Shop, save at stores
I'm sure you've seen the crazy television advertisements for J.C. Penney of the women screaming as they realized they missed a big sale. Then a date and a referral to its Facebook page flashes on the screen. It was the big launch of the company's new marketing strategy of a permanent 40 percent markdown of all its merchandise.
Wouldn't it be nice if all department stores did this? I wanted to find out how we can all save more in these stores. Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., offers tips to get the most value out of every trip to the department store.
Befriend sales associates. Though your knee-jerk reaction to eager salespeople may be "I'm just looking," consider taking them up on their offer to serve you. Building a rapport with a sales associate leads to the inside-track on upcoming sales and yields better customer service.
Mobile coupons to the rescue. How often have you left a coupon at home or failed to print it out? I use the Coupon Sherpa mobile app, which gives me access to mobile coupons to use in-store.
Shop Thursdays. Department stores often mark down clothing on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend shoppers. Save your Saturday for lunch with the girls and a matinee, and turn Thursday afternoon into a savvy shopping day. Consult SmartMoney's guide at smartmoney.com.
Keep receipts. In an effort to declutter our cars, purses and file cabinets, receipts often are tossed after a purchase. But it's a good idea to hang on to them for up to 30 days should the item you bought receive a price reduction. That can score you savings.
Gift yourself (and your wallet). If you're anything like me, you've already burned through those gifts cards you received over the holidays. Nothing compares to spending someone else's money on something you want, but using discount gift cards comes pretty close. Save up to 35 percent instantly when you buy gift cards at less than face value from such sites as GiftCardGranny.com.