Marked down 40%! ON SALE! TODAY ONLY! Prices slashed in half! Save 60%!
Is it something you need? Something you want and were planning to buy anyway? If not, save 100% and don't buy it! Use the money you would have spent for something you do need or want, whether or not it's "on sale."
How many times have you bought an item just because it was on sale? And then found you have no use for it? My mother used to buy shoes in the wrong size and clothes that didn't match anything in her wardrobe, just because they were too inexpensive to pass up. Money down the drain.
Some items are perpetually marked down. Some stores always have a CLEARANCE. Eye-catching end-of-aisle displays beckon you to BUY NOW! Get it at a steal! But sometimes the item is being sold at its regular price; it's just being marketed more prominently. Maybe the store got an extra-large shipment of that product this week and has to find a way to move it out.
Some companies have created a reputation for bargain prices. I have friends who only fly Southwest Airlines because "it's the cheapest." But not always. Sometimes they could have bought a ticket on a major carrier for the same price, with a better schedule and more amenities. But they didn't shop around. They just assumed whatever fare Southwest offered was the best they could do.
What about a "dollar store"? Everything is only a dollar! And you can get some great deals. But I've found canned goods there for a dollar that I could buy in a regular grocery store for 79 cents. Just because it's sold in the "dollar store" doesn't make it automatically a bargain.
My husband and I usually visit an outlet mall during the holiday season, aiming to fill holes in our wardrobe and whittle down our gift list at the same time. But I've noticed outlet malls don't always offer the lowest prices.
Warehouse stores such as Costco, Sam's, BJ's, etc., boast lower prices on many items—both big-ticket purchases and everyday necessities. But don't assume because a product is sold in a warehouse—or outlet mall, or other "discount" store—that it's the best deal. Sometimes an item can be purchased at your local grocery or department store for less, especially on sale and/or with a coupon. It's important to compare prices. Also, warehouse stores charge annual membership fees, so if you join, make sure you'll shop there enough to offset the cost. Before joining, visit with a member or ask a store employee if you can come in and have a look around, to determine whether a membership will benefit you.
Plan your purchases. Do some research about what things should cost. That way, when you see something you want "on sale" you'll know if it's truly a good buy.
What tips do you have for bargain shopping? I'd love to hear your comments.