Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to get the REAL deals this holiday season

If I am known for anything, it's my ability to bargain shop. Once I walked out of Kohl's with a ten dollar gift card they had to give me because I had used so many coupons my total price was -$10. I got a seventy dollar pair of boots, two shirts, and a pair of sweatpants, for literally nothing. And the store gave me money.

Not a lie, guys. I'm really, really good at finding the best deals.

And here's one of my trade secrets. Black Friday? It's actually one of the worst days of the holiday season to find deals. Earlier in the Thanksgiving week, the markdowns are actually lower and unadvertised, and then marked up a little more with tons of press coverage so that the stores can make people think they're getting an awesome deal while still making tons of cash from all the crowds.

The best day to shop in November is really the day before Thanksgiving. The prices haven't been advertised so the stores can afford to do a bigger cut then, since they know there won't be a huge crowd. Bonus? The stores are practically empty, and you're almost guaranteed to find your size because everything is overstocked in preparation for Black Friday. So next year, save yourself a ton of cash and shop before Thanksgiving. Trust me, you'll be even happier about the deals.

Christmas time is even better for the deals. Two weeks before Christmas and the week after Christmas, the markdowns are at a really high percentage because the stores are trying to get rid of their old merchandise to make room for the shipments they'll be getting in January and February. January and February are awful months to shop. The prices are actually marked up from where they will be in March. When companies introduce new products, the price is higher than when the product has spent a little time on the market. NEVER buy something when it is first introduced. You will be guaranteed to lose money on it.

If you live in a college town where people tend to go away for spring break, stay in town! The stores know the schedule for all of the local schools' major breaks, and will mark down most heavily when they know a significant amount of their population will be out of town. They don't want the massive crowds to know about their markdown schedule, so they will arrange it in a way that saves them the most money. Shop during school breaks. You'll get really good prices.

Also, use coupons. Yes, even at clothing stores. Haven't you heard of Sometimes the coupons won't actually work (some of them are user created) but most of the time they work. And it's always worth a try. If the coupon doesn't work, don't act embarrassed. Act mad at the store. Usually, this approach can get you some type of discount. Hey, ten percent off is ten percent off.

Final tip of the day: This is the best time of year to go thrifting and find really good stuff, even current things you don't need to refashion. People are feeling giving because of the mood of the season, and also trying to make room for the presents they're sure to receive, so closet cleanouts and donations are happening left and right. Hit up Goodwill. Like, now. Trust me.

If you're still in doubt, try some of my tricks. Everyone who knows me knows I really am good at this. You can be too. Just try it!


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