By Catherine Alford
If you want to become self-reliant, one of the best ways to do so is to become a bargain shopper. In fact, lots of shoppers these days only buy things when they are on sale or marked down. But, when is a “deal” a good one? That is the true question!
Learn how to spot true bargains and find real deals with these tips:
Peel Back the Sale Sticker
Lots of retailers will cover up the original price with their new markdown sticker, preventing you from seeing how far marked down things really are.
The other day, I was helping a friend shop for jeans. We headed straight to the sale rack to see if we could find some her some jeans  on sale. Immediately she found a couple pairs she wanted to try on that were marked down to $48.99. With the store running a promotion for an additional 50% off all sale items, they seemed like a good deal.
After we got done shopping and we were bragging to her husband about our savings, she peeled back the $48.99 sticker only to find out that the original price was only $49.00! Talk about trickery. From now on, we will always check out the beginning price before deciding if sale items are really a bargain . Remember, rely on yourself and your own eyes not the storeowner!
Keep Track of Sale Prices
This tip applies to things that aren’t constantly changing to follow trends, like groceries and some classic clothing items.
When I go grocery shopping, I take note of the prices on many common things I purchase. My log is used to keep track of the “regular price” and the lowest sale price I’ve ever seen on many different items. This way when the store runs a “sale” I will know if it’s truly a good deal, and if it is, I can stock up without worry that a better deal will come along the very next week.
Keeping track of rock bottom prices also means that if I do buy something and find a better price just a few days later, I can take advantage of the store’s policy of making price adjustments within a set number of days. Many grocery stores and clothing retailers in my area will make this adjustment if you keep your receipt and ask for the adjustment when things get marked down further. Again, track these things yourself and rely on your own data to find the best deal.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
When you are making various one time purchases, you can often use technology to your advantage by doing some price comparison shopping on your smartphone while you are still in the store. Sometimes other retailers are having a sale while the store you are considering buying from is not or you may be able to find a very similar product for a lot less.
In this day and age, money doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to. I don’t feel guilty about trying to find little ways to make my dollars go further to support my family. After all, I’m relying on my own bargain-spotting skills every week to provide for them for less!