I've always been able to find a great bargain pretty much anywhere I go. My friends swear by shopping with me because I always have the best luck and finding the coolest items at an amazing price. So here are my 5 easy tips for being the best bargain shopper around!
1. Know What You Like
This seems like common sense, and it is. When I walk into a store, I know what I like. Knowing which patterns, colors, and styles you like will helps items stand out to you when you're browsing a clearance rack or sorting through a box at a garage sale. Right now, I really like chevron, damask, and striped
patterns and robin's egg blue, mustard yellow, and army green colors (not necessarily together)!
2. Make the Clearance Rack your BFF
I ALWAYS start out at the clearance rack (or if you shop online, the SALE page). Whether I'm at Kohl's, Target, or a high-end boutique, make the clearance rack your BFF. Once you're browsing around, your favorite colors and patterns will stand out to you and you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find from "last season" that will be perfect for your apartment or wardrobe! I was recently browsing at Walmart (in the men's section of all places) and found an adorable army patterned button-up that is perfect left unbuttoned as a light jacket. It was only $5 and compared to what I could have spent on a women's army jacket, it's JUST as cute!
3. Dread Goodwill and Garage Sales No More
If you prefer retail stores to buying used, it's time to branch out! You won't believe what you'll be able to find when you decide to stop at that neighborhood garage sale, or brave that often crowded Goodwill store. Did you know?? Goodwill carries leftover Target items that didn't sell from the clearance rack! I've found sandals, tops, picture frames, and colored pants that were brand-new from Target, but I bought them from Goodwill for a fraction of the cost! On certain days, different colored tags are 50% off, and the first Saturday of every month the entire store is 50% off (with some exceptions), how could you possibly beat that?!
Garage sales are truly hit-or-miss, I am usually only successful with them when I go and browse with nothing specific in mind. That way, if I come across an ugly coffee table, my mind is open to the possibility of painting or staining it, instead of getting my hopes up for something amazingly beautiful for cheap.
4. Get Creative
When you find something you like, but you wish it was a different color, or a different style, get your creative juices flowing!
When I first moved into our apartment, I needed a dresser and I had my heart set on a long black one. Everything I found was close to $200 and I just couldn't fathom spending that much (#bargainshopperprobz)!! I finally found the perfect sized dresser for $30 on a Facebook Yardsale page. It. Was. Ugly. It was made out of that pressed wood stuff, chipping, and the thin laminate coating was tearing off. BUT I HAD A VISION. I bought a few cans of spray paint and transformed it from "blahhh" to "AAAAH!" It's even better than the black one I originally wanted!
This isn't only applicable for furniture, you can easily do the same thing with clothing. So you find a great pair of jeans. "But I wanted shorts", you say.... simply cut them off to your perfect length and WAH-LA, shorts! You found a super cute pair of flats, but they look old and would be way better if they were black... Spray paint them!
5. Vow to Never Pay Full-Price
This is a bargain shopper's true secret. Now that I have a military ID, I'm always asking "Do you give a military discount?" and GUESS WHAT?? I've never been killed for asking, and most of the time, they do!
Here are some places that give military discounts:
- Burger King
- Chickfila (on Tuesday's)
- Cracker Barrel
- Olive Garden
- American Eagle
- Old Navy
- JoAnn Fabrics
If you're not in the military or a military spouse, you can also get coupons and discounts from store apps! Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's and Kohls have all of their coupons on their store apps- so no need to save your weekly ads (with some exceptions to those special "pull-off" coupons)! I simply download the app before I walk in the store, have the coupon pulled up at the check-out line, and delete the app when I leave (if you're not worried about using up space on your phone, by all means, keep the app- haha).
I recently learned about an app called RetailMeNot; it gives you coupons and discounts for stores and businesses near you! Simply download the app, create a little profile, and search the store you're at and see if there's a coupon you can use! Steven even uses it now, trust me, it's an app you'll never want to delete. I have noticed that it sometimes shows fewer deals than the actual store apps do, but if you're at a store that doesn't have it's own app, RetailMeNot is a great resource for deals!
So, what do you think? Are you feeling armed and dangerous and ready to take on your next shopping trip? It's my hope that these 5 bargain shopping tips help you feel prepared to find your best deal no matter what you're looking for. The possibilities are truly endless when you know what you like and are willing to get a bit creative.
The Hoosier Peach