Whether you’re searching online for the perfect gift, considering a major home purchase, or just doing some casual window-shopping, arm yourself with this checklist of seven shop-smart strategies to ensure you’re spending wisely and racking up savings along the way.
1. Make a list. Regardless of what you’re buying, make a plan before you shop. If you’re looking for gifts, identify who you’re buying for, have an idea of what you want to spend, and have a few gift ideas in mind that you can purchase within your budget. If you’re shopping for yourself, take inventory of what you already have and what you really need before you hit the stores.
2. Go mobile. Mobile apps can not only give you access to exclusive deals and enable you to make purchase on the go — they can help make it easier to find what you need when your browsing the aisles in bricks-and-mortar retailers, too. Home Depot’s mobile shopping app, for example, will show you product information, aisle location, and a link to a store map. Macy’s, through a partnership with Shopkick, gives you special offers and rewards for checking in to the brick-and-mortar location, and you can earn “kickbucks” by trying on clothes or scanning items that can be used towards discount coupons.
3. Know your shopping season. The best way to save big on seasonal or holiday merchandise may be to wait until the end of the season — but there are plenty of ways to save when items traditionally go on sale throughout the year. For example, June is a popular month for weddings, so deals can be found on dish sets, utensils, and other kitchen supplies. Since home improvement can take a backseat to vacationing during the summer for many, you can get great deals on home repair merchandise like paint, hardware, tools, and carpeting in June, while July is a great time to buy new appliances, including air conditioners. Find more seasonal shopping strategies in Women & Co.’s month-by-month guide to the best deals.