This is a guest post by Mr. Credit Card of www.askmrcreditcard.com, a website on credit card offers and deals. Today, he is highlighting some of the money saving tips that has helped Mrs. Credit Card and him on their shopping trips. The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author (Mr. Credit Card).
1. Go to a sales tax free state – I live in Pennsylvania in the Delaware County. State of Delaware is just a 30 minute drive away for me. Whenever there is a big ticket item to be purchased, Mrs. Credit Card and I consider if we should drive to Delaware where there is no sales tax. We have done so for things like buying wine and alcohol beverage for a party where the savings can be substantial. If you are looking to buy an Apple computer, such a trip would be worth it because it could mean a 6% savings just on sales tax. [editor's edit: as comments have pointed out, this practice may be illegal / unethical. Follow your conscience (and the law) in this matter].
2. Get store employees to get discount – This is one of our favorite techniques to save money. For example, we presently know someone who works in Macy’s in Delaware. She is able to get discounts as a staff employee, on top of current sale prices. For example, a kids size North Face Denali Jacket was priced at $84.99 and there is an additional 50% off. With her employee discount, she got my son a toasty jacket at a cool $30! Beat that! [editor's edit: when I worked at a clothing retailer in high school, employees were given 50% discount for themselves and 30% discount for their friends and families. I assume Mr. Credit Card is referring to the above situation. Obviously, if using discounts for any friend is against the rules, it's not so nice to ask your friend to risk their jobs for you.]
3. Buy kids size if you are petite – Mrs. Credit Card is rather petite. So she finds it hard to shop at regular stores. Very often, she finds stuff at the kids sections. For some reason, a kids size clothing may be the identical size as an adult XS but cost substantially less. One example is the North Face Denali fleece jacket that Mrs. Credit Card has. The XS in the adult section is exactly the same size as the Large for kids. Yet the one in the kids section is cheaper! So if you are petite, you could potentially save money simply because of your size. Check the kid section and not just XS in the adult section.
4. Make use of student discounts – Many stores give discounts for students. I recently got an Apple laptop (the MacBook Pro). I got a friend’s girlfriend to product her student ID and I got discounts on the computer and the Apple Care Protection warranty. Funny thing was I was advised to do so by the people at Apple! The catch was that this student could not use her student ID to get any discounts from Apple for one year. There are lots of places that give discounts if you can produce a student ID card (never throw them away!). Make use of them cos the savings you can get are quite good.
5. Make use of business discounts – Many stores also give discounts for business or bulk purchases, especially in electronics. If you are going to buy a high priced item, check if the store gives business discount. I know for a fact that Apple gives a discount for business purchases over $5,000 dollars. Some stores may require that you get a store credit card to get a discount. If the savings is large enough, then it might not be such a bad idea. Always ask. You’ll be surprised with how you can save money shopping.
6. Make use of credit card shopping portal – This is one of the money saving tips that nobody really talks about – a hidden gem, if you will. Many credit cards (Chase Freedom, Discover, Citi mtvU) have introduced online shopping portals. If you log into your account and go to the online retailers site via your credit card account and use the card, you could get cash rebates and discounts. They range from 2% to as high as 20%. This could really add up to quite a bit. Using the Apple computer as an example, you could shop at apple.com through your Discover account and earn 5% rebates. Plus you could also make use of your student or business discount. That is what I would call “discount stacking”! Just like coupon stacking! These portals also allow you to save at places like Lands Ends, Best Buy, Overstock etc. When you shop this way when they are giving away free shipping, the savings and convenience really adds up. Aside from using shopping portals, simply using cash back rewards credit cards will already save you money via cash rebates.
7. Use credit card warranties and protection – Most credit card companies offer some form of protection and insurance when you use their card for your purchases. For example, you could get a product loss or accidental damage protection for up to 90 days. You could also get extended warranty feature. This can save you some money from purchasing additional warranty. All of the cards out there, American Express credit cards probably have the best warranty feature.
8. Look out for deals and coupons – I’ve used coupons at grocery stores and other retailers. Supercuts is giving $2 discount for any haircut (equal $6 for 3 kids) and 20% off additional services. Another coupon is $5 off total bill for party of 2 or more and $10 off total bill for party of 4 or more at a local restaurant. Although we hardly eat at McDonald’s, those coupons can also shave your bill into half easily. Bed Bath and Beyond also has an ongoing 20% discount off any purchase (any amount and even applies to Sale & Clearance items) and they always accept expired coupons. I always keep them when they come in the mail as they come in handy.
9. Shop in outlets – My guess is there is probably one near you within an hour drive. It’s not a shopping trip you want to make every week. However, one trip every 3 to 6 months can save you money and keep you in style. Also, time your trip during their “sales” period and you’ll save even more. Most of the stores have additional discounts in January and July. Call ahead and find out. Mrs CC once bought the cutest pair of Disney sandals for our little girl for less than $3 and Levi jeans for the kids for $4 a pair. Insane. If you are into designer brands, even Uggs, North Face, Under Armor, Gucci, Prada (the list goes on) are in the outlets. Check out www.outletbound.com.
These are our money saving shopping tips. Leave your tips in the comments below.
image source: wikipedia.org