Gasp! Gasp! There’s nothing worse than having a white coated clinician spray some newly branded perfume on to a card and waft in your face as you gently stroll through the front doors of the department store. You can get lost in a department store. Some of them have three or four floors or if you take a trip over the pond to London take an afternoon to enjoy the ultimate department store in Harrod’s. We shop at different department stores for different reasons, but here are five smart money moves tips for you if you choose to spend an afternoon trolling through racks of clothes and up and down escalators looking for a bargain.
- Start At The Clearance Racks– The upscale department stores are chock full of great merchandise. Unfortunately for you, they don’t put it in the front of the store when you start shopping. Work your way to the back of the store or to a particular department and get to the clearance rack before you look at anything else. Otherwise you won’t be able to get your mind off of that great new fancy patterned shirt you saw the moment you walked through the front door. This can be especially true for shoes.
- Get To Know One Department Store Well– All department stores have their own methodology on how they move inventory and create sales. It’s difficult to manage the deals between ten different department stores. For example Nordstrom may have a dozen separate customer incentive programs. These can include special shopping days to earn more points, cash referrals for new customers, half-off yearly men’s sales, anniversary sales, and even rewards for writing reviews at www.nordstrom.com. No matter what the store, consider getting to learn the footprint of one department store.
- Only Go With Gift Cards– We all hate getting gift cards to stores that we simply won’t use. If you get gift cards for your birthday, anniversary, or the holidays, going with these gift cards can save you money by giving you an overall budget before you even set foot in the car. If you have a $100 gift certificate, create a spending limit of another $100 to ensure that you don’t have a free for all shopaholic moment just because you have some free money.
- Become Friends With A Salesperson– I am one of the first simpletons to make the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. turn to the left when a salesperson starts coming my way. I just don’t enjoy being smothered when I’m just trying to browse through a department store. Often, we all get the feeling that a salesperson is trying to get us to purchase more and more merchandise. However, many of the salespeople know when inventory is changing or when sales and deals are coming. It might just make sense to get to know one or two of them so you get the inside track.
- Get Free Samples– There is nothing better than a few little sample goodies so you can try out different products. When it comes to men’s or women’s cologne, a small sample spritzer can last a week or two. Sometimes you can get facial scrub, shaving cream, or lip balm.
Going to the local or mall department store isn’t my favorite pastime activity. By using these five smart money moves you can make the experience a little better by potentially getting what you want and putting a few dollars in your pocket.
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Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS® Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Advisor Services, LLC (NFPAS), Member FINRA/SIPC. Oxygen Financial is not affiliated with NFPAS.