My purchase breakdown:
Cheap Monday Second Skin jeans orig. $65.00 sale $39.00
Lucca Couture Tribal Tube Tank orig. $39.99 sale $19.99
By Corpus Tank Dress orig. $59.00 sale $19.99
Yellow Chevron 5X7 Rug not on sale $74.00
Total: orig. $237.99 sale $152.98
Ebates 10% promo less $ 11.40
(on all but items jeans) $141.58
Ebates 2.5% cash back less $ 3.54
(received later) Total: $138.04
Savings: $ 99.95 (42%)
Here are few of my tips and tricks for your learning pleasure:
If you love it, buy it!- If you love it, chances are others do too. It WILL sell out! Especially if it's on sale! I've let a number of amazing things slip through my fingers because I was waiting for a discount or took all day to finally commit and checkout. There's no calling another store to see if they have it or hoping it will pop back in stock soon. When they're out, they're out!
Never buy jewelry from F21 online- Fortunately for me, this is a lesson learned vicariously through a friend of mine. All jewelry sales are FINAL at F21, online or in-store. I've had their jewelry bust on me before (for $3 I don't expect much), but when it comes to you already busted and you have to take the loss it's just no fun. Their stuff is cute and cheap and I own a bunch of it, but I always buy in-store after I've examined them thoroughly.
Sign up with your favorite stores- Whether online or otherwise, it's always nice to sign up with your stores. Like them on fb, follow them on twitter or pinterest or instagram, or sign up for their emails. You'll be kept up to date on new arrivals, sales, giveaways and occasional promotional codes/coupons.
Google for promos- I always google for promotional codes before I checkout. I've found all sorts of discounts, ranging from 5% off to $20 off. It's usually a code that someone has received after a purchase or from an email that they have shared online. Sometimes they've expired, but it's worth a shot. Also, if you're buying a brand that has it's own independent site (i.e. Amy Butler fabric from fabric.com) check out their site to see if there are any promos going on. I got $10 off my fabric.com order because I spent a certain amount on Amy Butler fabric alone.
Go to the source- This plays off the last tip. Sometimes When I'm browsing for promos, I find that the item I'm intending to buy is actually cheaper on the source's site. This is especially true of my history with buying airline tickets. I peruse big search engines to find which airlines have the best price, then go to the airlines' site to find even better deals. Often times you can save big by looking at a day to a week off you're original search dates (if you're flexible) on their calendars. BIG tip: Buy directly from the airline for hassle-free cancellations or changes. Making a change to a ticket bought thru engines like priceline and orbitz are impossible. The airlines are far more cooperative.
Ebay buyer beware- I started out an exclusive ebayer, but I've learned that you have to be very discriminating when buying there. Every purchase requires a lot of research! Never buy from someone who won't accept returns, always research past sales and feedback, only buy from established sellers, read descriptions very carefully, and make sure the price (including shipping) is right. Hopefully, after that you'll still be satisfied. I've had my share of fantastic buys and fails from ebay. I still buy on ebay, but I'm very particular. One thing that drives me nuts is how waaaayy overpriced things can be, especially items from places like Ikea or H&M. You're likely paying twice as much on ebay as you would in the store. This is probably because they don't sell online and you would have to drive hours (like myself) to get to their stores to buy it. Still I can't justify spending $29 on curtain panels that are $15 brand new from the store!
Don't be afraid to spend more- Counterintuitive to my last tip, I know. What I mean is that by spending a bit more you can actually save or at least come out even. ??? It makes sense I swear! Every site has a shipping policy. A few awesome sites have free shipping always, and that's a bookmark site for me. For those other sites, I recommend always making sure you meet that minimum $ requirement, even if that means going in on an order with a friend or adding more items to your cart. I often am shy about $10 on orders to receive free shipping, so I just add another item to bump me just over. Hey, I was going to spend that extra $10 on shipping anyways so I might as well get another goody for it. Many times I've spent less because the $10 item I added knocked off my $15 shipping cost. $5 in my pocket, yo! (Note: Some sites don't offer free shipping to states such as Alaska and Hawaii no matter how much you spend. So be sure to check their policy.)
Buy thru rebate sites- Sites like Ebates.com offer great reward potential. It's free to sign up and they have a database of endless stores to shop on. Each store has a rebate amount that you can receive, anywhere from 1% to 6% usually. Sometimes they offer higher cash back rewards and each store often times has a list of promo codes that you can use at checkout to compound savings. All you have to do is sign in to your account, search for the store you want to shop at and click. It will link you to the site in a separate window. It tracks your purchase and tallies up your rebate and sends you the check. One Christmas, I received $20 cash back. Make sure you stay in the window it links you to though, otherwise it won't be able to track. Also, you can receive incentive $ for getting others to sign up to. So click here to sign up thru me so I can do more shopping! :)
Hope these tips and tricks have been helpful. Happy shopping!