At long last, that blessed thing nine-to-fivers look forward to most is nearly upon us: the three-day weekend. Memorial Day officially kicks of backyard barbecue season, a highly anticipated time given the fickleness of our spring weather. As us natives can attest, there’s no bigger tease than Mother Nature in Colorado.
With patio soirees and pool openings come splashy retail promotions boasting “the best prices of the season” and “huge markdowns on everything.” The frenzy surrounding Memorial Day sales can be tough to decipher, especially for the average shopper just looking to get a good deal. Before you sucked into the piranha’s lair that is Pearl Street, Park Meadows or the Promenade Shops at Centerra, consider these tips to navigate Memorial Day sales.
Do Your Research
Impulse buys are the bane of every budget, and lack of research can lead to ill-informed decisions when urgency is a factor. Don’t let eager shoppers or aggressive salespeople influence your purchase by arming yourself with knowledge. Know the basics of what you want before your cross a store’s threshold, including what features and functions are most important to you. Read user reviews, research prices and know which stores have the item in stock.
Shopping around is key to landing the best deal, and luckily your smartphone can save you time and fuel on this one. Use apps like PriceGrabber to scan the barcode of the product you’re looking at and get a list of prices from local stores and websites offering the same item. Be sure to factor in coupons and store promotions, as these vary by retailer and will affect the final price of your desired product. Also, don’t leave the store until you ask the store manager for a price match since many retailers offer this perk to compete with online sellers.
Gather Your Tools
In addition to knowledge, make sure you have all the tools you need to get the best price. Instead of fussing with paper coupons, download a coupon app like Coupon Sherpa for instant access to hundreds of in-store discounts. SaleSorter (iPhone only) will help you keep track of all the sales at your favorite stores, a must for the busy weekend! You can also earn points and gift cards when you download the ShopKick app, which rewards you just for entering a store.
Know the Best Buys
Products are a better buy during certain times of the year, and Memorial Day weekend is no exception. Typically, clothing, cookware, and home goods are a good buy because sales on these items get people in the store. Both mattresses and refrigerators are good buys because new models are introduced this month and stores need to get rid of old inventory. Finally, you can find specials on gym memberships if you prefer breaking a sweat in a temperature-controlled environment since most gym rats head outdoors in the summer.
Avoid the Worst Buys
Where there are best buys, there are also worst buys. Unfortunately, many of the products you should avoid are the ones you might desire the most right now. Barbecue grills, patio sets and other summer outdoor gear are typically priced at their highest since the season is just beginning. Avoid these purchases until August and September when you can get them for much less. Electronics like laptops, tablets and smartphones are also better purchased in the coming months when retailers start their back-to-school sales.
Get Your Military Discount
Lest we forget, Memorial Day is intended to give homage to those who serve or have served in our military. If you’re an active or veteran member of any branch of the military, keep your valid ID handy and present it wherever you go this weekend. Many retailers and restaurants are offering discounts, freebies and other perks to our men and women in uniform. In fact, some of these establishments offer military discounts year-round: check out this list of over 140 such discounts.
This post was written by Kendal Perez, a frugal blogger who shares personal stories about her pursuit of bargains at HassleFreeSavings.com. By day, Kendal is the Marketing Manager for Kinoli Inc., site manager for a family of money-saving websites and mobile tools.
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