Never Pay Retail: 8 Ways To Shop Smart

Never Pay Retail Cayley Couture

Can you believe it’s December? That means Christmas is only 25 days away and it’s time to get shopping for those gifts! Maybe you’ve already started shopping or you’re already finished (you go, girl!) but if you haven’t or you’re panicking about having a small budget this year, I’ve put together 8 great tips on how to shop smart this holiday season!

A very important piece of my blog is smart shopping! You don’t have to go broke trying to keep up with beauty trends, hot accessories, and quality products. I’ve learned a few tricks along the way, which is absolutely necessary if you’re obsessed with makeup and labels! There are so many ways to get what you want without ever paying full price! About 99% of the time, I don’t pay retail! You shouldn’t either!

Below are some of my favorite ways to save at my favorite stores! P.s. number 8 is the key to it all!

  1. Sign up to receive e-mails – Usually you’ll be prompted to opt in shortly after visiting a brand or store’s website. Yes, sometimes these can get spam-y but this is a great way to save money on your favorite items that rarely go on sale especially if you’re a first-time subscriber. Often times you’ll receive exclusive deals too! Tip: if the frequency of these e-mails annoys you, mark them as “junk”. That way they’ll always be sent to the “junk” folder and you can check that folder when you actually need a deal on a particular store or item.
  2. Visit your local TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or HomeGoods store – Is anyone else obsessed with these stores? With the chain receiving 10,000 new items weekly, it’s hard not to find a great deal! They always have designer items and unique accessories, which are priced significantly lower than department stores etc. Recently I found some Stila Illuminating Liquid foundation (regularly $38) for just $12.99 and in my shade! I also ALWAYS buy my OPI nail polish from TJ Maxx. They have newer and popular shades at just $3.99 (versus $10). I just picked up “Big Apple Red“, one of OPI’s best selling shades of red!
  3. Rewards Programs – This is a must if you’re a frequent flyer! If you prefer one store for items you frequently purchase, sign up for their rewards program. My favorite is Ulta’s! They offer 20% off coupons a few times during the year, $10 off any purchase (even prestige brands) for your birthday, points which can be used as cash towards ANY item in the store, and their Platinum Rewards Program is even better! You receive free gifts on your birthday and they often run exclusive (and absolutely fantastic) deals for Platinum members. Check it out!
  4. The “Shopular” app – I love, love, love this app and it’s free! This is my go-to when I’m out shopping and need to know if a certain store is running a sale or has a coupon code out. You can select which stores you want to see in your feed or search for them as needed. Also, if you’re not a fan of my first tip, this is your app. You will receive most of the same deals and codes as those who receive e-mails from stores. Shopular also just paired up with ebates so now you can earn cash back on online purchases!
  5. Do The Math! – No seriously…. if you can’t do it in your head, pull out your phone! Here’s why I say this: Usually beauty products come in different shapes, sizes, and quantities. For example, if you buy your shampoo at Ulta, you’ll often have the option of a regular size or the liter size. If you do the math, you’ll almost always find that you get more product for your money when you buy the liter. Divide the ounces by the price and that will give you the price per ounce. Yes, you might have to spend more up front but in actuality, you’re getting more bang for your buck in the long run!
  6. Invest in a value set or kit – This goes along with number five. Before getting in line with the individual item you thought you wanted, check to see if the item is included in a set or kit. Value sets are huge money savers when it comes to makeup up and other products. I never buy my mascara, primer, or highlighter individually. I get them in a set. Most brands include the full-size version of what you want along with other items for a fraction of what you’d normally pay for each item separately. Again, you might be spending more in total, but you’re getting MORE! Find a set with a combination of products you normally use and you’re golden!
  7. Keep Calm & Go To Target – Who doesn’t love a Target run? I find myself there more often than I’d like to admit. Because of that, I decided to get a Target REDcard and I also downloaded the cartwheel app. Over the past 9 months, this has saved me over $100 according to my statement! The REDcard takes 5% off your total bill, which usually takes care of the tax! And the cartwheel app allows me to scan each item to see if there are additional deals! I also bring my own cloth bags in the store with me which saves me an extra .05 cents per bag. Oh how I love you, Target! Tip: make sure you pay your bill on time or even right after you check out because you won’t end up saving if you’re late and interest starts accruing.
  8. HERE’S THE KEY: It’s All a Waiting Game – Remember that! It’s the truth! If you wait long enough, you’ll snag fabulous deals. I realize we live in a world where instant gratification might just be our biggest downfall, but if you can learn to be patient, you will save tons! It’s so tempting to “treat yo self” and splurge on that precious, newly launched Kate Spade crossbody or those over-the-knee suede boots but I PROMISE YOU, in a few months (if not weeks), those same boots and that crossbody will be marked down or on the clearance rack. Just wait! Sometimes, and if you wait even longer, stores will offer an additional 20-40% off of sale merchandise. So dear, hold off on that new palette, check your e-mail, and wait for a holiday weekend (big sales) or the season to change! Tip: if you’re able to buy Christmas gifts AFTER Christmas, do so! My mom and I might exchange a few small gifts Christmas morning but we both know that the new Keurig we want or those fabulous OTK boots will most likely be 75% or more off the day after Christmas. So we wait and then shop ‘til we drop a week or so after Christmas!

I hope these tips have helped you! Living beautifully doesn’t have to come with a steep price tag and you don’t have to go into debt if you love fun accessories and trying new products! Next time you’re at the store or browsing online, I challenge you to find a way to pay less than full price. It can be done and it’ll become a habit once you’ve figured out what combination of these tips works best for you.

If you have a great money saving tip that I didn’t mention, please share it with me! Happy shopping, beauties!