ThreeJars Daily: Secrets Of An Über-Bargain Hunter

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Secrets Of An Über-Bargain Hunter

Want to save money on everything from designer jeans and common medications to the perfect gift for your sister? Follow these tips from Kathy Spencer, author of How to Shop for Free.

By Susannah Felts

Master markdowns.
You already know to scour clearance sections for fab finds, but do you know which stores to hit for the best discounts on the things you buy? Spencer heads to Target for small appliances like tools and vacuum cleaners, and Kohl's for designer jeans and other wardrobe staples: “Kohl’s has some of the deepest discounts out there, which is why it’s one of my favorite stores,” she says. “They regularly slash prices up to 80% to 90% off, plus they allow you to “stack” store coupons, like $5 off a purchase plus a 30% off coupon on top of the clearance deal.”

Don’t rule out high-end merchants.
Big bargains do happen beyond the discount store realm. To find them, Spencer swears by, which sends e-mail alerts when her favorite retailers and brands offer big markdowns and VIP sales events. Plus, you get a $10 credit for every three friends you refer to the site. “I’ve been referring people for just a few weeks and have already earned $270.00 in gift cards!” she says.

Get prescriptions filled for free.
Many chain pharmacies offer gift cards for transferring your Rx from a competitor. You can use that money to cover your co-pay—and you might just have enough left over for some other drugstore staples. Sometimes, some pills cost nada outright. Notes Spencer, “You can get free antibiotics at many national pharmacy chains, like Stop & Shop and Walmart, throughout the winter months.”

Sign up, strategically.
We know—you’re already awash in e-mails. But at some stores, it’s worth it to join the mailing list for the freebies they’ll offer. Aveda regularly offers free samples and mini-makeovers, plus an incredible freebie on your birthday. Join American Eagle Outfitters’ Aereward$ program, and “you’ll get gifted every month with freebies like lotion, socks, t-shirts and canvas bags,” says Spencer. And signing up for the Angels credit card at Victoria’s Secret will net you coupons for free undies and more.

Pick up the phone.
Love a brand and want to try their latest products? Just dial them up and ask. Seriously. “More often than not, they’ll send you several samples, along with coupons to try other products,” Spencer says. She’s scored everything from holiday candles and household cleaners to bras and panties this way. Just think of all the money you’re saving with just a few phone calls.

Susannah Felts also writes for Health, Spry,, and other magazines and web sites.


December 18, 2010 at 1:06 PM
Anonymous said...

Check out Kathy's website for lots more great bargain ideas!

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