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Remember these Money Saving Hacks! We have all been there before. You head out to a retail store and you see something you want to purchase. You love the product and you want to buy it. The only thing is it’s listed at full retail price and you just don’t feel like paying full retail price because in the back of your mind you might be thinking “I thought I saw this listed for a discounted rate at _____!” or you might be thinking “I wonder if there is a discount on this somewhere else!”  Don’t worry! Unless if you have millions of dollars of your own money or someone else’s money to haphazardly spend away, you have thought about this too.

It’s great to not go by routine all of the time and to “live life” for the moment. Of course we are not robots nor should we act like them; however, if you are on a budget, this is one of the major reasons why spontaneous shopping will ruin your budget. Having a plan of attack will help you save money and be able to spend it on the finer things such as a nice dinner out with family, friends and/or that someone special. You might want to eventually stop renting and purchase a home. What about that piece of furniture or snazzy bar gadget you wanted to pick up. How about going to a ball game, concert or performance. All of these things can be done if you are able to shop smart by doing some product shopping online before you leave your home and get some product reviews, model numbers, ratings and prices.

One of the great things about heading into local retail stores is you get to put your hands on items. Lets say you want to try on a pair of new sneakers and you really like the way they fit. They look good, they feel good and they are calling out your name. 🙂 You are ready to buy them. STOPPPPPPPPPPP!!!

Do you know if this same pair of sneakers or shoes can be purchased at a competing store for less? How about on their own website with a special promo, discount or coupon code? If you can purchase the same product at a different location but for less money, I would do the follow things:

sflsg-logoFirst try out the product. Put it in your hands if it’s a cell phone or electronic device. Imagine spending a few hundred dollars and signing up or extending a contract and not even liking the product?!? That’s not smart! You’ll become annoyed and you’ll want to return the item for something else. You will not be in a bargaining position…instead you might be putting yourself more in a begging position. You might have to beg to not have a restocking fee applied to your purchase. You might have to beg for them to take back the product if it’s slightly worn. You may even have to beg for the price that you want. That’s weak!

Cutting to the chase, it’s not smart in my opinion to purchase something without even trying it out first. Forget about the commercials, advertisements or what your family, friends, neighbors or colleagues say. Perfect example! Lots of people fall into this trap too. I have an iPhone6s. Lots of people upgrade their phones. I remember I didn’t want to upgrade from the iPhone5 to the iPhone6s. I kept hearing it’s a great phone but the number one complaint I keep hearing is it’s too big. It doesn’t fit in your hands like the iPhone5 does. It got in my head and I started putting off the decision to upgrade my iPhone all together. Finally I went to a local Verizon store. In my opinion, there are less lines and you can find a variety of phones to compare and contrast to. I finally realized the phone I wanted to upgrade to was indeed the iPhone6s. I made the decision for myself when it was all said and done.

Some people like that its bigger but if you only go by what other people say then you’ll never figure it out until AFTER the sale. Be smart and be an educated consumer. Be a consumer advocate for yourself by being smart with your purchasing decisions. It’s important for you to try whatever the item is you are going to buy for your own self first. If you don’t like it, then you’ll save yourself a lot of time by not buying the product.

Going back to the shoes you are trying on at the retail store…if you saw their website had a 15% discount for online orders just PRIVATELY ask the sales rep if they apply the same discount. You may need to speak to a store manager to get an okay on this. You NEVER want to ask for a discount out loud and put a store manager in a quick position to say no to make an example of your poor communication skills. When asking for a favor (which is exactly what you are asking for), make sure you ask for it on the down low! Also, do yourself another favor to prepare to get the discount. Print out the discount you saw on their website. If you have nothing to hide and you are a real consumer and not just fibbing to someone, then print out the discount from their website and bring it in. Sometimes seeing is believing for a manager. It gives them printed validation to cover themselves with their superiors if they decide to provide you with the discount and override their system with the pricing adjustment. It makes it easier for them to allocate a discount for you. That’s what you want…to help the manager make the decision as easiest as possible for them to confirm the discount for you.

Save MoneyIf the manager says no or they can’t…don’t get mad or emotional about it. Smile and say thank you. If they ask you if you’d still like to purchase the item, say not at this time. Some stores are franchises and might not be able to honor a store-based discount that’s not applicable to their franchise store location. If you are that confident you saw the same product on their website at a discounted rate OR there is a website discount, then just go home and purchase it online. It might take another few days or a week for you to obtain it but if you are an educated consumer, make sure you prepare yourself before wandering through malls and stores and just asking for a discount just for the sake of it. You might think you are cool but you aren’t that cool for strangers to put their jobs on the line just because you are confident in yourself. 😉

The same thing applies if you saw a product or service in a competitors catalog or website. Lots of times stores may not be able to honor online discounts from a competiting store. Just take some time to prepare yourself to save 10%. That 10% savings off of $250 is $25. Maybe you can buy another pair of pants, food shopping for that night, dinner out, a hair cut, etc. Whatever it is, $25 is $25.

So remember to go prepared with the idea that you may wind up walking away without the deal you want; but if you are an educated consumer, you’ll be able to walk out with confidence knowing another store or website has a better deal for you…and you’ll be able to save more money. Being non-commital with the notion of being able to wait a few days to a week is also important. If it’s that important to you, then you’ll wait and save money. If you need it on the spot and we have all been there, then organizing your time and planning ahead is something you should consider. Believe me, I’ve learned from my own mistakes. I’ll probably still make the same mistakes but I’m also human! 😉

Don’t be put in a position to attend someone’s last minute birthday bash if you got invited in the last minute. Are you an afterthought? My suggestion is…you can always see them later and give them a gift (if you feel compelled to do so). You can shop for something thoughtful and considerate later on along with being financially responsible for your budget.

South Florida Savings GuyOne last thought about money saving hacks. Before you go into a store or shop online, use discounted gift cards. Sometimes you can save as much as 25% on store and even more money on restaurant gift cards & gift certificates. For instance, if you can purchase a $100 Macy’s gift card for only $80 and save 20% off, doesn’t that make sense to you to save $20 by purchasing the gift card a few days or a week in advance? Try it out…it will only save you money. This can be used on top of store and manufacturer coupons and sale prices; so this is another way for you to save even more money.

Hopefully these life hacks will help you think about discounts a different way. I convey these tips to you as it took me a while to figure these hacks out for myself. Don’t ask for a discount in front of other people. Be discreet! Don’t get emotional if you don’t get what you want. Compare apples to apples of products & items you are interested in buying when you inquire about price matching options. Go in with a plan for another price to be lower. You never know when you walk in the store if they might actually have the item you want for even less. Go in with ambivalence and you can score some good savings! Also, use Google and Consumer Reports. These are the types of money saving hacks that are so simple and are a great resource…if you use them! 😉

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