This past weekend, I finally got around to cleaning out my closet. I wanted to cross this task off my list for two reasons: 1. It’s always good to declutter and get rid of those things that you know you’re never going to wear (no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise). 2. I want to be smart about shopping this Black Friday weekend and that means knowing what I already have in my closet and what I actually need. Being smart about shopping also includes knowing how to save money - or even make money in some cases. Trust me when I say this - I am not a “savvy shopper.” I don’t clip coupons, I don’t scour clearance racks and I don’t stand in line at 4 AM to get the best deals. My fiancé has actually described my shopping style as that of a “drunken sailor.” Be that as it may, I have learned a few tricks along the way and thankfully for people like me, there are several awesome apps out there that make it really easy to save. If I can do it, you can do it. Trust me.
Black Friday Really Isn’t on a Friday Anymore.
It’s true. In my mind, gone are the days of standing in line outside Wal-mart at 4 AM. I personally never did this simply because I don’t see the need. I’m sure you’ve already noticed that “Black Friday” sales have started long before Friday and the sales will continue throughout December. In fact, holiday shopping might be one activity where it actually pays to procrastinate. Items will continue to be on sale and actually go more on sale as we get closer to the holidays. In addition, we now have Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Did you know there’s also Giving Tuesday, Green Monday and Free Shipping Day?
Earn Money While You Shop.
By now, most of you have heard about eBates. However, I bet most of you have not yet signed up. I know what you’re thinking - there’s no way this really works - it’s too good to be true. Listen, I am the biggest sceptic in the world and I am telling you this actually works. I have been a member since mid-2015 and I have earned $439.74. Sure, it’s not life-changing money, but why not get paid for purchasing something you are going to purchase anyways? Once you create your account, simply start your shopping trip off at the eBates site rather than the specific retailer. eBates will direct you to the retailer’s site and that’s literally all you have to do - just shop as you normally would. Every three months, you’ll receive your “big fat check” in the mail! You can use my link to earn yourself $10 once you make your first purchase!
Other great apps to check out? I actually just signed up for Dosh and am pretty excited to see how it works. It seems to be a lot like eBates, but there’s also ways to earn cash back at brick-and-mortar retailers, not just online! You have to go to the App Store to download, but can use KIMBERA99 when you sign up! I also just downloaded District and I feel like it might be a game changer. You can essentially shop a bunch of different retailers, all in one place - with one checkout.
Don’t Pay for Shipping - Seriously Do. Not.
I love online shopping and would say that 90% of my purchases are made online. It may be the years I spent working in retail, but I can’t stand going to a mall these days. That being said, nothing irritates me more than paying for shipping - so I try to always find ways around it. The easiest option is to shop at places that always offer free shipping - Nordstrom for example. Not to mention they have an unreal return policy and will price match if something you recently purchased ends up going on sale.
I also highly recommend you sign up for a ShopRunner account. Right now, you can sign up for a complimentary 3 month trial - perfect for holiday shopping! With a ShopRunner account, you get free 2-day shipping at hundreds of retailers including American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Sole Society and Neiman Marcus - just to name a few. Returns are also free!
There are also retailers that offer their own versions of a ShopRunner account - exclusive to their site. For example, Sephora offers a Flash Shipping Subscription. For $15, shoppers get unlimited 2-day free shipping for the entire year. ASOS offers a similar yearly service called Premier Delivery. If you order from these sites at least twice a year, the memberships pay for themselves. And obviously I don’t need to tell you about Amazon Prime. I literally ordered a Pack-and-Play for my son while in my hospital bed the day after giving birth and it was at our doorstep by the time we got home with him. Life. Changing.
Promo Codes are Your Friends.
Everyone loves a good promo code. Most online retailers make it pretty easy and list their current promos right on their homepages. Sephora even has a “view promo codes” button at checkout that will show you all the current promo codes available. If you don’t see a promo code, I suggest always checking Retail Me Not. Today, I was actually buying candles for my wedding and didn’t think there was any chance the retailer would have a promo code. I went to Retail Me Not and found a code for 10% off for first time customers!
Retailers want to keep you loyal now more than ever - so take advantage of what they’re offering. With the Nordy Club at Nordstrom, you earn points on every dollar you spend and are rewarded with Nordstrom Notes which can then be used like a gift card on your purchases. Sephora and Ulta both have similar programs where you earn points and are rewarded throughout the year. Even Abercrombie & Fitch now has the A&F Club and Express has the EXPRES NEXT Rewards Program. J.Crew and Madewell also have similar programs.
Cards that Reward You.
If you are putting your purchases on a card, make sure you are using a card that rewards you. If you are a Target-a-holic like myself, make sure you get a Target Red Card. It doesn’t have to be a credit card - the debit card also gets you 5% off every transaction. You also get other perks like free shipping for online orders. A lot of credit cards have awesome rewards now as well. The Capital One Quicksilver and Chase Freedom cards earn you 1.5% back on every purchase. The Discover IT card gets you 5% cash back on various purchases each quarter. If traveling is your thing, the Capital One Venture is for you - you’ll quickly be racking up airline miles in no time!
Pace Yourself: This is a Marathon - Not a Sprint.
We’ve basically come full circle and I’ll go back to the point I made earlier - make sure you are doing some planning beforehand and being smart about your purchases. Just because something’s on sale for $9.99 doesn’t mean you need to buy it if it’s something you’ll never use. And don’t be afraid to wait for a better deal. Like I said, retailers are going to keep having sales long past Black Friday. Many retailers will end up offering discounts of 50% or more, so don’t bite at the first price drop you see!
I feel like you guys are ready to get out there and crush some Black Friday deals!! If you need some gift-giving inspiration this year, check out these awesome holiday gift guides from some of my favorite Pittsburgh bloggers:
Caffeine & Cuddles - Gift Guide for Him | The Gem - Holiday Gift Guide for the Hostess | Urbanfitco. - Gift Guide for Active Women | Wellesley & King - The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide | Zoe With Love - Holiday Gift Guide for the Flower Lover | Balance & Chaos - Holiday Gift Guide for the Style Lover | Afternoon Espresso - Holiday Gift Guide for Her