7 Creative Ways to Score a Great Deal When Shopping

Arthur O'Connor

Updated · Jan 25, 2024

7 Creative Ways to Score a Great Deal When Shopping

You can get most things on sale nowadays, but are they really on sale? Retailers use the excitement of a sale to their advantage by putting things on sale when they really aren’t. Prices are sometimes inflated so that the sale price is the actual price, or the price has been decreased by such a small amount that it really isn’t that much cheaper.

If you want to get a good deal, you've got to do things that you've probably heard of before, like using apps, finding coupons, and shopping the clearance rack, but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing out on some serious savings.

Shop at Liquidation Stores

Have you ever shopped at a liquidation store? These stores see the potential value in purchasing Amazon return pallets so they fill their stores with returned merchandise and pass the savings on to you.

You never know what you’re going to find, so it’s not the kind of store you go to with a list in-hand. Instead, you comb through bins of items—many unopened—looking for a deal.

Just make sure you don’t end up buying a bunch of stuff you don’t need. Instead, have a running list of items you need and see if you can find them. For example, if you need more storage bins, you just may come across some, but you should leave that cell phone holder behind if you already have one.

Leave Items in Your Online Cart

Online shoppers love to leave items in their carts, but stores hate it. To them, it means a lost customer, and they’ll go to some great lengths to get you back. That includes offering you a discount.

If you leave items in your cart at an online retailer, they might email you a coupon or a special discount to get you to come back and check out. At the very least, leaving items in your cart gives you a few days to consider whether you actually need the item or not. If you don’t get a coupon and the item has lost its luster, you can leave it behind and keep more money in your pocket.

Buy Gift Cards

Most of us buy gift cards as gifts to give other people. You can still do that, but you might be able to get some free money if you’re willing to buy gift cards for yourself.

Some retailers offer additional gift cards for free with the purchase of another gift card. For example, they might give you a free $10 gift card if you buy another card with a value of at least $50. If you were planning on shopping at that store to begin with, buy the gift card for yourself and get an extra $10 to spend.

Go Incognito When Shopping Online

Some retailers vary their prices depending on where you live. It makes sense, if you think about it. There’s a big difference in average incomes and spending in some big cities, like San Francisco, compared to many midwestern cities. That doesn’t mean you have to pay higher prices just because you live in a state with higher incomes.

Go incognito and use the private browsing option on your web browser. It allows you to visit websites without revealing your location, which means you’re more likely to get a fair price. Even if it doesn’t work out in your favor, it doesn’t hurt. It’s just another method you can use to save.

Know Your Membership Discounts

Are you a member of a club or an organization? Chances are, your membership comes with discounts.

For example, if you’re an AAA member, you might already know that you get discounts on car-related services, like rental cars, but did you know you can also save at places like Lens Crafters and Shutterfly?

If you’re a member of AARP, your local public television station, or you hold any other kind of membership, it’s worth looking into exactly where you can get discounts. If you don’t, you could be paying full price when you don’t have to!

Get the Right Credit Card

Clubs and organizations aren’t the only ones offering good discounts. Get the right credit card and you could save too.

For example, many cards offer cash back, with increased cash back amounts for certain purchases at certain times throughout the year. Other cards offer travel points that can help you get a discount on airfare, while others offer perks, like car rental insurance, so you don’t have to pay for it the next time you rent a car.

Just make sure you only buy what you can pay off at the end of the month. Paying interest on balances that carry over will negate any savings you may have gotten when you initially made a purchase.

Don’t Be Afraid to Barter

You probably already know that you can barter for lower prices at antique stores and garage sales, but did you know that there are retailers that may negotiate a lower price too?

A few places you can ask for a lower price include:

  • You may be able to get a lower price or a freebie if you purchase a high-end electronic at Best Buy
  • Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes are willing to lower prices on items with scratches or dents
  • Talk to the manager at the end of the day at your local grocery store and you could get a discount on items that would otherwise be thrown away

The sticker price is almost never the final price if you know how to get the best deals. Add these strategies to your arsenal and you can save money where you’ve never saved before!

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