This week's theme is really about saving you money. We all know to use coupons - my local grocery store allows me to store their coupons virtually. It helps us save money on things I may use this week or next. Still, what do we really know about coupons? When I shop at Target, I can usually get double-coupons (meaning I can use their store coupons AND a regular coupon on an item). I'm not as savvy as those women who run to CVS and actually come home with more money in their pockets than they left with (I also think that stores are catching on to this and making it harder to do). But I do shop for coupons at places like Coupon Mom, Coupons.com, and a few others. Yes, it IS shopping (it takes more time for me to find the coupon I want than it does for me to find something cute at H&M) but it saves me money.
Grocery shopping aside, I think it's time we start shopping for real stuff like pros. I know we can't always shop with coupons (like the time Craig and I found out we had bugs in our mattress - we bolted to the nearest mattress store and paid highly for a new mattress). But, when we know we're going to be shopping for things like shoes and clothes (our biggest impulse buys!!), it's important to stop, think, browse for deals, and then shop.
Browsing for deals can mean going online to your favorite online discount site (I like JoeShopping.com and RetailMeNot.com right now) - look for printable discounts for the stores you like and print out their coupons for when you want to go shopping. Think of it like this, pretty soon I'm going to need some new clothes - it's a planned thing for me and I'll have $200 to spend on it. I know I'm not a size 2, so stores like Forever 21, Express, and even the Gap aren't meant for me. Still, I have H&M, the Limited, and Macys that have clothes I like. I can go to one of the sites listed above, search for coupons at each store, print them out, then shop responsibly.
I plan out my shopping excursions. If I know I'm going to be in an area with an Old Navy, I'll bring an Old Navy coupon with me because there's a good chance one of us needs something from there. I also know to be realistic with coupons. Some of them are $25 off $75 or more. Am I going to spend $75 at Old Navy - probably not. Will I spend that at the Limited? You betcha and, if I play my cards right, I may only spend $50-60 on something there instead of $75-85. You should also read the fine print because that coupon may exclude clearance items or selected seasonal items.
Speaking of clearance, it's a great place to find stuff like tshirts and jeans that were from last season and will carry over to Summer 2013 but you may not get to wear them until them. Shop smartly - I don't shop for next Summer's clothes until next Summer. Why? Because that's about a year away and my fashion taste changes. I WILL shop for my son's clothes this way but not for my own. I prefer to shop clearance for things that are timeless - you know, things I KNOW won't be going out of style for a while. Two years ago, before we made a trip back to Detroit, I found a great coat on sale from $50 down to $20. In Israel, it was already hot as hell but I knew it would be cold in Detroit - so I bought it. I still have it, I still wear it, and I still get compliments on it.
I also plan this way:
By visualizing what I want to get, I have a better chance of sticking to my plan.
In short, here's what you need to do to save money when shopping at the mall:
- Be realistic about how much you want to spend - then set your budget
- Look for coupons/discounts
- Plan what you want to get and from where
- Don't forget to look in at clearance items once you're there
What are your tips for a successful shopping trip?