In my post all about the best plus size khaki jackets and coats this Autumn and Winter, I talked about how I love to grab a bargain online and how I hate to pay full price for anything. I mentioned that I might share my tips in a post soon and here I am, less than 24 hours later, writing that post. I figure that with Christmas coming up its the best time to do it and while I’m feeling inspired… here are my top tips on how to be a savvy shopper!
To me, being a savvy shopper doesn’t mean buying cheap. Its all about buying the things that you really, truly want and at the best possible price. I love the finer things in life and I’m not ashamed to admit that I like things with a name on as my dad says but I don’t see any harm in that as long as I’m making wise choices when shopping.
1. Research, Window Shop & Buy Online
While shopping on the highstreet can be a fun, girly day out, it can also mean that you miss out on so many deals and offers that are online. If you have something in mind that you want to buy, do your research online first as there’s a good chance that you can find it online cheaper or even an alternative that you prefer that you hadn’t seen in store. Sometimes it is easier to see items in real life, particularly clothes as you can touch the fabric and try them on for size, but I’ll nearly always end up googling it while I’m out, checking it is in stock and ordering it online when I get home with a discount code!
2. Find Discount Codes & Voucher Websites
Every time I buy something online, I ALWAYS check to see if there is a discount code available. This is as simple as going to Google and typing in ‘Simply Be discount code’ and it will bring up a whole list of websites that have pulled together voucher codes for that site. They’re not always valid which is a pain but I tend to make my way down the list until I find out that works which doesn’t take long at all (usually one of the top three). Once you’ve done this a while you’ll begin to notice the same sites coming up time and time again so you’ll know which ones tend to have a better success rate.
|SHOP this gorgeous rose gold bracelet HERE!|
3. Use TopCashBack
I like using voucher codes because I get the discount there and then but if there isn’t one available for the site that I am buying from then I’ll see if they are linked on TopCashBack which is a cash back website that I have been using since 2011. Basically you search for a retailer and if they’re affiliated with TopCashBack then when you click through to the retailer from TopCashBack and make a purchase, you’ll receive commission on your purchase into your TopCashback account. It isn’t quick and sometimes it can take months to get the money buy if you’re buying something online, which is why I prefer a discount code to use there and then, but if its a choice between getting some money back further down the line or not at all then I know which I would prefer!
Generally speaking, the more you spend with a retailer, the more you get back but it all adds up so whether I’m spending thousands on a holiday or £30 on hats and scarves for Christmas presents for my family, it soon mounts up. I tend to think of it as a little savings account so I’ll not look at the account balance for ages and then once of twice a year I’ll transfer it into my bank account.
4. Check Your Credit Card Benefits
For those who are good with their money, shopping on a credit card can actually earn you money. I have a cash back credit card so for the majority of purchases that I make using the card, I’ll earn a small amount of cash back for each transaction. Usually its at a higher rate for particular retailers but again, it all adds up.
Whenever I make a payment on my credit card, once I’ve got home, or once the item has arrived and I’ve decided that I’m keeping it if I’ve bought it online, then I’ll transfer the money directly from my current account to the credit card to pay that exact amount off. That way at the end of the month, my balance due will be zero but I’ll actually be given money back as cash back, loaded onto my card. My credit card provider even offers the option of leaving the cash back to mount up and then you can withdraw it when you like so this year, I’ve been leaving mine in the account ready for Christmas and last month, I withdrew it which will hit this months statement.
Not all credit cards offer this service and not every credit card is a cash back one so make sure you check your credit card benefits before spending. Its important to note that this only going to benefit you if you can comfortably afford to pay the card off and are disciplined enough to do so. Credit cards aren’t free money and no frivolous purchase is worth getting yourself into debit over.
5. Don’t Impulse Buy
Buying items on impulse is never a good idea and that goes for clothes, jewellery, holidays, gifts, electricals and anything else that might tickle your fancy. Unless you’ve got money to burn, infinite space to store everything in and there are no charities left to donate to, please don’t impulse buy things that you don’t really want or need, its just a waste. Carefully consider your purchases by reading up about them online by looking at reviews and alternatives. Decide if you really need that item by adding it to your basket and leaving it there. If you’re still thinking about it in a week or a months time, then the chances are, you really do want it and it would be worth the purchase.
Impulse buying can also mean that you end up paying more for something than you need to. By checking the item out online you’ll be able to see which retailer has the best offer and what discount codes you can use against your purchase.
|SHOP my beautiful rose gold necklace HERE!|
6. Shop The Sales & Buy Out Of Season
If you have a very clear idea of your style and size and you tend to love the same things year after year then shopping out of season can really benefit you. The Ted Baker cape that I’m wearing in this post was around £99 originally but I found it in House of Fraser in July or August for £50. I loved the colours and I knew that they suited my hair and skin tone and I knew that the wrap shape is one that I wear year after year so buying this item in the summer when it was too warm to wear it was still a great buy because I got it for such a good price and now I’m loving wearing it.
They have the Ted Banker Mondi Oversized Stripe Blanket Scarf online now (I’ve popped some links at the end of the post to tempt you but remember my tips before buying!), which is the same one that I have but in a pink colour palette and I would like to think that if they don’t sell out then it’ll go in the sale too. Its all about hedging your bets but if you see something you love and you don’t want to risk it selling out before it hits the sale, then buy it but use my tips above to help you to get the best possible price.
For clothing, you can make fantastic savings on jackets and coats by shopping in this way and if you choose a style thats a total classic then you’ll be able to bring it out year after year when the weather gets colder.
7. Think Before You Buy
Before you buy anything, have a really good think to see if you already have anything similar in your wardrobe. Earlier this year, I very nearly splashed out on this Gucci bag for my holiday to Dubai because I wanted something neutral that I could wear long over my shoulder and that would go with everything. When I really thought about it, I remembered my Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac in the biscuit shade that I wear all the time. I wear it all of the time so I don’t know why I didn’t think of it at first. I guess sometimes you get fixated on something and cant get it out of your head that it stops you from seeing clearly- the Mini Mac back is really pretty, has a long strap, is in a neutral colour and will go with everything!
|SHOP this pink batwing top HERE!|
8. Do Your Food Shop Online
When it comes to buying food for our house, I do a little bit of shopping around. Now I don’t mean driving from one shop to the next to get the best deals as A. I haven’t got time for that and B. I tend to find that if you do that, you can sometimes end up spending more money on petrol driving around all over the place. However I do mean choosing what you buy where wisely and there’s not just the cost to consider but your time and health too.
For me, I find it so much easier to do my big monthly shop online. I pick the time slot which has the cheapest delivery, which is usually the late evening ones for £1 as I figure that equates to the cost of the diesel that I’d spend going to the shop and I save so much time having someone else find the products, pack the bags and bring it home. Its time that I’m able to spend working on my business, tidying up or grabbing some time to myself so for me, it is completely worth it.
I struggle to lift heavy bags as I have a neck injury so shopping online enables me to be able to stock up on 10 tins of chopped tomatoes, 20 bottles of 17p sparkling water and the biggest bag of wholewheat pasta without worrying about doing all of the heavy lifting in and out of the car.
Once you’ve ordered your food shopping online, you’ll be able to shop from your own shopping list each time you log in too which is great if you tend to repurchase the same things over and over. When I do my food shop online, I can compare the prices of the same items such as different sizes of mayo to find the best deal or across different brands of tinned foods.
The best thing about shopping online though is that it is far easier to stick to your shopping list as you’re not tempted by all of the offers on the shelves. I simply type exactly what I want to buy in the search bar and I just buy those things rather than spending a lot more money on items that I don’t really want or need.
9. Shop Local
I’m a big believer in supporting local, small businesses so while I do my big shop online, every month I buy some pieces from local shops and find that I can actually save a lot of money doing it that way.
I buy our meat from a small, family run chain of butchers in Sunderland who offer great deals on meat packs which are not only far cheaper that the supermarkets but you get a lot more for your money and the quality of the meat seems superior.
The same goes for fruit and veg, I tend to buy ours weekly or every fortnight from the greengrocers and I find that I spend less money for more quantity and better quality.
As Im always so busy with work, I plan my trips to the butchers and greengrocers around going to the gym or the salon as they’re on my way home so I’m not wasting money on fuel going out specifically for them.
10. Buy What You REALLY Want
My last top tip is to encourage you to actually buy what you really want. Over the last year or so, I’ve realised that I don’t need excess in my life. I wanted a Chanel Wallet On Chain for years and years but I put off buying one because they’re so expensive. As a result of not buying what I actually wanted, I ended up buying black clutch after black clutch, none of which I liked as much as the Chanel. In the end, I ended up buying it anyway and I’ve never bought another black clutch bag since and I don’t see there to be a need for me too.
That’s quite an extravagant example but it can apply to anything as long as its within reason and within your budget. Life is too short to surround yourself with things that don’t make you completely happy or to eat food or have a drink that you don’t really want. So if there’s a top thats a tenner more but you really want that one, then go for it, don’t buy the cheaper one if you don’t really like it, then rather than over spending, just make cut backs in your life to make up for that extra tenner spent. Same with if you really enjoy the Green Bottle Elderflower Cordial but feel inclined to buy a supermarket brand orange cordial because its a bit cheaper, buy the one that you really want and don’t have it often, that way you’ll really enjoy it.
The key to being a savvy shopper is really about taking the time to decide what you really want, finding it at the best price, looking after it so that it lasts for years to come and most of all, enjoying it because whether its 50p or £50, you’ve worked hard to be able to buy it!
SHOP TED BAKER CAPES
What are your top tips on how to be a savvy shopper?