Bargain Shopping Secrets
SIMPLE RULES OF BARGAIN SHOPPING
- Make a rule to never pay full price for anything. That’s our rule, we live by it and save a fortune.
- Ask yourself one simple question when contemplating a purchase: do I need this? Not: Do I want this? But: Do I need this? Repeat after me: DO I NEED THIS? If the answer is not a resounding YES – don’t buy it
- Planning is everything. A little thought put into what you need to purchase can save you from many an impulse buy. Know what you need. Then when you see it on sale – buy it
- Don’t go shopping just because there is a sale. Shop only if you have a purpose
- Go straight to the SALE/CLEARANCE section of a store or a website. Do NOT look at full priced stock. This way you don’t have the temptation to buy it
- Negotiate prices. Nobody advertises this (except Bing Lee), but a lot of retailers, large and small, are willing to reduce prices. You will be surprised at how many places will provide a discount just because you asked. Retailers like Harvey Norman, Bing Lee and Dick Smith are all happy to drop % off particularly if you buy more than one item (as we said earlier, make sure you need it though). See How To Bargain (coming soon)
- This may sound rather obvious but the best time to buy clothes is during the clearance sales in the opposite season.(eg: buy summer clothes at the end of summer, winter clothes at the end of winter). Case in point: a pair of perfectly good leather shoes purchased from Hype for $20, RRP - $169. This is a true story...
- Don’t keep a lot of cash in your wallet. It will stop the impulse buying of items you don’t need.
- Avoid extended warranties. Electrical goods are more reliable and cheap than ever. If your new radio won't last three years perhaps it's not worth buying in the first place. Or it was cheap enough to be replaced. Think about it: how many times has your fridge broken down in the last five years? Don’t buy it, unless the product in question is really expensive. Often shop assistants put you under pressure because they themselves are under instructions to up-sell customers to extended warranty and get commission for this.
HOW TO USE GROUP BUYING SITES AND DAILY DEALS LIKE A PRO
A variety of group buying and daily deal sites have sprung up all over the web. There are practically 100s of these websites around now, some international, some Australian.. The main ones that everyone knows are: Spreets, Living Social, Deals.com.AU, Scoopon. However there is a multitude of smaller, lesser known or more localised sites that deliver even better value for money.
The concept of a group buying site is that a retailer agrees to sell a voucher for a service or product at a steep discount as long as a previously specified number of people purchase the item. This benefits the retailer because the retailer is guaranteed multiple sales, albeit at lower prices
Group buying sites are great for us, shoppers, because you are able to purchase an item or service at a greatly reduced price. In general, you can expect at least 40% savings, sometimes up to 80%.
When used properly, these sites can save you a bucket load of $$$.
On the flip side - you may already be aware that this deal buying activity is extremely addictive. Who can resist the temptation of a bargain?
So we are here to tell you: think before you buy! Do you need this product or service? Will you use the voucher? Do you know if it actually is a good deal?
Here are a few simple tips to make your Daily Deals and Group Buying sites' experience trouble free and enjoyable:
- Read the fine print so you know what you’re getting:
- Find out the expiry date of the voucher. This is very important, we know of many cases where buyers did not realise that the voucher was valid only for 3 months. Look for vouchers that are valid for 6-12 months rather than a shorter period. It’s amazing how quickly the time flies and how quickly the voucher can expire!
- Check what days of the week the voucher is valid for and if there are any black out dates. Some accommodation, travel and even restaurant or beauty vouchers are valid only mid-week. You’d want to know this when making your buying decision.
- Travel and accommodation vouchers – contact the service provider (airline or hotel) to see if they have availability for the time you want to travel. Be sure to mention that you will be using the voucher. It's best to do this before you purchase the voucher to avoid disappointment if your travel times are limited.
- If it’s a restaurant voucher, find out how many vouchers can be used for each table.
- If you are looking at voucher for an online store visit the retailer’s website first.
- You need to get a feel for the true value of the product or item. For example, if a deal claiming that you will save 50% was offering a case of wine for $54, you’d think you were getting a real bargain at $4.50 a bottle, right? However if a quick visit to that retailer's website shows that the same wine retails at $4.50 a bottle, you'd feel kind of cheated, wouldn’t you? You need to ask yourself if this is a good deal before purchasing it.
- If it is a voucher for an online retailer, find out the shipping costs up front and if the deal can be used towards shipping.
- Don’t get caught with unused vouchers that are just about to expire! Design a simple filing system (don’t laugh, its serious business) where you keep your vouchers in chronological order or diarise expiry dates at least 1 month in advance of the expiry. Often service providers will not be able to fit you in on the last week of the vouchers life span.
- Of course, like with everything else, daily deals and group buys don’t always work out. A small percentage of vouchers don’t get fulfilled. This is often because the service provider/business has over-committed and sold more vouchers than they can service. In these cases the deals company will normally issue a refund. Some are better/faster than others and some are better communicators than others. In 99.9% of cases you will get your money back. In 0.1% of cases you will have to cut your losses and rationalise that the $ amount saved by using these deals, overall far outweighs the small amount you may have missed out on.
So, go forth our bargain seeking friends, use the deals to your advantage, have fun and share your experiences with others in Value Spotters' Think Tank.
And don’t forget to check out Value Spotters' best picks regularly!
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