Discount Shopping Tips and Tricks: The Bargain Hunter’s Bible

Let’s face it: We can’t all be millionaires. But that doesn’t mean you can’t live better using the money that you’ve got. Thanks to discount shopping, you can double or triple your dollar’s buying power! Discount shopping can be a fun and rewarding activity that benefits you and your friends, but you have to know where to look.

Discount shopping can get you all sorts of great deals on lots of stuff, but the items being discounted may not be something that you really need, or even want for that matter. If you want to shop for a particular item, a steady routine of bargain hunting will eventually bring you face to face with a great deal. The greatest determining factors in finding great deals on the things that you want are patience and persistence.

Foresight is also a discount shopper’s friend: if you see a great deal on something that you don’t need right now, but are guaranteed to use in the future, you can save yourself a lot of cash. Items like light bulbs and shampoo come to mind. Perishables tend to be poor choices for discount shopping, as they are genrally at or near expiration at the time of discount. I’ve literally bought expired coffee drinks on accident before. Seasonal items are regularly subjected to deep discounts, because retailers need to make room for the next season’s goods. Buying things a year in advance can save you more money than you ever dreamed, as long as you are willing to store it for awhile!

Still, you can’t get a great deal on everything; some things either just can’t be bought at a decent discount, or need to be purchased immediately. Tires come to mind. Usually when your car needs new tires, you don’t have time to wait for a deal to spring up, and usually the best you can do is find a sale, or shop at your favorite retailer.

Target is my personal favorite place to shop for clearance items. Sometimes goods can be purchased at discounts of %75 or less. You can even resell things you’ve bought at Target by listing them for sale on ebay or elsewhere. If I intend on reselling something on ebay, I’ll usually buy it at a %75 discount, and then list it at %50 of the retail value, thereby enticing buyers to bid, and simultaneously doubling my investment.

To find the best deals at Target, you should walk to the back of the aisles and along the outer perimeter of the store. This is where the endacaps are located, and where a majority of discounted items can be found. I usually won’t buy something until it is marked at a %50 or %75 discount.

If an item in Target catches your eye, but it isn’t discounted deeply enough for your tastes, return in a week or two and the price should have dropped if the item hasn’t been completely sold out. Remember, the keys to discount shopping at Target, and in general, are persistance and patience.

Compusa will sometimes have a great deal on a few items. They do not discount items as consistently as Target, and the level of the discounts can vary greatly as well. The items are sometimes marked with a yellow price tag, or the tag will simply say “clearance” or “manager’s special” on it. Occasionally, a Compusa location will have enough discounted merchandise to warrant a wall or bin of discount items. Sometimes they will have an area that says “clearance items: priced as marked” but the items will not be marked. This happens quite frequently, and in these cases the discount, if any, usually isn’t worth the hassle of getting a cashier to tell you what the price is.

Second hand stores will carry some interesting items, if you don’t mind used goods. Be sure to carefully scrutinize anything that you intend to buy at these places. Don’t be afraid to test their electronics thoroughly; people do this all of the time, and employees shouldn’t give you any grief for it. There will usually be a few outlets in the electronics section for just this purpose. My favorite second hand store items include home stereo components, computer monitors and old video game accessories. Some people make a few bucks by reselling second hand store merchandise on ebay.

The keys to finding great deals are as follows:

1) Develop a route and a routine. Find stores in your area that sell items at a discount and create a route. Devote half of a day every week to hunting for great deals.

2) Be patient and persistent: Keep comming back to stores that have good deals. It may take months to find a particular item at the right price, but when you do, it will be well worth the wait.

3) Not all stores are created equal: that store near the mall probably isn’t going to have as many deals as the one on the edge of town. Also keep in mind that a different location may have a different manager, and this can effect the discounts that you will find there.

4) Be on the lookout for clearance items whenever you’re shopping, because you never know where they might pop up!

5) Look to the future: foresight is your friend. If you see a great deal on something you know you’ll eventually need, buying it now will save you lots of money down the road.

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