Sale Savvy

by Erin Steiner | May 27th, 2008 | Sales

Summer is sale season for retailers. Memorial Day kicks off the season with huge savings in just about every national retailer, and the sales continue all the way through until Labor Day. With so many great excuses to go shopping, how do you make sure that you don’t end up spending too much money?

1. Remember that retailers are crafty. Think of how most sales work: buy something at regular price, get something at half off. Buy three of something, get one free. These are all incentives to get you to buy more than you usually would. Do you need four boxes of a cereal you only eat once a year? Would you normally be purchasing a hardcover book, or would you be waiting for the paperback? Ask yourself if you really need the full priced item before buying it just to get the second item at a sale price.

2. Understand that the urge to buy is often counterintuitive to the urge to save. People often buy far more than they need (or would normally want) because something is on sale. If the pair of jeans you love has finally been marked down, by all means snatch them up! Just be careful that you don’t use the money you’ve saved to validate purchases of other items that you wouldn’t normally buy—just because you suddenly feel like you have “extra money” burning a hole in your pocket.

3. Plan your sale excursion ahead of time. Look for information about the sales before you leave the house. The store websites will usually give a rundown of what kind of sale prices are being offered and which items are “marked to go.” Decide which sales you most want to attend, and once you’ve attended them, come home!

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