No one wants to pay any more than they have to when shopping. And the good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can nab a bargain – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look.
Here are six ways you may be able to find out about discounts and markdowns that can help you pay less.
1. Facebook groups
There are a number of Facebook groups that can help you find out about discounts and markdowns or other ways you may be able to save. Members of the group will often post about sales they have come across, share other tips on how they have saved money or ask for suggestions based on their current financial situation.
Some examples include Markdown Addicts Australia with more than 183,000 members, Mums Who Budget & Save with 163,000 members, Simple Savers with close to 112,000 members and Budgeting, Food, Savings Ideas, Stockpiling, Life Help Australia with more than 73,000 members.
Many of these are ‘closed’ groups which means you’ll have to request to join and follow the rules outlined by the admins. Also be prepared to see quite a lot of posts coming up in your news feed as members can be quite active. There may be as many as 100 new posts a day in each group.
Sample saving: $70
In one of these groups a member posted that Spotlight was having a half-price sale on Koo weighted blankets which were reduced from $140 to $70.
2. Cashback sites
Cashback sites give customers a percentage of their purchases back when they buy from partner retailers. Even though it may not be an immediate discount on the item you do end up saving money in the long run.
Two of the biggest cashback sites in Australia are Cashrewards and ShopBack, which also have apps. You will need to sign up to the service (you can sign up to more than one) and you can then use the app or website to look for offers. Both also have a Google Chrome extension which will notify you when you’re visiting a site that has cashback and offers available. The amount you can get as a cashback depends on which service you use and the retailer.
Sample saving: $15.90
At the time of writing ShopBack was offering 8% cashback on Amazon devices. If you were to buy an 8GB Kindle Paperwhite for $199 your cashback would be $15.90.
3. Community forums
Being across every sale in town is an impossible task but forums such as OzBargain and TopBargains make it much easier. People who have found bargains can register to the site and share the deals they have found. OzBargain also lets members of the community vote for the deals they like or dislike. You don’t need to register to check out the latest deals.
Sample saving: $65
On 13 August an OzBargain member shared that Clinique was offering a two-for-one deal on its Moisture Surge 72 hour replenishing hydrator. So if you bought one for $65 you’d get another one free.
4. Coupon codes
Coupon and promo codes can be a great way to save money. You might be able to get a discount or free shipping. Finding codes can be as simple as googling the name of the store and the words ‘coupon code’ or you can check out sites such as RetailMeNot, CupoNation and Buckscoop.
Another option is to download the Honey chrome extension. When you’re shopping online and you go to check out Honey will pop up if it has found any coupon codes. It then scans all the coupons it found and will apply the biggest savings to your cart total.
Sample saving: $10
To give you an idea of the possible savings there was a handbag I had my eye on which was available on the Princess Polly website for $99.95. Using the Honey extension it came down to $89.96.
5. Newsletters and loyalty clubs
Signing up to email newsletters from your favourite retailers or joining their loyalty clubs can help you score discounts. Often stores will send discount offers straight to your inbox and they may even give you freebies on your birthday. You may want to set up a specific email address for these types of emails so that your normal inbox isn’t inundated and to also reduce the temptation to buy something just because you got a discount offer.
Sample saving: $40
Bonds is one store that regularly emails special offers with savings of about 40% quite common. If you were to buy $100 worth of clothes and socks you could save $40.
6. Comparing prices
One of the simplest ways to make sure you’re getting the best price on a purchase is to shop around. You can do this on google or by using dedicated price comparison websites such as GetPrice and MyShopping.
Sample saving: $226
Let’s say you are looking for a new TV – Samsung Q60T 55″ QLED Ultra HD 4K Smart TV to be exact. At the time of writing you’d pay $1,495 at JB Hi Fi or Harvey Norman but a quick google search showed me you could get it for $1,269 from Appliances Online which is a saving of $226.
Just remember don’t buy something simply because you have found it on special. It’s not a saving if you weren’t planning to buy it in the first place.
About Effie Zahos
Canstar’s Editor-at-Large, Effie Zahos, has more than two decades of experience helping Aussies make the most of their money. Prior to joining Canstar, Effie was the editor of Money Magazine, having helped establish it in 1999. She is an author and one of Australia’s leading personal finance commentators, appearing regularly on TV and radio.
Main image source: Casper1774 Studio (Shutterstock)