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May 2016

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Sales Shopping

If it seems too early to be thinking about the January sales, think again! In this bleak financial market, the sales will be starting much earlier this year as retailers try to tempt us to part with our money. So what is there to think about? How do you plan for the sales? If you usually wander around them aimlessly picking up a few ‘bargains’ here and there, things that you don’t really need and later regret buying, read on…

1. Avoid the shops that roll out rails and rails of clothes stock from previous seasons. If no-one wanted them in Winter ’07 or ’06, why would you want them now?

2. Avoid high fashion items that are on their way out. Instead look for good quality investment items that won’t date such as cashmere sweaters, leather jackets and wool coats. You’ll be able to wear them for seasons and seasons to come and will be proud that you got such a good bargain.

3. If you come across an item that you really love but can’t afford in this season’s collections, don’t despair. Keep an eye on the price tag throughout December to see if the price falls drastically. If not, find a helpful assistant and ask when the item will be going in the sales and what the price will be. Sales assistants often have this information and by asking them for it you can ensure that you turn up on the right day, at the right time and go away with something you really want.

4. Have a good look through the underwear section. A certain design or colour of bra might not have been the season’s best-seller but if it is the right size and does the job it doesn’t matter – most people will never see it! Often bras can be picked up for half price or lower in the January sales and although they may not end up being your favourite special occasion bras they’re ideal for everyday use.

5. If you’re a regular attendee of glitzy evening events, parties and balls, plan ahead and get your cocktail dresses in the sales. There is usually a good selection left over after Christmas and they won’t date too quickly.

6. As with all clothes shopping, make sure the items you buy really suit your colouring and show off your figure. If you’re not sure about the colours and styles that suit you best, book a colour analysis and style consultation before you hit the sales. The initial cost may seem expensive but in the long run they will save you money on costly mistakes. Alternatively, why not book a style consultant for some personal shopping. They will give you an honest opinion and won’t let you buy unflattering items just because they are cheap. Instead they will find you bargains that really bring out the best in you.

Make The Sales Work For You

When the banners go up for a sale at one of your favourite stores, it is very easy to be drawn in to thinking that you are going to make a killing and get a whole new wardrobe at a fraction of the price. Yet when you come to it and actually try to find yourself a bargain that you are actually going to want to wear, it’s not so easy. But there are ways to make sure that you get want you want, at the price you want to pay.

There are a number of reasons why stores have special promotions. They can be used to quickly move last seasons stocks in time for the new seasons lines or they can be used to encourage you to visit the store so that while you are there you will continue to browse and buy further items that are not on sale. Or they can simply promote the name of one retailer over another to get more brand awareness. Whatever the reason for the sale, if there is an item you want and the sale is on then it can be increasingly frustrating when you can’t find what you are looking for or they don’t have your size.

When you visit even the best retailers during a sale the stock becomes mixed up and the stores can become so busy that when you do get to a rail, trying to find what you are looking for is simply madness. Shop assistants are so busy they do not have time to help, and when they do have the time, the stock is usually so confused that they can’t find what you are looking for either. With massive clearance sales you may even find that non sale stock has been taken off the shop floor to make way for the sale, limiting your choice even further. You can find yourselves spending hours in a store to finally find the thing you want and then having to queue for what seems like the rest of the day to make your savings.

The question is “Is It Worth It?” and I would say the answer has to be no!

If you want a relaxed shopping experience during a sale and want to see quickly and easily what a certain store has in your size and what options you have, then the simple solution is to shop online. With more stores promoting their online sales before they start and with an increasing number of stores starting their online sales a day or even two days before the sale in the store, the online shopping experience is the only way to go to make sure you get what you want at the price you want to pay.

Historically people have avoided clothes shopping online as it is impossible to try before you buy and returning goods has always been seen as difficult. But as more stores close their changing rooms during the sales and even more stores are taking their changing rooms away altogether, returning items, especially online, has become a very simple process, with a lot of the stock being picked up from your door free of charge. By sale shopping online you can also get to the store a lot earlier. Who wants to be queuing for hours in a high street for a store to open at 5am when you can set your alarm for a few minutes before hand and get all your bargains whilst drinking a cup of coffee in a warm, relaxed and friendly environment. There is no pushing and shoving to get to the rail first and it is quick and easy to find out whether they have an item in your size.

How to Save Money at Garage Sales

Garage Sales are a great place to find bargains. From expensive china to scuba gear, you can find everything, and anything you want, at a garage sale. Here are some strategies to maximize your shopping experience and help you get the most for your time and money.

First, know in advance what you are shopping for. When you shop for clothing, have a list of exactly which clothing items each family member needs along with their measurements. Carry a soft tape measure with you. Since items can’t be returned from a garage sale, you don’t want to make any mistakes. When shopping for an item for your home, bring an small sample of the color you are looking for. Out in the bright sun, colors may appear differently so having a color swatch helps.

Equally important to knowing what you’re looking for, is knowing how much you want to spend. Before you go garage sale shopping, know the retail price of each item you are looking for. This information makes it easier to spot a deal. Since it’s so easy to get caught up in the buying spirit, have a dollar amount in mind for what you are willing to pay for each item used. There’s nothing worse than getting home and realizing that you paid more than you wanted to.

At each garage sale, if you don’t see what you are looking for, don’t be afraid to ask. Last month I went in search of a girls 24 inch bike. I inquired at each sale, and at the fourth sale, the lady wheeled out a beautiful Huffy bike from her garage that she wanted to sell, but forgot to set out. It was in great shape and at a great price, but I know if it had been out when the sale started, it would have been gone by the time I arrived.

Go early, or late to sales. This strategy is an easy one. The first ones to a sale get first crack at the good stuff. By attending later, sellers may be more willing to negotiate on price. You will encounter sellers who practically give stuff away just to get rid of it. Make sure you are prepared to shop. By that I mean, know where the garage sales are in advance, so you can plan the best route to take. Bring drinks and snacks, especially if you are taking the kids with you. Have singles and loose change easily accessible so you can buy quickly and move to the next sale. Be sure and wear comfortable clothing, especially shoes.

Here in Florida, entire communities hold their garage sales on the same day. Look for areas in your town that may do the same. Many sales close together helps you maximize your time, and gives you a better chance of finding what you are looking for. I have found everything I could ever hope to find at garage sales. Some of my best treasures include an English riding helmet for my daughter, the first handheld Nintendo video game (now a collectors item), and a set of china for 8 that retails for over $500 (of course I paid significantly less). Now that you know these tips and tricks, you can reel in some great deals too. Happy Hunting!

A Guide to Make the Most From Online Sales

The internet offers many excellent shopping opportunities today. Whereas online shopping used to be offered by only a few stores, today almost all the major stores offer online shopping. There are also some stores that only offer their products online. The internet provides options to save a lot of money, especially when you locate the correct stores and the right sales.

Shopping online for the sales is fun, easy and offers the convenience of never having to leave the comfort of your home. Increasingly more people are turning towards online shopping as a way to find great gifts and find amazing bargains from the luxury of their home. Here are some valuable guidelines on shopping online for the sales.

* Find out about the security of the site where you intend to do your shopping. While the majority of online shopping sites are safe, there are others that are not and it’s beneficial to know the difference. You will always want to buy from a site that is able to maintain confidentiality of your private details. One main way of ensuring the site is secure is if the address has “https” rather than just “http”. The “s” is your guarantee that the site is secure. A locked padlock or icon of a unbroken key in the status bar or at the bottom of the screen are also clues that the site is secure

* Use your credit card for online shopping if possible. Credit cards remain the most secure method for online shopping and come in handy when there is a dispute or an unauthorized purchase.

* Try to do a background check on the seller. While many of the online shopping sites are legitimate stores and sites, many sites are new and unknown to you. It’s a good idea to find a bit more about the seller before you hand them your personal financial information.

* Shop around for the best buys. While ease and simplicity may be the main reason you’re shopping online for the sales, you should still shop around for the best buys. Use the search engines to find the best deals for any item. For example, if you’re planning to buy “Malibu Barbie”, type that into a search engine and you’ll be surprised at how many online stores you’ll find that sell this item. Some of the sites may even tell you if they’re offering sale prices on the item.

* Beware of high shipping costs. You can very easily eliminate any saving you may have found if you have to pay high shipping costs. Always compare the shipping costs along with the cost of the product to get the best bargain. While some sites charge substantially for shipping, others give a discount or even offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount of money there. However, do NOT purchase items you don’t need just to get the free shipping or you’re not saving at all.

* Try to avoid taxes when buying online. According to the laws, an online site or store can only charge you taxes if they’re located in the same state as you. Consider shopping at an online chain store that offers a store in other states. By saving on the taxes you can make substantial savings on the total amount you pay.

* Think about doing your shopping at the auction sites. There are several reputable online auction sites. eBay is the most well-known and widely used online auction site and offers almost anything you could possibly want. The site also provides you the ability to check on the history and feedback for sellers. You can find some great products on eBay and other auction sites as well. It’s a good idea to look at the shipping costs here as well. Some sellers are known to charge high shipping costs to make profit on their products.