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Bargain Hunting 101 - How To Be A Good Bargain Hunter

Updated on August 27, 2014

If you're anything like me, you probably don't like to pay full price for anything, especially for clothes and shoes. I'm a bargain shopaholic, meaning, I like to shop, but only for items that are offered at a discount.

Believe it or not, I'm not alone in this. You or probably someone you know does the same. Anyone in their right mind, in this economy ought to be a bargain shopper.

The Myth About Bargain Hunting

Bargain hunting has been misconstrued to be just for the poor or mid-income shoppers, but the truth is, there are many rich and famous folks out there who can afford to put hundreds or thousand of dollars into one item, but still enjoy bargain shopping. If you care about making your hard earned dollars go a long way, then you should be bargain hunting.

Other Myths About Bargain Hunting

  • You can't find good bargains at popular department stores. Wrong! If you know when to shop, I'm talking about the time of the year, department stores are usually the best place to find good bargains. I have bought stuff as Macy's and Belk's at a much cheaper price than what I got at Ross or T J Maxx.
  • Outlet Stores are a better bargain. Not always! Outlet stores can sometimes be more expensive than your local mall and department stores.
  • Thrift stores are your only bargain outlets. It is true that you can sometimes find great bargain at thrift stores, it is also true that you can find even better bargains at department and name brand stores.

What A Good Bargain Hunter Should 'NEVER' Do

If you're going to be good at bargain hunting, there are a few rules to consider, the NEVER rules and the ALWAYS rules. These rules, if followed will help you become an expert on how to make your hard earned money go a long way. The following 'NEVER' rules will help you become a good bargain hunter:

  • Never shop on impulse - This cannot be over emphasized. Impulse shopping will 99% of the time waste you money, and it almost always end up with you going back for an exchange or refund. So never shop on impulse.
  • Never shop at the urging of a friend (neighbor, colleague etc.) - If you have to shop, let it be your decision, not that of a friend. You're more likely to buy something you don't need if you go shopping at the urging of someone else. It helps to always have a budget and plan and stick to it.
  • Never shop when you're pressed for time - Don't try bargaining on an item when you feel pressed to use the restroom. You are more likely to give in to the pressure of nature calling and buy at a higher price than the item is worth, especially when you have a salesperson breathing down your neck.
  • Never shop while on a tour or a cruise - Items that appear to be a bargain may actually be over-priced and/or of poor quality. And if you have to buy anything at all (for souvenir), stay away from high tag items.
  • Never buy at the urging of a store salesperson - Salespeople are trained to bring in as much as they can, even if it means lying to you about a product or service. Do your homework. Know the facts about the product or service and don't be swindled into buying something you know nothing about.

These are not do or die rules, you can always use your discretion based on your own bargain hunting experience.

What A Good Bargain Hunter Should 'ALWAYS' Do

Now, lets take a look at some of the Always rule. These rules are not laws, and I'm not claiming that it will yield you the results it yielded me. It's all common sense. In my case I have followed this rules and found out it works. So hopefully it will work for you.

The ALWAYS Rules

  • Always shop out of season - I've already stocked up for next year's summer wear by buying clearance items that are making way for new winter inventory. Most department stores will put their summer/spring collections on clearance around mid-August to early October. That's usually when I buy what I'll need for the following year.
  • Always shop during sales period - You are bound to pay less than those who buy early. Back in my college days, I used to work for a big department store and what I observed was that items can go from having an initial price tag of $80 - $99 to a price tag of $5 - 15 during sale or clearance period. It makes sense to wait a couple month's for the lower price except you really need the item right there and then.
  • Always buy what you need, not what you want - The problem with a lot of people is that they always buying stuff just because it's on sale or on clearance. I've observed many of my neighbors buy something just because it was on sale, only to turn around and sell it for less than was paid for it at their garage sale. That, my bargain hunter friend, would be a waste of your resources. Just because an item is on sale doesn't mean you have to buy it. So, always buy what you need, not what you want.
  • Always use coupons whenever possible - Coupons, whether grocery coupons or department store coupons are a great way to get that extra saving on an already great bargain.
  • Always pray before you embark on your shopping trip - As a believer in the power of God (and of the Holy Spirit) to lead me always into a place of blessing, I must say that this rule has worked for me every time. It may sound out of place but, believe me, it is not. We are commanded to pray ALWAYS. So I pray for favor and direction to places where I'll get the most for my hard earned money, and God ALWAYS hears my prayer. I have come to believe that God is interested in the little details of our lives, so why not pray before shopping or doing anything for that matter.

Bargain Outlets for Great Savings

Bargain Outlets
Specialty
eBay
You can be sure of great bargain if you're willing to invest time in bidding for items that sometimes go the last bidder at prices much less than the item value.
etsy
If you're looking for great bargains on hand-made and custom-made items, etsy is the place to go. Sellers are always willing to work with you.
Craig List
You'll find great deal for just about everything you need here.
Bookoo.com
A great place to shop for fairly new and used items locally.
Goodwill
Your local Goodwill may be hiding some good treasures.
My neighborhood Goodwill. A great place to find great bargain
My neighborhood Goodwill. A great place to find great bargain | Source

Do You Carefully Plan Out Where, When & How To Shop, Or Do You Shop On Impulse?

See results

Bargain hunting is a skill in itself. It requires shopping at certain time and place. Knowing when to shop, where to shop, and how to shop are keys to developing the skills needed to be a wise bargain hunter and save yourself some money.

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Author: Comfort Babatola - Updated August 2014

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Like you, I love a good bargain. Thanks for these helpful reminders. I usually plan but sometimes something beautiful at a big discount is difficult to pass up. I also believe in praying. Many times I thank God for leading me to a sale on something I really need. Thanks. Voted USEFUL.

    • sallyhatcher profile image

      sallyhatcher 5 years ago from Golden, Colorado

      nice one

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      Thanks MsDora & sallyhatcher for stopping by and for your comments.

    • drpastorcarlotta profile image

      Pastor Dr. Carlotta Boles 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

      GREAT Hub! I loved it when you said: "Always pray before you embark on your shopping trip." AMEN! Voted this Hub UP!!! Be Blessed!!!!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      I know the concept of praying before you go shopping may be foreign to some, but I'm glad you and others who have commented doesn't think so.

      Thank you for your comment drpastorcarlotta. Be blessed yourself.

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 5 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      Awesome hub, Comfort B., I do know how to shop for bargains, and so does my daughter. When my daughter was young, she never wanted to wear anything I bought her at the thrift stores, but now, at the age of 23, she knows how to shop there. And dollar stores are the best thing invented! Check out my hub, How To Teach Your Children The Value Of Money.

    • lafamillia profile image

      lafamillia 5 years ago from Soutcentral Europe

      Well, anyone should be happy if she/he HAS that dollar in pocket. Many of us, don't have any (dollar,euro...) to purchase bread....

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @CMCastro - Thanks for the comments, and I'll do stop by and read that hub.

      @lafamillia - Hello hang in there, only trust God for He is able to turn your situation around. I believe it, in no time you will have not just enough for yourself, but also to bless others. Thanks for your comment.

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 5 years ago from hub

      I agree shopping while in a hurry, just takes the enjoyment out of it. As far as service sales people?...in my experience it is hard to even get people to help you, with a genuine heart of patience:). Great topic of instruction!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @heart4theword - Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 5 years ago

      I am like you a bargain hunter and this hub is a must read for anyone wanting to know the inside secrets of saving money.

      I cannot pay full price on principle. It's in my DNA lol

      Great hub voted up interesting and useful

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @molometer - Thanks for the votes and for taking time to read.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I love shopping of a bargain. People don't realize that you really don't need to pay full price for most things. I've gone in a department store the same day as visiting discount stores and seen the exact same products at the two places, but at very different prices.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      You are so right Natashalh! I actually just came from shopping for bargain price home decor accents. Big lots, hobby lobby etc. They got them all, for less than department store prices.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • profile image

      cbarbar 4 years ago

      ComfortB, I really love this article! I have been doing my best to spend my money wisely ever since I left school. I especially try to buy things out of season and only when I feel what I am buying is a need and not necessarily a want. If I want to buy a want, I usually think about it for a while and save or plan ahead. Voted up!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 4 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @cbarbar - I'm glad you find this useful. I too try to only buy what I need, not what I want. It's a good way to save.

      The difference between paying full price for an item and saving 75% on the same is, planning ahead, and waiting for the item to go on clearance.

      Impulsive buying can be costly.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Very well appreciated.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi ComfortB,

      Great tips, how often we get carried away by the urge that we shop on impulse. I will remember some of these tips. Voted up, useful and shared.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      You are speaking my language, ComfortB. Love this hub! I do a lot of this stuff, have been for years. It's always amazing to me how so many women I know hate shopping. Whaat!? It is definitely a passion, combined with skill, that takes a lot of patience. I've never looked through a clearance rack that I didn't look through at least twice. Up and useful.

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @dwachira - Impulse buying are reserved for those items that are absolutely, inevitable, last one on the shelf, on-of-a-kind must-haves.

      Yet to see those though. So I'm a fan of good bargain. Thanks friend, for the vote, comment, and share. :)

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @janshares - Glad to see we're in the 'Frugal' Bargain club together Jan. We get the best for less. That's what makes shopping fun.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

    • amazaving profile image

      Amazaving 2 years ago

      Some useful information in here. Thanks!

    • ComfortB profile image
      Author

      Comfort Babatola 2 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      @amazaving - You're welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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