Finding the perfect gift for someone is a wonderful feeling. But, for many of us, finding that gift at a great price adds a little extra fun to the experience. It has nothing to do with a lack of generosity, itâ€™s just something we seem to have in our DNAâ€”if we donâ€™t get a bargain, thereâ€™s something unsatisfying about the whole thing.
The holiday shopping season is a particularly stressful time for shoppers whose favorite sport is finding the best deal on absolutely everything. Of course, that kind of frustration isnâ€™t unique to the holidays or gift-giving; there are plenty of times, all year long, when you have neither the time nor the inclination to wait for a sale. You need the best price on something NOW.
While the ideal situation is having time to shop, there are ways of making sure youâ€™re getting a great price, even if the item youâ€™re purchasing isnâ€™t on sale.
Do Your Homework
With the online resources available today, it isnâ€™t hard to find out how much things are worth and what prices retailers are putting on them. Price-comparison tools are a fast and easy way to get the shopping intel you need to get the best possible deals. But you donâ€™t necessarily have to shop with whomever has the best price. Simply knowing that price is out there can give you an edge when youâ€™re discussing a purchase with a store associate. The associate might not have the authority to drop a price, but politely asking him or her to check with their manager can yield pleasant results.
Donâ€™t Assume the Marked Price is the Final Price
Weâ€™ve all seen markdown tags on retail items. Since those markdowns have to happen sometime, thereâ€™s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make one happen while youâ€™re in the store. If youâ€™ve got some competitive research up your sleeve (see above), make use of it. Ask if the store is willing to match (or better yet, beat) the price you found elsewhere. Even without a competing price, donâ€™t be shy about asking if the ticketed price is absolutely the best they can doâ€”especially if you know the store and the likelihood of them marking your item down in the near future. You should also keep an eye out for minor damage on item. Pointing out an imperfection youâ€™re willing to live with can be a pretty easy way to knock some dollars off the price.
Consider Paying Cash
This might not lower the initial price of an item but if youâ€™re not someone who pays your credit card balance promptly, the interest youâ€™ll pay to your credit card company automatically increases your outlay on that purchase. There are sellers who offer discounts for paying cash, as a gesture of gratitude for taking their credit card service fees out of your purchase scenario.
Get In With the IN Crowd
Keeping their social media audiences interested and engaged is a big part of just about every sellerâ€™s marketing strategy. Nothing stings quite like an unfavorable social media comment, so retailers are especially interested in keeping online friends happy. Maintaining a social media relationship with the retailers you frequent can get you on the distribution list for special discounts (getting on an â€œold fashionedâ€ email or newsletter distribution is a good idea, too).
Be Ready and Willing to Make a Return
After youâ€™ve made your purchase, hang onto your receipt and keep an eye on prices. If the store you bought from, or a competing store, soon offers the same item at a better price, ask your store to match that new price by refunding the difference. You can always return the item if the store wonâ€™t match a competitorâ€™s price. If a store wonâ€™t give you their own newly-reduced price, itâ€™s worth your time to see how interested they are in both keeping your business and keeping that sale on their books. In either scenario, you may have to go beyond the sales-associate level to management in order to get satisfaction.
When you do have some time to shop (letâ€™s say you have a big gift event coming up several months down the line), Knowing how to time a purchase can save you a lot of money. The savviest shoppers know that every product or service has its season.
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