How to Never Pay Full Price for Products

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shotcaller

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Would you believe I have almost mastered how to never pay full price for any product (and sometimes service) again? I can’t say I’ve fully integrated it into our lives yet because some retailers absolutely refuse to give me discounts or even cashbacks (the nerve, right?). However, I think I’ve been successful at it, for the most part.

How do I do it? Admittedly, there was a bit of hemming and hawing in the beginning. I felt embarrassed even to use cut-out coupons for my groceries, and wouldn’t even dare ask for a discount for specific merchandise and goods. However, our need to be thrifty and build up our nest egg outweighed my social awkwardness. Now, even my kids have been known to try out these nifty life hacks in their daily dealings.

So today, I want to share five tips with you on how to avoid paying full price on certain merchandise. They are practical, handy, and yes, even fun – so go ahead and give them a try the next time you go shopping.

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Use cashback apps

When a friend first suggested downloading a cashback app for big discounts, I flat-out refused. See, I can sometimes be too thrifty to the point of being unreasonably cheap. I thought that adding another app on my smartphone would slow it down and that I would need to buy more memory just to accommodate all the stuff I already have on it.

It turns out my fears were unfounded (my phone could accommodate new apps without any trouble). I first tried Ibotta, which allows me to get cashbacks on both in-app and in-store shopping for featured offers. I got so addicted to it that I also downloaded Ebates, which right away earned me a $10 bonus on my first purchase. I also receive cashback payments from both these apps via PayPal, which makes getting my money back so convenient.

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Schedule shopping during sale season

Oh, what would my wife and I do without sales? They are practically the backbone of our family's budgeting activities!

I’m proud to have a spreadsheet detailing the sale seasons of my favorite retailers and shops. It helps me keep track of which stores are slashing their prices on which items (and when), and consequently, I can budget around those schedules and details. Using my reference, I’ve bought some discounted shoes for my kids in time for the new school year, as well as stock up our pantry with select grocery items that are on sale or are part of a seasonal promo. As an added and welcome bonus, knowing when sales are held helps prevent impulse buying because we all know there’s a particular time to buy a specific item.

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Go coupon-hunting

Remember my initial trepidation at coupon-shopping? Well, I am happy to report that I’m way past that – well into almost pro-level coupon-hunting!

Aside from my favorite cashback apps which also offer some coupon functionality, I have also learned to keep my eyes peeled for grocery coupon fliers along with the ones that find their way in my mailbox. I used to throw those away or repurpose them as wrapping paper, but now I really scour them for offers I can use, thanks to my wife's "gentle" reminders. I’ve also signed up with some of my favorite retailers for email coupon notifications on promos and discounts. These “discount clubs” have allowed us to enjoy birthday freebies (even small cakes are welcome treats when you’re thrifty!), rebates on gas and grocery items, and big discounts on bulk purchases.

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Try thrifting!

“Thrifting” is what I’ve come to call second-hand shopping and frequenting flea markets and garage sales. With it, I don’t pay full price for clothes and other everyday items anymore – or at least, not as often as I used to.

It’s not as uncultured as it sounds, believe me. There are lots of treasures to be found in places other than retail shops and chain stores. In fact, some of my most cherished possessions were bought from non-traditional locations! My first stop for thrifting would always be our community yard sales, which are held regularly every springtime near our neighborhood park. I’ve been part of the organizing committee for some of them, and it’s always a fun, neighborly experience. We got lots of good quality children’s clothes, books, and toys from these sales at almost give-away prices.

I also go to eBay and other consignment platforms online. I particularly like eBay because it encourages sellers to post clear photos and list down all possible flaws (more on this later) on the items they are selling. Doing this allows you to manage your expectations regarding the condition and quality of the thing you intend to buy. I got several decorative and functional pieces for the home via these platforms, and they were all affordable and in excellent condition.

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Get discounts for tiny flaws

I must admit that this is one of my favorite methods to never pay full price again. I scour department stores and even specialty stores for merchandise that are still functional and don’t look too shabby, yet may have tiny flaws in them. I’m talking about a bit of crazing in porcelain and dinnerware, a small chip on an otherwise perfect plant pot or vase, some loose thread or button on a shirt or sweater, and other unnoticeable details that can knock off a sizable discount from the original price tag. I figured that if it’s something I can easily repair, replace, or even ignore, then it’s worth it not being in mint condition.

I also learned a valuable tip from a friend who is even thriftier than I am. If you can, try getting the display model for a huge discount! She has gotten several laptops and gadgets this way. They were still functioning optimally and only needed some wiping down to look brand-new. When it was my turn to try this method, I managed to buy a couple of pairs of sneakers that were the past season’s window display, and they happened to be my size, too! They no longer came in a box, but they were not discolored, didn’t have scuff marks, looked pristine – and only cost half the original retail price.

So don’t be shy about asking for discounts if an item is no longer brand-new or in mint condition. Never mind if it doesn’t come in a box – you would be throwing that away, anyway.

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