Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10 Secrets to Successful Shopping.

Hey there, I have been inundated with requests lately from people picking my brain about deals. It has always been this way but it seems since I have been posting coupons all my "Blog Friends" have been asking about my secrets. So here is what I will do- I will share 10 of my best tips for deals as an early Christmas present to you all.

1. Mailing Lists-
This is an EASY one- Sign up for every mailing list for all of your favorite stores. Hate Spam? Open an email address exclusively for your newsletters. Most stores will send you a "Thank you coupon" right away and notify you of sales, exclusive deals and provide some great coupons. Some of my favorite:
I. Gap family of stores- these guys send out GREAT coupons.
II. Aeropostal
III. Aldo
IV. Browns
V. Best Buy


2. Outlets-
The Mecca of sale merch has been around far longer than me, but has significantly evolved with outlets ranging from the bottom of the bargain bin- Orfus Road to the High end Vaughan Mills. The key to success at the sometimes overwhelming outlet is to know what you are looking for and where to get it- this sometimes involves a little research. Know what is where- here is a crash course to the top 5 outlet areas in the GTA.

I. Dixie Outlet Mall- Mississauga- I call this shoe mall, with stores like Shoe warehouse, athlete’s world, sportscheck, aldo, spring, nautralizer and nine west. This is the place to go to find shoes ranging from $10 up. Also inhabiting Dixie is the regular outlet staples- Urban Behavior, Costa Blanca, and guess. Some Gems include- Garage/Dynamite (But be careful there is an as is section), Mexx, Jacob and Smartset.

II. Orfus Road- This is entirely made up of the discount mall staples but boasts some good prices- Bluenotes, Suzy Shier, Sirens, Stitched, La Chateau, Nine West, Urban Behavior, and Roots. Prices along this outdoor strip range from $2 for T-shirts at the Stitches Family of stores and $10 upward for jeans. Most of the merch is out of season or sample pieces.

III. Weston Road Outlets- This Outdoor Woodbridge mall is small and directed towards the teenage consumer. Inhabitants include: Garage (way better than Dixie) Aldo (not as good as Dixie) Guess (WAY, WAY better than Dixie) Bluenotes, Jacob Connection, Body Shop among others.

IV. Vaughan Mills Mall- A little bit of a trek out of the city but completely worth it- this hybrid outlet mall has enough discounts to make you happy with Lactose, Nike, Addidis, Holts and UB outlets as well as regular stores XXI Forever, Disney, Old Navy. Some notable stores in this mall include GAP, Banana Republic Outlets and Style Sense (owned by winners- a huge assortment of purses and shoes).

Total List of outlet stores:
Adidas
Aldo
Anna Bella
BCBG MAX AZRIA
Bebe
BEDO
Bennetton
Browns Shoes
Buffalo
Designer Depot
Disney Store
Ecco Shoes
FCUK
Fila
Guess
Healthy's
Holt Renfrew Last Call
Nike
Nine West
Nutrition House
Reebok
rk
Roots
The Baggery
Tommy Bahama
Town Shoes
Tristan & America
Upcountry Home and Garden
Voluptuous
West 49


V- Canada One Outlets- Niagara Falls- So, this isn't exact ally in the GTA but it’s probably the best on this list. Coach! - Remember to sign up for the email notifications, the regularly send me 20% off coupons. Guess Esprit, Garage, Nike, and Addidis. This is the closest thing to the Niagara falls US outlets without crossing the bridge. Be warned on high traffic weekends there are sometimes lines to get INTO the stores.


3. Clearance Periods.-
Stores tend to clear out merch to make way for next seasons stuff clothing goes on sale in June/July and again in January. but this rule also applies for other things- now this tip isn’t mine- I have to give credit to MSN money for this one; you can read the entire article here:
http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/SaveMoney/TheBestTimeToBuyAnything.aspx?page=2

Some interesting ones include:

Big appliances
Best time: September and October

Cars
Best time: September

Computers
Best time: July and August

Cookware
Best times: April and May; October and November

Furniture
Best times: January and July

Jewelry
Best time: Avoid the holidays, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day

Linens and bedding
Best time: January

Toys
Best time: October and November

TVs and home theaters
Best time: winter holiday sales and January

Wedding
Best time: winter

4. Warehouse Sales-
Now I could write an entire novel on warehouse sales- These are goldmines- tons of discounted Merch ready to be snapped up and there are warehouse sales for everything- Clothing, shoes, mattresses, packaged goods. Some noteworthy ones I have attended in the past include P&G, Uniliever, Johnson and Johnson, Lactose/Esprit, Guess. So how do you go about this warehouse adventure? First find out what is happening- Styledemocrocy.com, Redflagdeals and Smart Canucks all list these- Styledemocrocy.com is responsible for a lot of the good clothing ones that happen (you can also follow them on twitter and sign up for email updates) Some things to remember.
I. These can get crazy- especially the good ones. Arrive early, dress appropriately for the possibility of lining up outside.
II. If possible get or buy VIP passes. A lot of these have VIP days, not only do you avoid some of the crowds (not all and there will most likely still be lineups) but you get first pick of the Merch.
III. Prioritize, if you know you want shoes don't let the handbags distract you- go right for the shoes.
IV. Bring a buddy. Buddies are helpful if someone needs to leave line to use the washroom or for the frowned upon line up while your buddy shops maneuver.
V. Check payment options- If it says cash only, make sure you have cash.

5. Websites-
So we all know how to use online to compare prices? But there are some website gems out there that offer deep discounts on what you want. I suggest checking out the merch in store if possible because sometimes online is misleading. Some good sites include:

Beyondtherack.com- Gucci, Coach, Ed Hardy, Fendi. Bags, shoes, Sunglasses, clothing all at deeply discounted prices. Sales last 24-48 hours and a list of upcoming sales can be found on the site.

Overstock.com- This site now ships to Canada and hosts almost EVERYTHING.

Amazon.com- Good one for movies, music and some merchandise but beware not everything can be shipped north of the border.

EBay- This one is tricky, you can get fabulous deals but you have to make sure to READ the auction descriptions carefully. I personally would avoid high ticket items, I love eBay for phone cases though $0.99 and free shipping!

Clearlycontacts.com- Health insurance doesn’t cover eyes. This site has designer glasses from $39 including frames, and on certain days they will offer a limited # of free! Frames/lenses to your city.

6. Social Networking-
So, you can't have your eyes out for great deals 100% of the time. Here is where you can rely on other people to fill you in. Add your favorite stores to Facebook or Twitter.

7. Price Matching. -
So you found the iPod you want at Wal-Mart for $189, score but it would be better to save a little more, like 19$, Take that flyer or online page to best buy and voila! Price matched and beaten by %10! Many stores will price match, although not all give further discounts, it may be a preference because of location or return policy, maybe spite. The best bet is to check their website for policy.

8. COUPONS! Coupons, Coupons, Coupons.-
What? You're not your grandmother? Well I guess you don’t want to save 15% at old navy almost EVERYTIME you shop. A LOT of stores are offering regular discounts to costumers. Online coupons can be easily googled or found on websites like
http://www.retailmenot.com/. Printable coupons can also be found at redflagdeals.com, signing up for mailing lists like I mentioned above will ensure you get regular coupons for your favorite stores. 2 noteworthy sites are


Save.ca allows you to order coupons for packaged goods- you cannot print these they will mail you a sheet, it takes about 10 days.

9. Friends and Family sales.-
Back in the day one of your friends who was unfortunate enough to work retail would slip you a coupon to share in their discount. In the electronic age this is mass mailed to consumers everywhere. Invites can be googled, I have also been sent these via, email, Facebook and Twitter. Discounts range from 10-50% off!



10. My Bible.-
Redflagdeals.com. Okay I didn’t want to share but I did. This place is the Mecca for all things on sale. If it’s happening it’s on Redflagdeals.com

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