11 Tips to Shopping a Sale


Just because something is on sale, doesn’t make it less fashionable.

Fourth of July weekend is almost here! And of course in the retail world, that means numerous sales. However, shopping these “sales” can sometimes get you in trouble and have you spending a lot more money than you normally would. If you plan to shop this weekend, I have 11 tips to help you shop savvy and score big without breaking the bank.

  1. Make a List
    • If you haven’t gone through your closet in a while, now is the perfect time. Get rid of clothes that don’t fit, clothes you don’t wear and/or are out of style and clothes that aren’t in good condition. For tips on cleaning out your closet, view Tips for Cleaning Your Closet. This will give you a good idea of what you don’t have and what you need. It’s good to make a list to keep you from purchasing things you don’t need and gives you specific items to focus on while shopping.
  2. Plan ahead
    • Plan what stores you want to go to ahead of time and find out what kind of sales they are having. This will keep you from entering other stores where you don’t need anything and wasting your time/money. It also helps to know which time of year to shop certain sale items -such as shopping the end of a season. It’s a good rule of thumb to buy winter clothes in March and Summer clothes in October (if you need them).
  3. Do your research online
    • Browse these stores online to give you an idea of what you will be looking for. It’s nice to shop online and see the store’s merchandise without a salesperson bothering you and trying to sell you on something you don’t need. Also check online coupon sites (such as couponcabin.com and retailmenot.com) to see if there are any additional coupons you can tack on to your purchase. Sometimes this may require signing up for a store’s emails (you can always unsubscribe later).
  4. Set a Time Frame
    • Set a time frame for your shopping outing. This will keep you from wandering aimlessly and ending up in a store where you will probably spend money on something that you probably don’t need. I like to set a lunch/dinner date at a certain time to keep me in check.
  5. Create a Budget
    • Yes, I said it: budget. Having a budget is NOT a bad thing! After assessing your needs, the stores you will go to and their sales, create a realistic budget that makes you comfortable and is realistic to your lifestyle. Now stick to it!
  6. Pay in Cash
    • Take your budget out of your bank account in cash. It’s been proven time and again that shoppers tend to spend more if they are paying with plastic.
  7. Go Alone
    • Shopping with friends tends to lead us to purchase things we don’t really want. Friends tend to make us feel better about making larger, more expensive purchases. This will lead you to bring home items you don’t really need and blowing your budget. If you do decide to take someone, make sure they are honest and aware of your budget ahead of time.
  8. Know the Return Policy
    • Every store is different. For example, a lot of jewelry stores don’t even take returns and will only give you store credit. With clearance, a lot of other stores have different policies from their normal ones (usually shorter time periods to get your money back). It’s always good to be aware of each store’s policy just in case something doesn’t work out.
  9. Don’t Buy It Just Because It’s On Sale
    • This is my most important tip. Impulse buys lead to buyer remorse. You may buy a shirt you don’t really need because it WAS $60 but NOW it’s only $20. Keep in mind that $20 here, and $30 there quickly adds up. Keep your receipts for these purchases, in the event that you change your mind.
  10. Be Patient
    1. Take your time! If you aren’t finding something on your list that you LOVE, it’s okay to wait. I am a list person myself, and I LOVE crossing things off my list. I remember a time several years ago that I bought something I didn’t love just because it was on sale and I needed to cross it off my list. I ended up getting little use out of the item because I wasn’t in love with it. What’s worse, is the next time I went shopping I found that same exact item back on my list.
  11. Don’t Shop When You Are Upset
    1. Just like you’ve heard not to grocery shop when you are hungry, don’t shop when you are upset or emotional. This can lead to “over-shopping” and buying things you don’t need. There is an instant (but fleeting) gratification you feel when you buy something. Being upset or emotional can lead to more purchases that will make you feel better in the meantime, but end up regretting later.

When in doubt on whether or not to purchase something, refer back to my $10 rule. Hopefully these tips will have you shopping smarter and saving money!

Check back later this week to see a list of my favorite stores and deals they are having over the weekend!
Xx, Hannah Beth


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