9 Essential Shopping Tips You Must Read Before You Make Another Purchase

Photo credit: Rachael Ray Show Aired September 09, 2015

by Lisa Lozano

Back to school shopping is just wrapping up, and the holidays are right around the corner. If you have any clothing purchases in your future, you have to read nine essential tips to make sure you’re getting the best prices!

Rule 1: Don’t Fall for Staging Tricks

Style expert Gretta Monahan shares that oftentimes, department stores will advertise with a big sign, or put items in a bin, both of which make you think the item is on sale. But that’s not always the case. Be sure to check the price to see if it actually is a good deal.

Rule 2: Buy One Get One Free is Not Always a Steal

If you see a buy one get one free sale, make sure to check the base price of the item. If the price is higher than you’d normally pay, do the math to make sure it’s a good deal.

Rule 3: Learn the Retail Rules

Gretta advises a number of things to help you break through the mystery of retail sale pricing. First, she says to talk to the associate and ask when you will get the best price, because they might know of sales in advance. Also, she advises that most items will go on sale 7-8 weeks after they debut in a store. In addition, keep tabs on a store online via their app or mailing list to be alerted to flash sales and secret deals.

Moreover, there is a difference between a ticketed markdown, where the price is marked down on the physical ticket, and an electronic markdown, where the sale is registered in the computer only. The ticketed markdown will be an item that’s headed for clearance, while the electronic markdown might be on current items. Hard markdowns will usually be the bigger discount.

Rule 4: Watch for Cross-Merchandising Tricks

Items like socks and underwear are known as “commodities” in the fashion world because you need them. But Gretta mentions that retailers will sometimes put an expensive items right near the commodities display in order to get you to buy more than just the necessity you came in for.

Rule 5: Just Because it’s in a Locked Case Doesn’t Mean it’s Expensive

Gretta says some stores will put relatively inexpensive costume jewelry in a locked case to make you think it’s so valuable that it needs to be locked up. And then you could end up paying more than you want to!

Rule 6: Start at the Clearance Rack

By the time an item makes it to the clearance rack, the retailer is probably selling it below wholesale. So why not start there first, before looking at the full-price items? You’ll notice that the clearance section might not be as well organized or neat and tidy as the other sections – this is because the retailer doesn’t want you to spend a lot of time there! Pack your patience, and you might find a great steal!

Rule 7: Follow this Shoe Trick

Gretta advises that either or suede shoes are the best way to go in terms of quality. They mold to your feet and might not give you blisters as easily as synthetic shoes. But she shares that some companies make a synthetic outer and a leather liner, so you get the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and affordability.

Rule 8: Get the Perfect Shoe Fit with These Tips

If you want comfortable-fitting shoes, make sure you have a thumb width from the end of your longest toe, to the end of the shoe. Gretta also reveals a secret – many shoe sections have a padded floor in the trying-on area. So your shoes will feel better here! Gretta suggests cruising around the store to a non-padded area to test how a shoe will really feel on your feet. She also shares that a stacked heel, wedge or platform shoe is the best value, because they will last longer than a single-soled shoe like a flat.

Rule 9: Beware of In-Store Credit Card Offers

Gretta shares that store credit cards are often the worst deal among credit cards. So even if they offer you an additional discount for signing up for the card in the store, it might not be the best choice.

Which of Gretta’s tips surprised you the most? Tell us below.

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