Key Shopping Rules

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I think it’s important to share the key shopping rules that I live by. Don’t get me wrong, I have several shopping tidbits that I plan to share with you as we get to know each other, but listed below are my top 6 rules.

Don’t shop without coupons
…if you can help it. So you don’t want to receive junk mail from various companies trying to sell you the latest great thing. And, you don’t want to receive hundreds of spam mail in email inbox. Even if you are not on a store’s mail or email distribution list, you can still receive the coupons…all you have to do is ask. In many stores there’s a customer service area (or at the very least, a sales associate at the cash register) that distributes the coupons to customers who do not have them. Needless to say, this site is a great place to find the latest deals and coupons. And for all you folks going green (I’ve recently jumped on that bandwagon…well, a little anyway), most stores will allow you to show them the coupon from the email inbox on your cell phone instead of making you print them out…if you opt to have the coupons mailed or emailed to you.

Always know the store’s return policy
I can’t stress that enough. Too many times I have heard stories about people not being able to get their hard earned cash back because they missed the return deadline; or worse, the store had a “No Returns” return policy. Well, I hate to say it but those people only have themselves to blame because they did not ask about the store’s return policy. Always, always, always, ask about the store’s return policy.

Keep in mind that often times stores have the return policy printed on the receipt or somewhere near the cash register. I’ve also found that some (but not all) sales associates will inform you of the stores return policy at the time of purchase. But don’t depend on that, because stores sometimes change their return policy at a whim. Just to be on the safe side, you should always check…especially if you do not see anything written anywhere.

Never buy in-season!!
…unless you find the item(s) at a good price, or this is a one of a kind item. Have you ever kicked yourself when went to a store only to find that the item(s) you bought at full price a few months (or weeks!) ago is now on sale, or worse on clearance?!?! Shoppers will often find that in-season items often go on sale or clearance toward the middle and end of the current season, or at the beginning of the new season. Remember: when it comes to shopping, patience is a great virtue to have!!

A little something extra: If you buy boots in July or thong sandals in December, they should ALWAYS be on sale. It really ticks me off when stores have the nerve to price off-season stuff at regular price.

Don’t be scared off by the big names
When budget conscious buyers are shopping they often get scared away by presumably expensive department stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks, or Neiman Marcus. You’d be surprised by the great prices you can find on designer items in these stores. Just this summer at Bloomindales Private Sale (it’s not all that private…all you have to do is get on Blommy’s mailing list) I bought a pair of 7 For All Mankind Jeans for $22 (normally priced at $185) and another pair for $30 (normally priced at $198). At the same sale, I bought a BCBGMAXAZRIA dress for $17 (normally priced at $138).

Check out my TBS Finds page to see the very decently priced stuff that I found at the big-named stores.

Don’t be turned off by the stores like low-priced stores
You can find some great pieces at stores like Target.com or Ross. I’ve known some people to be turned off by stores like these because they think that low-priced stores produce low quality. Just so you know, I’ve found Carlos Santana pumps in Ross for $20, a cute pair of leather (not faux leather) cognac flats in Target…well, I could go on and on!! You can’t beat that. So remember that just because something is cheaply priced doesn’t mean that it’s a poor quality. Like I love to say: diversify when you shop.

Don’t spend on trend!!
Trendy items are just that…trendy. They’re here one day and gone the next. Why spend tons of money on things that you’ll only wear once or twice (unless you have the money to spend…which I don’t). I always suggest that people purchase their trendy items on sale or from lower end stores and pair the top with a pair of great fitting jeans…designer or otherwise. These stores allow shoppers to have the trendy look, but at a budget conscious price. So, you’ll look like a million bucks, but will not have spent that much!!

I usually go to stores like Forever21 (my choice), Charlotte Russe, or WetSeal (just to name a few) for trendy wear.

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