plan Ahead for Holiday/Seasonal Sales! Referencing Rule #2-yes, shop for the next season/holiday right after the one that just happened! That’s the best way to save the most money.  If you need wrapping paper you’re much better off getting it after a holiday and holding on to it-I got Christmas wrapping paper for $1.25 a roll after Christmas, but would have paid $6 a roll before Christmas-then I just put it away until the next year and I’ve saved on that, so I can spend the extra buying real gifts for my friends and family, which is SO much better! I also buy Christmas paper that can be used all year-maybe red and white stripes, or something like that can save you when it comes to gift giving other times during the year too!

Stores also receive shipments of new items based on the season (this is true no matter where you live-even if it’s hot or cold all the time, they still rotate their inventory).  The retail seasons for most chain stores the seasonal shipments come in for Fall/Winter in August, for Spring in February, and for summer in March/April that means that this is when they put things on sale to make room for the new items! Obviously, the longer you wait, the better deal you’ll get, but also the less you’ll have to choose from, so if you know you need some more sweaters for next winter, start looking in the middle of February for those sales, etc.

Rule #4: Make Friends with the Sales Associates! For those of us who have worked in customer service, it’s always nice to have a customer who is friendly, kind, and not complaining, BE THAT CUSTOMER!! What I do is ask how their day is going or find a way to make conversation-then it usually comes around to the deals they have, when this topic comes up, just nicely ask when you think they are going to mark down the items again (So if they’re at 50% right now, you’d ask “oh, when do you think you’re going to be marking it down to 75%?) This will allow you to be one of the first people there when they do mark it all down again, giving you a better selection than others who don’t have the “inside scoop”!

Rule #5: Go Online! Although most stores will NOT match online sales, a lot of stores will have great deals online-the other thing that is helpful is that if it’s on sale online, that means it’s also on sale in the store, which means if you watch the website, you can be clued in to when the sales are not waste a trip hoping it’s the right time! I’ve also found that the store usually has more items/better deals then those listed on their webpage because each store is responsible for clearing their own inventory.

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