I’m a pretty odd shopper… I think. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m a cheapskate, but I do like to find deals on the things I need. I also don’t mind spending the time to find that deal, or even waiting for a better time to purchase something in particular. While I do get a feeling of satisfaction from spending less money, it also makes me feel a little masochistic. Why deprive myself of something to save a few bucks? When it comes to immediate needs, I bite the bullet. For other things, I take a different approach.
Honestly, it has become less about saving the money, and more about the little victory that I get when I find a deal. I’ll walk into a store, pick up an item, check out the price, mull it over for a minute… then usually say to myself, “I can do better than that.” That’s right store… you’re not the boss of me.
If I do decide there is something I really want, then I go to work. I look for competitor’s prices, coupons, coupon codes, try to find out when the next sale is… anything I can find to lower the price.
This brings me to my point of finding the right time to buy. I can think of so many times when my patience has paid off and I know I got a good deal…
- My basketball sneakers can hold up for a little while longer, so I’ll wait to see if the shoe store has another ‘friends & family’ coupon soon. Happened.
- I’d like this camera lens, but I don’t need it. So I’ll wait to see if a used one pops up on craigslist. Happened.
- I know what kind of jeans I like, and I want a new pair. So I’ll just wait for the next coupon that the store emails me every month. Happened.
Even as I write this, I know I’d like a new Winter coat. Something warm and waterproof for snowy days. Luckily, New England has been unseasonably warm and nearly snow-less thus far. So, this need hasn’t been urgent. It’s well known that February is one of the best times to shop for such an item, as retailers try to unload the old merchandise late in the season to make room for Spring apparel. So lately, if I happen to be out shopping, I’ve been checking out sales (both in store and online) while also searching for any available coupons. I’m not desperate, so I take my time.
Other seasonal examples:
- Buy a grill in Winter
- Buy summer clothing in Fall
- Buy sports apparel in the off-season
- Use holiday sales for yourself as well as gifts
Some of you may think this is bordering on “extreme couponing,” but it feels pretty typical to me. Would you pay full price for a pair of jeans if you thought they’d be on sale within a few weeks, or if you could get a coupon emailed to you from the retailer?
One last point…
This all basically becomes research and preparation. If I try a pair of sneakers on or find some jeans I like, it then becomes the waiting game. Is there a sale going on now? Did I get a coupon for them in my email? Maybe I’ll wait and see if I can do better.
I know what item I want. Now I can just take advantage of the deals as they come to me, and not flee to the stores looking for an excuse to spend money at a random sale. I’ll have something in particular in mind. Now it’s a planned purchase… and it’s smart.
So my advice is to wait whenever possible, sign up for retailer email lists, use the internet to search for coupons and coupon codes, and you can even ask the staff of the stores themselves if there are any upcoming sales.