Early January, the time of year when everyone makes a resolution to get in shape, eat better, and perhaps stop a bad habit or two. But what about the bad habit of paying full price when shopping? It doesn’t get much press attention but over the course of a year it can lead to some pretty hefty over-spending. So today I offer the unconventional New Year’s resolution of becoming a savvy bargain hunter and non-full price paying consumer in 2014. Here are 5 easy to use tips to get you started in the right direction.
Use Store Price Match Policies
In recent years many big-name stores have been instituting very favorable price match policies. Some, like The Home Depot and Lowe’s are even guaranteeing to beat competitor pricing by 10%. Get well acquainted with the price matching policies at your favorite stores in 2014 and you’ll save significant money, especially on larger purchases.
Also look for the new trend that seems to be gaining traction of brick and mortar stores matching online pricing as well. Best Buy, for example, will now price match the likes of Amazon.com, Staples.com, Dell.com, and Crutchfield.com. The key is to do your homework before you set foot in the store and use your research findings when approaching a sales associates and asking for a price match discount.
Get Coupon Alerts
Learn to be a smart couponer in 2014 and use technology to your advantage by having pre-selected online coupons sent directly to your email inbox. Just sign up for free Coupon Alerts at Rather-Be-Shopping.com and pick your favorite stores and categories. Once a coupon is added to our database for one your favorites you’ll get an email letting you know about it. It is a great way to stay informed of store offerings and allows you to only make purchases when you have a money saving coupon code in hand.
Learn to Stack Coupons
Get in the know in 2014 concerning which retailers allow you to stack coupons in order to maximize your savings. For example, were you aware that Kohl’s allows you to stack a percent off coupon with a dollar off coupon on the same transaction? Similarly, Target stores allow you to use 1 manufacturer’s coupon, 1 Target store coupon, and 1 Cartwheel offer on each item in your purchase. These two examples are just the tip of the coupon stacking iceberg. A good place to learn more is to read an article I recently wrote titled Maximize Savings: Which Retailers Let You Stack Coupons which details the most prominent stores that allow you to stack or combine coupons.
Crack the Price Tag Code
The next time you are shopping at Costco and you see the price of an item ends in .97 and has an asterisk in the upper right hand corner of the price tag, don’t ignore it, it actually means something. In Costco’s case, it means the product is being discontinued and is a great value and a final markdown price. Other stores have similar internal pricing systems in place that let you know if you’re getting a great deal or not. For example, did you know that a price ending in .04 at Target is the cheapest price you’re ever going find on that item? Check out all of the retailer’s where this strategy works by reading Retailer’s Big Secret: Crack the Price Tag Code.
Use Live Chat When All Else Fails
If you’re shopping online in 2104 and can’t find an online coupon or discount for a particular store, and seem destined to pay full price, don’t fret as I have one final tip for you. Hit up a live chat customer service operator that many retail websites employ these days and politely ask them if they have a free shipping coupon or percent off coupon for you to take advantage of. A large majority of live chat employees are given coupon codes to hand out to those who ask. An excellent way to broach the subject is to type something along the lines of, “I really love this item but the price is a little high, especially when I factor in shipping costs, would you by chance have a coupon to help me out today?” You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. The worst they can say is “No” which means you just wait until a coupon for that particular store arrives via the Coupon Alerts that you already signed up for. You did sign up already, right?
Kyle James lives in Redding with his wife and 3 kids. His online business, Rather-Be-Shopping.com, specializes in online and printable coupons to over 800 national retailers and since 2001 has been featured in the New York Times, The Today Show, and Reader’s Digest to name a few.