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Bargain Shopping Strategies


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Save Money By Buying Products At the Right Time of Year

End-of-season sales always offer discounts on items associated with the season that's about to end, as retailers make room for the new season's items. To take advantage of these sales, you have to plan ahead.

General Guidelines on Bargain Shopping

Spring and summer merchandise usually goes into clearance in June and July. Fall and winter merchandise usually goes on sale in January. With a little advance planning, you can save significant amounts of money and avoid charging up your credit card by planning your purchases around these guidelines.

Bargain Shopping Rule of Thumb

Remember this rule of thumb: when demand is high, prices are high; when demand is low, prices are low. In winter, buy lawnmowers, gas grills, and other outdoor summer equipment. In summer, buy items you'll need in the winter.

Other Bargain Shopping Strategies

If you shop online you can often get great bargains at any time of year at sites that specialize in end lots and overstocked items, like Overstock.com or SmartBargains.com.

It also pays to use a shopping search engine like Pricegrabber.com, which lists prices from various online vendors for the item you're searching for.

To save money when shopping directly at a retailer's online store, take advantage of online coupons. Go to Google.com and type in the name of the store, the + sign, and the words "promotional code" or "coupon code." You'll often find codes you can enter at checkout to get a discount.

You can also go directly to a coupon Web site like CouponMountain.com, Wow-coupons.com or CouponsCraze.com to look for coupons on the item you'd like to buy.

Bargain Shopping Warnings

When shopping sales, remember that just because an item looks like it's marked down, you shouldn't assume you're getting a bargain. Know what the items you're buying usually cost. You can get this information easily by comparison shopping on the Internet to get a feel for prices, then visiting your local stores to actually buy the items.

Buying something you don't really need is never a bargain, no matter how discounted the price is.

Even an item that's steeply discounted won't end up being a bargain if you put it on a credit card and don't pay it off right away. The longer you carry the balance on your credit card, the more the interest will eat into your savings on the item. Don't fool yourself into thinking you got a great price if this is the case.

More Bargain Shopping Information

For a printable list of when certain types of items go on sale so you can plan ahead to save big bucks, see Bargain Sales Months, by Type of Item. For a printable list of of what items go on sale each month of the year, see Types of Bargain Sales by Month.

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