A shopping addiction doesn’t have to be wallet-crippling—so long as you’re working it right and avoiding paying full price whenever possible. Immediate gratification—that gotta-have-that-now rush—is behind a lot of retail action, but if you’re patient enough, you just might reap the reward of crazy deals. Top shoppers know that scoring big is about a combination of waiting for sales, considering roundabout buying options, and stealthily stalking your target.
Secret 1: Price Compare. It sounds obvious, but too many people commit to buying without investigating whether the same item is available elsewhere for less. Do it yourself by cross-checking the item at various online department stores or let tech do the legwork. Shopstyle is revered within shopping circles for the way it brings up multiple places an item is listed for sale—including the one that’s slashed by 30 percent.
Secret 2: Don’t Write Off Resale. Consignment and resale sites and apps are having a major moment, all to the benefit of shoppers who now have a multitude of places to shop for preowned pieces that have been vetted by teams of professionals for authenticity and condition.
Secret 3: Be Patient. If you’ve had your eye on a pair of shoes or bag that are classics available season after season, wait out that lusty, must-buy-now moment until any of the year’s dependable sales roll around (the same goes for general items without brand specifics you’re craving, like a pair of leather leggings or a black cashmere crewneck). Department stores typically run a big percentage-off-everything sale every quarter or so; when you see that publicized, get ready to shop.
Secret 4: Practice Your eBay Skills.For buying or selling, eBay is a gold mine of opportunities (we broke it all down to help you get over any apprehensions). Along with pre-loved items, plenty of listings flash the Holy Grail of NWT—new with tags—meaning you can find the same stuff from store shelves at a way-reduced price.
Secret 5: Check Coupons. Coupon-clipping isn’t just for discount-happy types on reality shows: The bargain-hunting tactic is alive and well. Before you buy from any online site, do a quick Internet search with the store’s name and “coupon.” You’ll likely be directed to results from Retail Me Not or Coupons.com. The sites have duds but also plenty of money-saving working codes you otherwise would’ve totally miss out on.
Secret 6: Beef Up Your Shopping Tool Belt. Online shopping is a marvelous thing, with new technologically minded shopping aids popping up all the time. Familiarize yourself with them. Apps like Keep track items you want and ping you when the product goes on sale; Shopbop’s heart function catalogs everything you’ve admired, making it beyond easy to browse your favorites and check what’s been reduced.
Secret 7: ABS: Always Be Shopping. The quickest way to not get a deal is to realize you want something and immediately go out and get it. Instead, pro shoppers keep a mental list of things they’re hunting for and keep their eyes open, always. Make it a habit to cruise around the sale sections of any dot-coms or brick-and-mortars you visit because, truly, you never know what gems will be hiding.