4 Smart Ways to Save Money on Special Purchases this Year

Shopping can be a blast, but it can also be explosively dangerous. Whether you’re shopping for gifts, getaways or any special items you may need for your wardrobe, family or home, it’s easy to perpetually spend much more than you intended. These four ways to save money can help you switch the trend to consistently spend much less.

Embrace the “Off-peak” Concept

Shopping off-peak refers to purchasing items when they are at their least popular or desired. No, it doesn’t mean you have to buy hard-as-a-rock strawberries when they’re not in season. Off-season fruits and veggies are actually more expensive, but other special purchases can cost much less. Ways to save money using the off-peak concept include:

  • Indulging in a luxuriously cozy new winter coat at the end of winter
  • Springing for a snazzy new bathing suit at the end of summer
  • Buying new boots, skis or snowshoes when we’re heading into spring (You are in the market for snowshoes, yes?)

Vacations can also be dirt-cheap when purchased off-peak. The travel industry has what are called “shoulder seasons,” which are the weeks before and after a peak time of travel to that particular destination.

Switch summer in Europe to spring in Europe, for instance, and you may be able to snag a rocking deal. Travel Zoo says the same holds true for the weeks before or after spring break in Florida, before or after Mardi Gras in New Orleans or before or after prime Christmas shopping week in New York City.

Skip the Impulse Buys

True, flying off to Paris at the drop of a hat can be romantic. But what if it’s summer? If you hold off in the impulse and wait to book your flight a few months down the line, you could save loads of francs you could then spend on perfume and clothes.

Realistically, most of us can’t possibly purchase a vacation on impulse due to our busy schedules, but we can be drawn toward the jazzy sandals, killer silk scarf or awesome leather tote bag that seems to be screaming our name. Hold off. Take a deep breath. Let the panic pass. Then repeat these words: “I will not drop dead this instant if I don’t buy this thing right now.”

Stores know women especially can be easily lured in by just the right placement and marketing techniques. Show them you’re boss by giving yourself at least one night to sleep on any major purchasing decision. Don’t let pushy sales people rush you into a purchase. And use the next tip to perhaps steer your decision in a different direction.

Find a Less Expensive Equivalent

You already know you won’t drop dead on the spot if you don’t buy the jazzy sandals, killer silk scarf or awesome leather tote. And we promise you’ll also survive, and your budget will thrive, if you can find a similarly alluring item at a much more alluring price.

Get the same style sandal without the designer label and you can save a bundle. Go for a faux leather or canvas tote with the same edgy look as the leather and you’ll have money left over to carry around with you. The killer silk scarf? Well, there’s really no suitable equivalent for a killer silk scarf. Maybe you can find it off-peak or on sale.

Supermarkets and big box stores often have a generic equivalent for just about anything. Check the ingredients and quality to see how well the lower-cost generic matches up with the costly, big name brand before you automatically throw the big name brand into your basket.

Check Sales before You Buy

While sales do have a mysterious way of luring us into buying things we don’t need, they can also be one of the prime ways to save money on things we do. If you’re looking to purchase a computer, stereo system or other big-ticket item, keep your eye out for special sales online or from local retailers that sell the item you seek.

The same holds true for smaller items, such as holiday décor, the perfect gifts for your perfect friends, or items you may need around the house. Always check the clearance section, dollar deals or special offers from your favorite shops to see if something you need or regularly use is on sale.

One last tip is to be prepared to be amazed. These four ways to save money can not only nab you awesome deals, but they can slowly build up your bank account – or at least stop it from steadily dwindling.