Looking to save some serious moolah?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! We all know that feeling of pure joy when we snag an incredible deal or get a hefty discount on our favorite products. It’s like a victory dance for our wallets and a high-five to our savvy shopping skills.
Whether you’re a seasoned bargain hunter or just someone who wants to keep a few extra bucks in their pocket, this article is your golden ticket to the land of unbeatable deals and jaw-dropping discounts.
So fasten your seatbelts, get your shopping lists ready, and let’s embark on a thrilling adventure in search of the best deals this universe has to offer! Who said saving money couldn’t be an absolute blast? Let’s dive right in.
Where to Find the Best Deals and Discounts
Finding the best deals and discounts can be an exciting way to save money and maximize your budget. Here are a few places where you can often find great deals:
1. Flash Sale Websites
Websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Hautelook, Gilt, Rue La La, and Zulily offer limited-time deals on various products and services including designer brands, luxury, travel, dining, beauty, and more.
I love hopping on Groupon when I’m looking for something local because I can usually find great deals on activities, beauty treatments, restaurants, and more! I never pay full price for things anymore.
2. Coupon Websites
Visit popular coupon websites such as Coupons.com, HoneySmartSource, RedPlum, and RetailMeNot, to find printable or digital coupons for a wide range of products and retailers.
I love searching on these sites for coupons AFTER I already have a list of things I need to buy. If I can find a coupon for something I’m already going to purchase it’s a huge win.
I always caution against getting too blinded by coupons. Some coupons may seem like such a good deal that you end up buying products and items that you don’t really need or don’t actually work that well just because they seemed like they were a great deal.
3. Cashback and Rebate Apps
Install cashback and rebate apps like Rakuten (formerly Ebates), Honey, Swagbucks, Ibotta, Fetch, and Checkout 51 on your smartphone. These apps allow you to earn cashback or receive rebates on eligible purchases from participating retailers and they’re super easy to use.
They either are installed on your browser and will automatically apply to your online purchases at the click of a button or you can upload a photo of your in-store receipt. You can use all of these to save a little bit on your purchase across multiple apps, and it can really add up.
4. Social Media
Follow your favorite brands and retailers on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They often share exclusive deals, promotions, and coupon codes with their followers. I especially recommend doing this when you’re looking to make a bigger purchase.
For example, I wanted to buy my kids one of those cool triangle climbing and rocker toy sets, but it was over 1000 dollars for the set. I followed the brand I liked and started to get a good feel for their sales cycle. At one point they put the entire bundle on sale for 30% off and I was able to save over 300 dollars on it plus receive a couple of other play items as gifts. Definitely worth it.
5. Daily Deals Websites
A lot of online retailers have deals every day, but they don’t always advertise them well. So, to save people time and the frustration of looking for sales every day, websites like empoweredshoppers.com have daily deals sections where they will alert users of the best deals each day. all you have to do is check in quickly and see if there are discounts on products you regularly use.
You can also sign up for their daily deals emails to make sure you never miss a deal!
6. Comparison Shopping Engines
Utilize comparison shopping engines such as Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, CamelCamelCamel, and Shopzilla to compare prices from different online retailers to find the best deals. These items are great for those household items that you always have to buy as they allow you to know which stores are generally the cheapest as well as your big ticket items to ensure you’re getting the best price.
7. Use Google Image Finder to Search For Similar Products Under Different Names
There are some industries, like furniture and home decor, where a lot of different stores will sell the same couch but call it a different name. Luxury brands will mark up the couch by hundreds while your bargain brands will mark it up by far less.
So, whenever I’m about to buy furniture, I search for the image, use Google Image search to find the image across the web, and then I’m able to see which store has the best price. I’ve saved thousands of dollars furnishing my house this way. Here are more details on using google image search to save on furniture.
8. Local Farmer’s Markets
Support local vendors and farmers by shopping at farmer’s markets in your area. You can often find fresh produce, baked goods, artisanal products, and more at reasonable prices. I absolutely love when it’s farmer’s market season. We get so much fresh and amazing food for far less than in the store.
9. Freebie Websites
Explore websites like Freebies.com and FreeSamples.org, which provide information about free samples, giveaways, and promotional offers from various companies. Companies give out free samples both for marketing and also to receive honest feedback and reviews.
10. Outlet Malls and Stores
Visit outlet malls or specific brand outlet stores where you can find discounted prices on products directly from the manufacturer. They typically feature a collection of discounted brand-name items offering lower prices on clothing, accessories, home goods, and more. After you start shopping at outlet malls and stores, you’ll have a hard time going back to a full-priced mall.
11. Online Forums and Communities
Participate in online forums and communities focused on deals and discounts. Members often share information about the latest promotions, coupon codes, and exclusive offers they come across. Most of the big forum sites like Reddit or Quora have sections and threads dedicated to deals.
12. Store Newsletters and Loyalty Programs
Many retailers offer exclusive deals and discounts to their newsletter subscribers or loyalty program members. Signing up for these programs can give you access to special promotions and access to rewards programs as well. These loyalty programs can provide you with access to exclusive discounts, early access to sales, stackable rewards, and personalized offers.
They usually take a little bit to stack up before you can redeem anything substantial. So, while I don’t sign up for loyalty programs at every single store I shop at, I definitely make sure to sign up for my regular stores and have saved hundreds just by doing this.
13. Warehouse Clubs
Consider joining warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s Wholesale Club. These clubs offer bulk discounts on a wide range of products, including groceries, electronics, household items, and more. You know I love all of these warehouses due to their amazing deals. They’re especially great for large families.
14. Clearance Sections
Explore the clearance sections of your favorite retailers, both in-store and online. Many stores have dedicated clearance racks or sections where you can find heavily discounted items that you won’t find online.
You can also find many items online that you won’t see discounted in-store, but if you can find that same item in-store, most stores will price-match to the online clearance price.
I never leave a store without checking out the clearance sections first. Sometimes it’s a bust but sometimes it’s incredible.
15. Student, Teacher, and Military Discounts
If you’re a student or part of the military, take advantage of special discounts offered by retailers, technology companies, software providers, and entertainment venues. Always carry your valid student or military ID to avail yourself of these discounts.
Bonus tip: If you’re about to graduate, renew your ID right before so that you can hang on to your discount for a little bit longer.
16. Price-Matching Policies
Some retailers offer price-matching policies, where they match or beat the prices of their competitors. Research and take advantage of these policies to ensure you’re getting the best price possible. Especially when making a large purchase.
17. Go Back and get Sale Pricing
Ever had that crappy feeling where a big ticket item you just bought has a great sale just a couple of weeks later? Well, you can generally go back to the store and ask for a refund to match the sales price if the purchase was recent.
This is especially effective if your item is still within the return window as most stores will want to avoid you returning the first used or opened item just to rebuy the sale item. So next time you miss a sale give this a try.
18. Seasonal and Holiday Sales
You can save so much money just by shopping ahead during sale periods. Most retailers follow general sales cycles, so look up online when the best time to buy things like summer clothes, furniture, electronics, etc, before buying. Most of the time you can wait a month or two before the next sale happens.
Keep an eye out for seasonal and holiday sales, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, back-to-school sales, and clearance events at the end of each season. These sales often feature significant discounts on a wide range of products.
19. Local Classifieds and Garage Sales
Browse local classifieds websites or visit garage sales in your area. You can often find gently used items at discounted prices, ranging from furniture to electronics and clothing.
Just be smart about how you shop. Never pay money upfront and always ask to meet in a public location. Some cities every have designated spots for meetups that are monitored by cameras and such to keep you safe.
20. Local Flea Markets, Thrift Stores, Etc.
Also explore any local independent stores, thrift shops, and flea markets, in your area, as they can often have unique items at affordable prices.
When Deals Seem Too Good To Be True: Avoiding Common Scams
While there are numerous legitimate deals and discounts available, it’s important to be aware of potential scam deals. I want you guys to save money, not lose it.
Here are some scam deals to be cautious of when you’re shopping for deals, especially online:
1. Head Cut-Off Dress Models Scam
This is a sneaky scam that even I feel for back in the day. Fake stores will steal images from real, quality stores, then crop the model’s head off and use them in their own fake shop. These stores will have some pretty good prices on the dresses, so you’ll think you hit an awesome sale.
However, the dresses they ship to you will be cheap ones made out of stretchy fabric that barely look like what you thought you were purchasing. And, since they did send you something, it’ll be much harder for you to fight to get your money back.
These stores also tend to disappear after a while and pop up later under a different name. So, make sure to look to ensure the model’s head is in the photo, do a Google image search to see if the dresses appear anywhere else, and check for store reviews and how long they’ve been in business before making a purchase to protect yourself from these scams.
2. Cheap Products but Expensive Shipping
I see these types of scams a lot in the baby industry and jewelry industries. A company will give you a huge discount or coupon on their products, making you feel that you’re getting an incredible deal, then charge a ridiculous amount for shipping, like $20 bucks. The true price of the product is hidden in the shipping price, and the product you’re getting is generally a cheaper product than you can find in your local typical online retail stores.
For example, I had a friend buy an off-brand Bobby from a 50% off baby coupon she was given. The shipping was $20 dollars and it ended up costing her about the same amount as a real Boppy would cost. However, the fake Boppy she got was small and poorly stuffed, basically unusable. So, while she technically got what she paid for, she was very unhappy with her purchase.
3. Fake Social Media Sales
Be cautious of unfamiliar websites offering incredibly low prices on popular items. These sites may be scams aiming to collect your personal information or money without delivering the promised product.
For example, I recently saw an ad for a “Mega-Bounce House Blow Out Sale” where you could get an entire bounce house for just $30 dollars since they needed to clear out the warehouse immediately.
Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is.
If you look at the URL it’ll probably look scammy and if you search the store name for reviews, you’ll probably find none.
They may, however, steal a reputable brand name. In this case, you’ll need to check that the brand name actually matches the site URL and that it’s the real site URL for the brand.
In these cases, they’ll usually ship you something super cheap, like a postcard so that they’ll have a record of sending you something, making it harder to get your money back. Or, they’ll simply be looking to steal your credit card, social security number, and other personal information.
4. Fake Brand and Store Sites
As touched on above, exercise caution when shopping on unfamiliar websites. Some scammers create fake online stores that mimic legitimate retailers, enticing shoppers with low prices. Ensure that the website has secure payment options and a valid SSL certificate.
When a good seems too good to be true, you must always verify that you are really shopping at the real brand site. Check the full URLs, not just the bit.ly or shortened links, and then go search out the real brand and make sure they match. It’s usually pretty easy to spot a fake URL because it will have misspellings, weird periods in it, be extra long with excessive characters, or not even have the brand name in it at all.
5. Phishing emails
Beware of unsolicited emails claiming to offer amazing deals or discounts. These emails may be attempts to obtain your personal information or install malware on your device. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or providing personal information in response to such emails.
6. Fake coupons
Watch out for counterfeit or unauthorized coupons that circulate online. Verify the legitimacy of coupons by checking official brand websites or contacting customer service directly. Avoid sharing personal information to access coupon codes or offers.
7. Advance payment scams
Exercise caution when asked to pay in advance for deals or discounts that seem too good to be true. Scammers may request payment for products or services that they never intend to deliver.
8. Sweepstake & Giveaway Scams
Fraudulent ads or posts may entice users with fake deals or sweepstakes in order to claim your personal information. If a free giveaway needs access to your credit card information for you to win, it’s probably a scam and your card will be compromised. You shouldn’t need to provide payment information if you’re getting something for free.
These giveaway scams also like to look for legitimate giveaways and take advantage of people entering them.
For example, Reputable Company has a reader giveaway for a great product if you share their post and tag people in the comments. Fake Scam Giveaway makes a fraudulent account that seems like the real company’s account, with their stolen logo and as close to the company’s real name as possible.
They then go through everyone who commented and the real giveaway post and DM them saying that “hey, you won! We just need some information for you to give you your prize.”
They’re hoping that you’ll be so excited to hear from a giveaway you actually do remember entering, that you may not realize it’s a fraudulent account and accidentally give them your information.
9. Counterfeit Products
Be cautious when purchasing products from unfamiliar or unverified sources, particularly if the price seems too good to be true. Counterfeit goods are often of poor quality and may pose safety risks but can be hard to get refunds for since the companies can prove that they did send you something.
10. Overcharging or unauthorized charges
Check your receipts and credit card statements for any discrepancies or unauthorized charges. Retailers may accidentally or intentionally overcharge customers or add extra items to their purchases hoping that you won’t realize. Sometimes it is an accident, but sometimes it’s part of a scam.
11. Online classified scams
Exercise caution when buying items from online classified websites. Scammers may create fake listings for products they don’t actually possess or misrepresent the condition of the item being sold. They make ask for payment ahead of time or never deliver, or ask for payment in the form of gift cards as there is no way to return those once they’ve received them.
12. Gift card scams
Be wary of individuals or websites offering discounted or free gift cards. Scammers may trick you into providing personal information or paying upfront fees in exchange for gift cards that turn out to be fake or invalid.
13. Online auction fraud
Be cautious when participating in online auctions, especially if the seller has a limited or suspicious reputation. Some scammers may manipulate the bidding process or falsely advertise items to deceive buyers.
To protect yourself from scams, research the seller or website, read reviews, and verify their legitimacy before making any purchases or providing personal information. Trust your instincts, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it’s often wise to proceed with caution or avoid it altogether.
Happy deal hunting,
Have you snagged a great deal lately? Or do you have any more tips and tricks for scoring deals? Share with us in the comments below and help your fellow shoppers out!