How to navigate discounts and be a smart buyer

There is something very pleasant about getting a lot. Maybe you’ve done a lot of research and found the best deal, or maybe you just got lucky and walked past the checkout counter. No matter who not Do you like good discounts?

But big sales, including Black Friday, may encourage us to spend money. more. In anticipation of a mega sale, many well-intentioned buyers end up buying more than they expected and even going into debt to pay for their so-called “deals.” In fact, every fourth customer spends three months paying for your vacation expenses. And 42% of Black Friday shoppers regret their purchase. ūüė≥

Not only are we addicted to the idea of ‚Äč‚Äča bargain, but stores often use certain tactics that make us count we get better deals than we do.

Whether you’re participating in the Black Friday sales for holiday shopping or browsing the sale for your normal business, don’t fall for false discounts and don’t let a “good sale” get you into debt. Instead, learn to pay attention to misleading deals and make a plan of action to get the most out of your shopping trip.


What to look for when buying at a discount

As tempting as the deal may seem, it’s worth thinking twice before swiping a card. The truth is that retailers use certain strategies to get us count we get a better deal than we do.

The very idea of ‚Äč‚Äča deal is enough to make any innocent buyer spend much more than he planned. Because when you think you’re getting a lot, you tend to buy more than you need, often spending more in the process. Costco, anyone?

But by knowing these general selling strategies and what to look out for, you can head into Black Friday with a keen eye and a strategic shopping plan.

Rule 100

The “Rule of 100” describes a strategy retailers use to trick consumers into thinking they are getting a bigger discount than they actually are. The rule says that the closer the number is to 100, the greater the discount.

For example, let’s say a $20 candle sells for $15. Because of the 100 rule, you will most likely see this discount advertised as a 25% discount, not a $5 discount. Of course, they have the same discounts. But since 25 is closer to 100, a 25% discount looks like a better deal.

If you’re doing comparison shopping, don’t be fooled by the 100 rule. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples – even if it takes a bit of math – to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Price binding

You know those sale tags that show you – next to the new discounted price – what the item is. used cost before going on sale? Beware of this kind of price comparison, as retailers often use this tactic, called price pegging, to make a deal more attractive.

Retailers use price anchoring to give shoppers an “anchor price” that they can refer to when comparing the selling price of an item. But often the anchor price is arbitrary. Retailers sometimes display an inflated anchor price to make the discount look more enticing.

Don’t fall prey to misleading price anchors by knowing the current rate on what you’re buying. Check the item’s anchor price before deciding if the discount is valid. actually any good one.

Read more: How to Hack Cyber ‚Äč‚ÄčMonday: 10 Tips from an Online Shopping Pro

Shop cards

Store cards, like discounts, tend to make you spend more. Shop cards encourage you to make a lot of purchases (at your favorite store, no less!). Also, you may feel pressure to “get the most” out of your card by buying a lot. Not to mention, these signup bonuses make it hard to say no when you come across a simple app.

Before issuing a store card, carefully read the terms and conditions. Store cards often have lower credit limits, higher interest rates, and limited benefits‚ÄĒall of which, objectively speaking, are not beneficial for a credit card.

If you use a store card, make sure you shop frequently at that store. For example, the Target RedCard gives you a 5% refund on all store purchases – what if, like me, you shop at Target for allthis is a very good deal.

Read more: Is a store card a good first credit card?

How to make discounts work for you

So, you have protection in place. You know the strategies retailers can use to get you to spend more and you won’t fall for it. But to get the most bang for your buck and make your Black Friday shopping trip worthy of waking up early from your pie-induced sleep, you also need some serious attack.

That’s where these tips on how to make discounts work for you come in handy.

Shop within a store

In our time of online shopping, we are all guilty of adding one too many items in our digital shopping cart. I mean, come on, it’s too easy.

For example, you understand that you can get free shipping if you spend only $25 more. What other t-shirt if it gives you free shipping?

Then there is the return trap. Sure, finding a free return isn’t that hard, but are you really going to the post office to send back an overly tight sweater? Or are you going to forego the refund and pass it on to your sister?

All of this leads to us inadvertently spending more than we planned when shopping online. And as fun and convenient as it can be, shopping online can quickly get out of hand.

Instead, make in-store discounts whenever possible. You won’t have to worry about shipping, you’ll be less tempted to add extra items to your actual physical shopping cart and you’ll be able to see, touch and try on before you buy – this means that you are unlikely to have to make a return.

Use coupons wisely

We’ve all heard of extreme coupons, and yes, they can be pretty extreme (have you seen the TLC show?). Coupons can have the same effect as other discounts – they can encourage us to spend more, often on things we don’t really need.

But every once in a while a valuable coupon pops up that can give you a great discount on whatever you buy. Check the flyers and brochures of the stores you plan to go to, check their websites for special offers, and download store apps for more coupons.

It helps to know exactly what you’re looking for when using coupons – otherwise you could stock up on toothbrushes for 10 years when you really needed a new hair dryer. Which brings me to my next point…

Know what you are looking for before you go shopping

If there’s a surefire way to overspend and end up with a bunch of stuff you don’t need, it’s going to the store without a plan. It’s the same as when you go to the grocery store – if you go without a list, you just get all sorts of little things that sounded good at the moment but are useless when you’re trying to make a real meal.

Read more: How to cut your grocery bill by 90%

Plan for discounted shopping, especially on big events like Black Friday. Make a list – an actual list, on paper or on your phone – of what you want or need to buy. Check each item on your list, thinking about Why do you want this. If the only reason you can think of is “because it’s a sale,” cross it off the list.

Your list will not only help you stay on track by helping you avoid over-buying and overspending your budget, but it will also help you save time. Use your list to identify the stores you want to visit, search for coupons ahead of time, and compare online purchases before you go.

Take advantage of student discounts

Ah, the privileges of being a student. Oddly enough, I never realized how great these privileges were until after graduation – when I found out I could get a $2,000 ski pass for just $800. (Not that I would have thrown away a cool $800 as a college student, but still…what a deal!)

In any case, these perks often come with all sorts of discounts, so if you’re a student, take note. Big companies offering great student discounts include Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and Hulu, but there are plenty of other offerings as well. Be sure to look into student discounts when looking for great deals. You may be surprised by the offers you will find at any time of the year.

Check out the return policy

Whether you’re shopping for gifts for friends and family, or shopping for yourself, it’s important to keep returns in mind. Maybe this dress looked cute on a hanger, but now that it’s hanging in your closet, you’re not sure. Whatever you buy (and who you buy it for), learn about the return policy. before you go shopping.

If you’re shopping on Black Friday, please check the specific holiday policies for the stores you’ll be shopping at. These return policies are likely different from the standard policies, so be sure to read them and find out before you go. No matter how good a deal is, it’s worthless if you can’t get your money back when and if you need it.


Discounted shopping isn’t always what it seems. Salespeople go out of their way to make sales seem too good to be true by encouraging us to spend more than we planned. But knowing what tactics to fear as well as how to find the best deals can help you get the most bang for your buck when shopping at a discount.

Featured Image: Golubovy/

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