Ah, the mall. The bastion of shopaholics.
The mall is an easy place to spend more than you intended. In many cases, you’ll be paying the most premium retail price, which means you need some tools to save money. Check out our mall money-saving tips.
1. Only bring the cash you need to buy your items – If you’re visiting the mall to buy something specific (and have a budget in mind), only bring that much money. Leave your debit and credit cards at home.
2. Ask for a refund of the difference – If an item went on sale a week after you bought it, some stores will refund you the difference (usually in store credit, but it’s still money).
3. Comparison shop – Don’t pay the first price you see. Many items are also sold elsewhere in the same mall. Take a walk around and see where you can get a better deal.
4. Compare to online stores – If you can stand to wait a few days, check online real quick before you head to the register. Often times you can find a better price even after you pay shipping on Amazon, Overstock, or eBay.
5. Don’t shop bored – The mall is a fun hangout place for a lot of people. It’s easy to meet up with friends and grab lunch, but don’t wander around looking for something to buy.
6. Not sure? Leave the store – If you’re having doubts about buying something, leave the store. You can always think about it later on, but you can’t always return an item.
7. Don’t buy something because it’s on sale – Buying something because it costs less today doesn’t save you any money if you would have never bought it anyway. Stores try to seduce us with sales that end “THIS WEEKEND,” but don’t fall prey to their schemes.
8. Haggle where you can – Most items in a mall can’t be haggled over, but some can. You can discuss price with salesmen if you’re buying a mattress, appliance, or car parts.
9. Keep recipes and leave the tags on – Don’t “unwrap” your new items until you’re sure you want to keep them. Some stores require the tags and a recipe to return an item. If for some reason you grabbed the wrong size or the colors look different in your bathroom light, you can get your money back.
10. Shop out of season – Stores (especially clothing) divide their products into “lines” to stay with current trends. As the season changes, you can usually grab last season’s items at a bargain as stores push out their inventory.
11. Print out the store’s circular – Go into the store armed with information. Print out their deals from their website (or grab their flyer from the paper). Before you buy, do a quick check for a deal. No deal? No buy. These often have coupons you can use as well.
12. Shop on major sale events – The small weekend sales aren’t the greatest deals, but the big holidays have lots of savings because stores know they will make it up on volume. Shop on Black Friday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the week before school starts.
13. Don’t shop with spenders – If you shop alongside people who buy irresponsibly, you might too!
14. Check the clearance bins – Most mall stores have a wall or bin somewhere near the back with the stuff they want to get rid of. Dig around and see if there’s something that meets your needs.
15. Sign up for those loyalty cards – Most big stores have a store card that will scan all of their applicable coupons and sales. You definitely want this. You’ll get all the savings without having to do any of the work.
16. Sign up for their mailing list – A simple email can’t hurt, but they often send coupons and information about bargains coming up.
17. Mind the “mall experience” – You’ll spend more money at the mall than just the items you buy. You might take in a movie, have lunch or give the kids a few dollars for the arcade. Malls are designed to keep you in and suck a few more dollars out of you.
Written by Wendy Krepak, Mom, Entrepreneur and Inventor of Card Cubby, Compact Coupon and Card Organizer
For years, Wendy was losing gift cards, discount cards, loyalty cards, and frequent buyer cards. They were often at home or lost in the depths of her purse. She knew there had to be a better way so she designed Card Cubby, an alphabetized system and was amazed at how easily it worked. Her own mini filing cabinet to replace her wallet. It’s Card Cubby, LLC's mission to provide stylish, quality and money saving items to its customers.
For more information, visit www.cardcubby.com.
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