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Who doesn’t like a bargain? Maybe you’re looking for a special birthday gift for your spouse or kids, or you need a great Christmas present. Or maybe you just like to shop for bargains!

Whatever the case, if you’re a dedicated to saving money and not paying the list price for items, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help you find the top tips for finding the best bargains.

Make a Plan

Whether you’re Christmas shopping, birthday shopping or need some clothes for a business trip, having a plan will help you on track, and avoid becoming overwhelmed by the number of products and items available. Start by making a list of what you need and stick to this list to avoid making unnecessary purchases.

Next, create a budget. You’ll need to have an idea of how much you can spend, otherwise you may be tempted to pay the retail price. Try to pay cash when possible or use your debit and credit cards responsibly. By this we mean if you choose to pay with a card, then make sure you have a plan on how to pay that item off, without incurring expensive interest payments.

For instance, that beautiful winter coat you want could be at the best price of the season. However, if you pay for it with your credit card, and then pay the coat off over the next 12-18 months, the bargain will soon become more expensive. The interest rates you’ll be paying on the purchase will quickly raise the price and you could end up paying even more than the retail price of that coat. Use credit responsibly and have a plan to pay off the purchase as soon as possible to avoid paying expensive interest rates.

With your list and the plan on how to pay for your purchases, you’ll next need to plan on where to find the item. Questions to ask:

  • What stores carry the item you want?
  • What are their retail prices on that specific item?

This leads us to the next important step in bargain hunting—doing your research.

Research

The first step to find the best bargain on anything is to start by doing your research. Before you can do that, you’ll need to find the current retail price on the item or product you’re considering. This will help you know when you’ve spotted the best bargain on anything from a trip, a car, clothes, electronics, etc.

It’s always a good idea to research different models and compare their features and read through consumer reviews. When reading through reviews, be sure to read some of the negative reviews, too. This way you’ll learn about possible problems and other issues customers have experienced. It could help you avoid making a costly mistake and avoid buying something that’s not suitable.

Use Apps, Discount Codes & Coupons

Our smartphones can do so many wonderful things—including saving us money! Check out shopping iOS and Android apps that bring special offers, discount codes and coupons right to your phone. You’ll be able to quickly and easily maximize savings on store offers, be alerted to early bird sales and more.

You’ll also find some apps that help you with comparison shopping. Just type in the item or product you’re interested in, then hit “search.” The app then searches for the best prices in your area, making it fast and easy to spot bargains on the go.

Shopping at the Store

When you’re shopping at the store and see all the markdowns on clothing and other items, there’s a tendency to run over and check out the sale prices. This is OK, but remember that just because it’s marked down, doesn’t mean the item is worth the sale price.

Before you make that purchase, consider the item. For clothing, is in the size you need? Is the color something you’d wear? Is it damaged—does it have any tears, or stains? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, it’s probably best to pass on that particular piece of clothing.

Use this same logic for anything you’re looking to buy. If the sale price is too good to be true, then pass by. Not everything being sold at a bargain is actually a money-saving purchase.

Bulk Purchases—Do They Save Money?

When buying groceries, you may be tempted into thinking that bulk purchases save money. But is this always true? No, but with a little research and strategy, you can save money when buying in bulk.

Buying in bulk is best for things you need on a regular basis, such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. The same applies when it comes to purchasing non-perishable food items. If it’s something you and your family use on a regular basis, it probably is a good buy.

However, always check the price per unit on whatever items you’d like to buy in bulk. These prices are usually listed by the retailers—you may find the information listed on a label on the shelf under the item. If the unit price of the bulk item is lower than the normal price, then this is a good buy. If the price per unit is higher than the usual price, pass up the item for something else.

When buying perishable items in bulk, make sure you’ll use them up before their expiration date. If the food spoils and you end up throwing it away, then that’s like throwing money in the garbage. Consider freezing the food items, including fresh meat, butter, some fruits and vegetables, etc. Have enough space to store these until you’re ready to use them, and you’ll save money buying these products in bulk.

With the right strategies, you can become a successful bargain hunter! It literally pays to have a plan and a budget, then use comparison shopping apps, ads, coupons, and other discounts to find the best prices on the products you need. We wish you many wonderful bargains and successful shopping trips!