Clothing,  Thrifting Tips

How to Snag a Great Deal No Matter Where You Shop

It’s a well-known fact that thrift store enthusiasts love a great deal. There’s a reason we spend our free time flipping through rack after rack of preloved garments! We don’t love sorting past those velvet Tweety Bird jumpers and sky-high shoulder pads, but when we land on that perfect designer piece for a steal, it’s worth it and actually gives us quite the rush.

Yet, let’s be honest. As thrilling and rewarding as thrifting is, it might not be realistic to assume that we’ll get every single piece of our wardrobe from our favorite local thrift store. There might be a time when we need a specific item that we just can’t seem to locate among the racks (corporate Christmas parties, anyone?) or maybe we’re just out and about with our friends and we want to indulge in a little retail therapy. It’s a scientific fact that shopping sends those good, happy chemicals, like dopamine, to our brains! Yet, there’s no reason to break the bank while doing so.

Today, we’re breaking down a few ways you can save money anywhere and score a great deal you shop, so you can walk away confident that you got a bargain.

1. Shop the sale section or wait.

This one is so obvious it’s almost a gimme, but let’s review it anyway. Start in the sale section! You know where these are located. They’re usually in the back or along the side wall, noted by a giant sign displaying their presence. Despite popular belief, these items aren’t total duds. Usually, they’re just seasonal pieces the store is swapping out to make room for new gear up front.

You know how shoppers always lament when shops start putting out swimsuits in the middle of February? That’s good news, actually! It means you can usually find perfectly appropriate and in-season sweaters in the markdown section for a steal.

If you’ve got your eye on a particular piece but don’t need it by any timeframe, wait. This is a trick my mother passed down to me and one I use quite frequently. At some point, almost every article will make it to the sale section. My mom’s favorite motto while shopping is “If you don’t need it, wait until it goes on sale.” Give it some time and chances are, that bohemian blouse you’ve been jonesing over will be 50% off at some point.

Of course, this applies to both brick-and-mortar shops as well as online e-commerce ones. Always start in the sale section or see if your store of choice has a similar site for lower-budget alternatives. For instance, even wedding retailer extraordinaire Rachel Simpson has an outlet site advertised on its main page.

2. Try to negotiate for a great deal.

You might think that just because you’re at an established department store, that all the prices are set in stone. However, that’s not always the case. If the item in question is cosmetically damaged in absolutely any way, take it to the cashier and ask for a discount. For instance, if you see a sweater you love but the stitching around the collar is loose, you may be able to work out a deal if you bring it to a salesperson’s attention. It’s always worth a check!

3. Check for coupons or loyal shopper discounts.

This is where it pays to do your homework. While you might not love the idea of flipping through stacks of store advertisements every week, you can save some major cash by doing so. Many will run flyers in the Sunday newspaper or periodically throughout the week.

Don’t subscribe to the paper? You’re in luck! Go ahead and sign up to be on the email list of any store that you visit on a regular basis, or any brand that you love. When the stores run sales, you’ll be one of the first to know. The same goes for your brands. Join their e-newsletter to stay abreast on any discounts or upcoming sales. Then, follow them on social media, as many brands will use those platforms to offer follower-only deals like discount codes that can make a big difference at checkout.

Many stores will also allow you to sign up for loyalty points that you can accrue to turn in for cash, discounts, or store credit. Check into this possibility at your favorite store or outlet!

This list should help you get started and be sure to check back here for more money-saving tips! The more prepared you are when you enter a store, the greater the likelihood that you’ll walk away with a full heart, full shopping cart– and fuller pockets.