11 Secrets to Successful Bargain Shopping

Hoping to get better at budgeting before you finish your gift buying this Christmas?

All is not lost – especially your savings – with these essential tips for budget buying! 

Jimmy Zhong, the founder of Akagu, a "reverse auction" site that allows you to determine the price of designer clothing, shared some great tips for saving on a trip to the shops!

  • Tip 1: Subscribe to your favourite brand’s newsletters

Get organised with your inbox. By signing up to your favourite brand’s newsletters and becoming a loyalty member, you’ll be the first to hear about any sales, special offers or discount codes,” explains Jimmy Zhong, founder of Akagu, a revolutionary ‘reverse auction’ site that allows you to determine the price of the product you desire.

  • Tip 2: Shop online earlier in the day

It might sound a little counterintuitive but, if you want the best items at a great price, it’s wise to get in earlier and beat the rush. “Based on Google, visitor traffic is greatest from 2pm to 4pm so to avoid missing out, shop in the morning!” Jimmy points out.

  • Tip 3: Follow your favourite brands on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Nearly all brands and retail stores have social media pages and some even exclusively post sales and special offers on these forums to encourage this community. Following your favourite brands and retailers on social media is a great way to get the hop on the sales as soon as they pop up, says Jimmy. “Especially if you never check your email!” says Jimmy.

  • Tip 4: Compare the pair: Shop around to find the best deal

“Although it’s tempting to buy an item the first time you see it, it never hurts to shop around a bit and see if there’s a better offer out there,” Jimmy advises. Find a cool item when browsing then Google the ‘item’ description, he suggests. This can often unearth similar, if not identical, products at better price points.

  • Tip 5: Split the shipping fee

“This is for the brands that charge hefty shipping fees and for the international shoppers out there,” Jimmy suggests. If you’ve got friends or family, sisters or brothers who have a similar style to you, shop together online and buy in bulk. It can be fun and although a minimal change, it may allow you to save enough money to buy more gifts from the site, or if that fails, at least add some extra accessories to cart to complete your look!

  • Tip 6: Keep your eyes open for special discounts

Often brands and online retail stores have special discounts for certain members of the community, Jimmy points out. “Students I’m looking at you!” he enthuses. To get the best online shopping bargain, make sure you know the brands that have discounts for you. Also, employees of brands always have friends and family discounts so if you have a friend in high retail places, be sure to get added onto their mail out!

  • Tip 7: Learn common sales periods

There’s nothing worse than buying an item, then finding out it’s been slashed by 50% the week after.  We’ve all been there, so get familiar with your dates around end of season sales, suggests Jimmy. “June and July as well as December and January are your best bet!” he assures. "[But also] Keep an eye on public holidays and special events, there’s usually sales before Mother’s Day and Spring Carnival."

Hot tip: Don’t be fooled! Many Boxing Day sales start on the 24th of December.

  • Tip 8: Try on in-store but shop around online

The one downfall of shopping online is that you’re at risk of your item not fitting or just not looking as good as you imagined. “If you’ve got the option to try before you buy, there’s no harm in trying on in store but shopping around online for the best price,” says Jimmy. “Keep track of what size you are in your favourite brands – especially important for footwear!”

  • Tip 9: Be patient

Sales come around more often than you think, always give it a few weeks, you never know what offers will pop up!

  • Tip 10: Coupons, coupons and more coupons!

“If you’re on the hunt for a bargain, coupons can be a great way to go! Make sure you sign up to the coupon websites – they are dedicated to finding deals for consumers in every category of life,” Jimmy advises.

  • Tip 11: Use credit over debit cards when online shopping - and set up a PayPal account

Security is a big part of shopping online - and it's no secret the most secure way is to use PayPal. Jimmy also believes that for online shopping, using a credit card will provide you much more peace of mind than a debit card. “In a worst case scenario where someone manages to obtain your financial information online, credit cards will do less damage and are less of a hassle to block,” he says.

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