Paying Full Price Is for Suckers

Who doesn't love a bargain? I'm a particularly vociferous advocate of the bargain--when I snag one, you better believe you'll be hearing about it for weeks, maybe months to follow. Bargains, to me, are the stuff of legend. Like the pair of heeled leather chelsea boots I purchased four years ago for $37.50, reduced from an original retail price of $150. I'm living proof that you can live a Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle on a real freelance writer's budget. All it takes is doing your due diligence, and knowing when to let things go. Because you don't have to spend a fortune to have the things you want. Stick with me, and you'll never pay full retail for anything ever again.

1. Have a system

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I'm not going to pretend like being a bargain shopper is something that comes naturally, or something that you can just make up as you go along. It requires a system, because you must be constantly vigilant. I use Pinterest boards to track all the things I want, split into seasons. Keeping track of your wishlist is the first step in snagging a bargain, because instead of impulse buys, you can carefully curate your desires, and more importantly, track them to see when they go on sale.

2. Get a coupon app

There are plenty of sites you can search for current coupon codes for discounts (including things like free shipping). But if you want to be super savvy, download an in browser app like Honey, which will search all available codes for you at checkout.

3. Check newsletter promotions

Most sites will give you a discount for signing up to their newsletter. If you visit a certain site a lot, clear your browser's cache and cookies. When you visit the site again, most will prompt you to join their newsletter, often for a small percentage discount.

4. Are you a student?

If you're a student, the first thing you should do is check what student discount the store you're shopping at offers. These discounts are available for postgraduate students too! I use a site called UniDays, which lets you know about tons of different sites that give a discount for students.

5. Most importantly, be patient

The most important way to get your bargain is to wait. This might mean eventually missing out on the thing you were coveting -- but the one lesson I can teach about shopping is that no matter how badly you want something, soon enough something else will come along that you want just as badly. Always wait for the price to suit your budget. The boots I mentioned above were cut to half price in a sale ($75) which was still out of my range. I waited. Two weeks later they were cut in half again -- the way I see it, if you shop this way, you'll always end up with the items that were meant to be yours. And at a price that will have you laughing all the way to the bank.