Okay, I confess – I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I don’t think I’m at the point where I have to freeze my credit card but I have months where I have to avoid the malls or the shopping hot spots.
Come to think of it, I don’t have a credit card because my Dad is a banker for the past 40 years (not Monopoly style – real life) and I’ve heard tons of credit card horror stories, so I have resolved never to take a credit card – unless it’s desperate…not for Chanel bags or trips to French Polynesia.
Now, my kind of shopping is bargain shopping. I try to stretch my typical budget, as far as possible. Sometimes it results in a pair of pants and a top. Sometimes it’s two pairs of shoes. Other times it’s enough makeup for 6 months. In other words, less is not more.
I have bargain shopping in my genes. In fact, all the women in my family do. We do have our occasional splurges, but otherwise, most shopping is for bargains only.
Here are a few tips how to go bargain shopping.
1. Set a budget
I normally set a budget so that my eyes will spot items at that price or below only. This is a bit tricky if I’m in an expensive shop, so I usually avoid expensive shops unless I’m looking for something exclusive (note: splurge). Of course if you’re going to splurge, then don’t set a budget
2. Be patient
Sometimes I really like a piece in a particular shop that does not really justify its price. What do you do then? My suggestion is to be patient. Come back a few weeks (or a month) later. It might be on sale. This is a trick I use very often and it does work. I once drooled at a floral top in a shop. About 5 months later (I had decided that it probably wasn’t meant for me) I found it in a bargain bin at 10% of it’s original price. Score!
3. Pick up membership cards
A lot of stores have membership cards that let you accumulate points for your spending or sometimes even additional card member privileges (e.g. 20% storewide discount). I usually apply for these cards and keep them. You never know when they might come in handy. Of course these type of membership cards are double edged swords because you may receive updates via e-mail or mail that attempt to lure you to their stores. Be strong, my friends! [*cough* easier said than done]
4. Use the Internet
If you want something slightly more expensive, Internet shopping is one way of getting a bargain. E-bay, Amazon, etc. definitely helps me to find a bargain. I’ve picked up skin care products for a fraction of the price on E-bay.
5. Don’t be afraid of crowds
Now this is a bit of a challenge because getting stuck in crowds is not really pleasant. I remember my one an only Boxing Day experience in London (Christmas 2007) where my sister and I were outside a huge store at 6.30am in the morning. The crowd had not started there yet, until they opened the doors and I was very uncomfortable. Having lived in Oslo for almost a year then, I had gotten used to the lack of or reduced crowds in shops. The trick here is not to wear your nice stuff – don’t wear your nice watch or carry your favorite handbag or wear patent leather shoes that could get scuffed if someone stepped on your foot. That way you’ll be more at ease in a crowd. Also, don’t be afraid to ransack some of the bargain bins – you never know what you will find
I hope these tips come in handy for your next shopping adventure