Bargain and save with this expert advice

As is explained by these local store owners, clipping coupons isn’t the only way to be a smart, money-saving shopper.

© bst2012, Adobe Stock

How to Score a Great Deal

“Return customers will sometimes get discounts, and there are usually volume discounts as well. Sign up for a store’s newsletter as special sales are sent out to subscribers as opposed to be advertised elsewhere or in the store.” – S. Pierre Paret, Acme Mid-Century + Modern

“If I am shopping for a major purchase, I try to do my due diligence and research where to get the best price. Also, I try to make sure that whatever it is, it is a fit for my needs and if it is clothing, that it is “me” and I am not buying just because it seems like a great deal. No matter how cheap something is, it’s not a great buy if it is never used.” –Cindy McCartney, Diva Designer Consignment

“I do my research before I go out. I go on the store’s website to find out the sales they have going on and point deals if you are a card holder. For example, if I’m going to Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus and I need a high-ticket item—I just bought some beautiful Christian Louboutin boots that were $1,400, so if I get those triple points and they give me a gift card for $200, or whatever their promotion is, and that [makes it a better deal] than if I’m going to go get them online from another place and not get a perk added to it.”
–Christina Crawford, Chic Envy

How to Bargain

“As a veteran consignment shopper, I have done this many times. I think it’s important to be respectful and reasonable. If you think something is overpriced, do a quick check on your phone for what similar items are selling for. Brick and mortar stores might be a bit more expensive because of the costs it requires to maintain a physical storefront. Add in a little local, small business padding. Also, I find I am met with much more flexibility when I take a friendly approach. For example, if you love a $200 handbag, instead of saying “You’re charging $200 for this bag? Can you do any better that that?” I’d try, “Would you consider $175 for this piece? I love this bag but it’s a bit out of my budget.” If someone asked this in my store, I would offer them a 10 percent-off coupon (which is part of our agreed upon discount structure). Everybody wins.” –Toni H. Lange, Mint Condition

“We’re not insulted if someone is trying to bargain with us, but you don’t go into Nordstrom and try to bargain. At consignment stores, there is usually a built-in bargaining system with the pricing. We price things fairly when they come in, so we feel like we’ve already done our bargaining with the consigners. We’ve already agreed to these prices.” –Christina Crawford, Chic Envy

(Shopping Deals 2017December 2017)