Whether you’re headed to the Redmond Town Center, the Oakbrook Mall, the University Mall, or the Mall of America… Whatever your favorite mall happens to be, there are a few ways that you can actually save money when mall shopping these days!
Sometimes we just go there to hang out and other times we go there with particular items in mind, but most of the time when you head to the mall, you go with the intent of spending money.
Below are a few ways to decrease the amount of money you spend at the mall so you can keep building your savings, while still being able to buy what you need (or want!).
1. Go during sales.
Stores tend to mark their items up… sometimes a lot. During sales however, you are most likely to get items at a reasonable price. You can learn about store’s sales by the usual means of TV ads, newspaper ads, or signs. There are also usually sales during any major holiday.
But another effective way of learning about sales is by asking sales assistants. The sales associates know when a sale is approaching and which items, specifically, will be on sale. Depending on the store, the sales clerk may tell you to come back on a certain day to get your particular item, or they may even put your item(s) on hold until it goes on sale.
On a side note… Nordstrom’s has always been willing to hold my items until they went on sale, at which point they’d call me to come in and purchase them. Talk about customer service!
2. Look for coupons in the newspapers.
Each week in your Sunday paper, many of the large department stores include coupons for a certain amount: 10%, 15% or 20% off. While the coupons are typically not applicable on all items, they still provide an easy way to save a few bucks.
3. Don’t sign up for a store credit card (even if it saves you 10%).
While store credit cards sound great when they’re offered to you on the spot (what an easy way to save 10% on your purchase), they are NOT a good way to save money in the long run. Quite the contrary… they actually promote spending more money at the store since you’re not seeing the transaction of cash, you’re only seeing the swipe of a card.
Additionally, like any other credit card, they accrue interest on all unpaid bills — sometimes at much higher percentages! This explains why a lot of stores created their own credit cards. So the bottom line is… it’s not worth saving $10 or $20 when it will result in you spending much more than that in the future.
4. Do sign up for your favorite store’s mailing list.
While you should not sign up for a store credit card, you should sign up for the store’s mailing list. The store will likely send you all kinds of coupons to use in the future. Additionally, some stores have special hours for events you only can find out about through their mailings.
One word of caution: Ensure they are not giving your information out to other companies. You don’t want to be getting calls from all the telemarketers.
5. Have particular items in mind or stick to a set amount of spending money.
Before I started working off a budget, I would go to the mall with a few items in mind, but I’d always like to stop by my favorite stores. This would usually result in me buying a few items that I hadn’t anticipated. Now, I either know exactly what I am going to buy, or I’ll limit myself to spend only a certain amount of money.
I feel this method works for me because while sometimes I know exactly what I need, other times I have a general idea and can wander around until I find what I want. This method can help you control the amount of money you spend, as well as allow you to spend the money on the items you need.
6. Visit the outlet stores.
Most of the major retailers have outlet stores somewhere in the country. You should find out which ones are closest to you and visit them. Outlet stores provide the same clothing as the regular stores, however they may have a slight (most of the time not even noticeable) defect. Or they may be selling clothes that they have extra of and need to sell.
Either way, the clothes are stylish and inexpensive. You can find great bargains and get the clothing you need for half the price.
7. Visit discount stores.
Discount stores such as Marshalls or T.J. Maxx provide designer clothing at half the price. They also have many types of name brand clothing and shoes. Similar to outlet stores, items at discount stores may have minor defects. However, if you have the time to sort through all their clothes, you are bound to find some items you love at very discounted prices.
Whatever method you choose to follow, make sure you stick to a budget and don’t go credit card happy. The easiest way to save money, is not to spend it in the first place.