What separates a super shopper from your average run of the mill shopper? The answer is pretty simple; there are a few skills that a super shopper possesses that put them ahead of the game.
Remember sitting there in math class, bored, twiddling a pencil, and thinking, when will any of this matter in real life? Well guess what, some of those seemingly pointless math skills can help you cross the threshold into the realm of super-shoppers. Go ahead and ogle the baseball field during quadratic equations but when you’re studying percentages, make sure you pay attention.
The thing about the words “sale”, “discount”, “deal” is that they can be simultaneously exciting and misleading. Sure, most of the time a discount is going to be a good thing; it’s just a question of value really. For example; store credit cards.
A lot of times stores will run a “10% discount” incentive for using or opening a store credit card. But let’s break that down. First, a 10% discount? Please. I don’t even show up for 10% off. If you do the math, you need to spend $100 just to save 10 bucks. So when I’m ringing up a $30 purchase and the lovely sales girl asks me if I would “like to open a store credit card” because I’ll get “an extra 10% off” my mind does the quick math and I know that $3 is not worth the 10 minutes I’ll need to fill out the form or the lost points on my credit score for the additional line of credit. And that’s in the best case scenario. Worst case, I’ve opened a credit card with an outrageous APR, I forget to pay my one-off $30 credit card bill, and now with late fees and interest I have spent $60 to save $3. It just doesn’t add up. However, if you’re spending $500 10% is $50, and you begin to approach a purchase point where the discount is actually worth the time and trouble. Being able to run the numbers in your mind can help you discern the real deals from the “specials”, which really aren’t.
This is a big one. I have friends who tell me they can’t go into stores like Marshall’s or TJMaxx because they can’t stand to sift through that much stuff. I get it. But I feel bad for them. Because when it comes to super shopping, Patience is everything. And there are 2 kinds which matter.
First, you need the patience to shop discount stores. These stores often seem cluttered, and unorganized. The very visual aspect of this can be overwhelming. The idea of having to spend 20 minutes trying to see if they have that shirt in a large on another rack somewhere might seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But, it can also mean saving 50% or more off of department store or boutique prices. If you really want to save money, it’s going to cost you time. So clear a Saturday, eat so you aren’t distracted by hunger, visit the rest room so nature leaves you alone for a few hours, and set your sights on finding something you love for a price you love even more.
The other kind of patience requires more than a day; in fact it may take a few months. I’m not suggesting you need to hunker down in Macy’s for the winter, but if you don’t need something right away, what’s the hurry? Sooner later, pretty much everything goes on sale. If you see something you want, always ask yourself, do I really need this now? If you don’t, why not wait? Odds are in a few weeks that MSRP will come down by at least a few bucks. Certainly there are exceptions to this. Like when you are visiting a store you might not be able to get back to or when you’re looking at a limited production or specialty item. But if you’re dealing mass produced items at a store you frequent fairly often, then you will probably get a second shot at your purchase.
The world of online shopping has created a wealth of tools for the super shopper. Of course, free shipping deals and the invention of holidays like Cyber Monday make it possible to fill your home and empty your wallet, all while wearing your bathrobe. So clearly, the ease of shopping from your living room is both a blessing and a curse. But, putting the overwhelming temptation to buy unnecessary goods aside, let’s focus on the benefits.
First, and somewhat paradoxically, the web can actually help you wait patiently for something to go on sale. If you think you run the risk of forgetting about your find, then look to the internet to remind you. Many stores allow you to create wish lists, or favorite lists online and may email you updates when these items go on sale. Utilizing those services can help you keep tabs on your favorite stuff so that you can spot the ideal time to buy.
Another benefit of the internet is comparison shopping. Everyone prefers a different format and there are a multitude of comparison shopping engines, so everyone needs to find their own favorite. But by using one you can see a variety of different price points on several varieties of the same item, allowing you to make a fully informed decision.
There are also those wonderful little things called coupon codes. I say, never go to checkout without first checking for an applicable coupon code. You never know what might be out there, in terms of discounts and they can range from a few dollars, to free shipping or sometimes even bonus items. It’s all depends on the store, and the will of a super shopper to do a little digging.
If you wanna be the one bragging about all of your great buys at an incredible price, it’s not all that hard. The fact is if you know how to run the numbers, wait it out and use the ‘Net you can become the super shopper all of your friends envy.