Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch prepares you for the 4th of July shopping weekend with these tips.
America knows how to throw a good birthday party, complete with sunshine, fireworks, barbecue fare and of course, incredible deals. Fourth of July sales are as American as apple pie and hot dogs, and this holiday represents a great time to stock up on summer essentials for less to last you and your family through the season.
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Like any retail event, however, there are some do's and don'ts associated with landing the deepest discount. Read on for several shopping strategies that promise you bigger savings this Independence Day.
Know what to expect. It's important to know what the deals will be before you head to the stores. Typically, you'll find the best pricing on summer apparel and accessories (including swimwear), outdoor gear like climbing, camping and biking equipment and select BBQ grills. While stores will promote savings on patio furniture, however, the better discounts come toward the end of summer. Review circulars using the Flipp app before heading out to make a shopping plan. For more details on these offers, check out DealNews' analysis.
Consider what you need. You're never saving money on something you wouldn't otherwise buy if it wasn't on sale. Before you shop, consider what you need and then set your sights on purchasing only these items. Look through your closet and take note of clothing and other goods you already own so you don't come home with yet another colorful maxi dress or pair of gladiator sandals. Also take stock of your patio furniture and outdoor gear, noting any gaps or anything that needs to be replaced.
Think ahead to next year. Don't just take your immediate needs into consideration: end-of-season sales are the perfect time to stock up on items you can use next year, too. For example, anticipating your child's size next year will help you outfit him or her for less on discounted styles perfect for next year's summer heat. If your swimsuit will only last through this season, purchase a new suit for less to tide you through future seasons. Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less features these tips and more in her post, 10 Smart Ways to Save on Clothing.
Make a list. Despite your best intentions, bright red signs with SALE in big letters will sway you into browsing racks and departments filled with things you don't need. Prepare yourself for the tunnel vision you'll need to keep from overspending by creating a list of the items you want to purchase. It may seem like an odd strategy for shopping outside of the grocery store, but it's helpful in keeping your focus while your senses are being seduced by clever marketers and visual merchandisers.
Have your smartphone ready. Knowledge is power, and key to educating yourself is the ability to look up information on the fly. Load up your smartphone with money-saving tools including a price-comparison app like ShopSavvy. Since summer apparel is a big Fourth of July buy, many apparel retailers will offer extra savings in the form of coupons to tempt you to spend. Check outCouponSherpa.com for a comprehensive list of online and in-store deals, like a JCPenney coupon to save an extra 15% off your $100 order this weekend.
Price-match and price-adjust. When shopping for items sold at multiple stores, be sure to research prices and request price-matches when available. For example, Home Depot and Lowe's offer price-matching plus 10% off identical items found at several competitors. After you make a purchase during Fourth of July sales, track the price of the item for a couple weeks. If you notice the price drops further, contact the retailer and request a price adjustment. Stores like Target and Kohl's offer this perk to shoppers when you visit customer service with your receipt.
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Hold off on select sale products. While there will be many popular items on sale during Fourth of July weekend, not everything is a good deal. Laptops will start seeing discounts, but experts agree it's best to hold out until August for the biggest savings. And while BBQ grills are a good buy, they're actually a better buy in August when the summer season is really coming to a close. Finally, Apple products are rarely a good buy over the summer; it's better to wait until September when new models of products are typically released, making the previous-generation models a steal.