I’m a Personal Shopper: 5 Hacks I Use To Save My Clients Money at Retail Stores

Andrey Arkusha / Shutterstock.com
Andrey Arkusha / Shutterstock.com

There are those of us out there who know how to shop until we drop and then there are those of us who hire others so they can shop for us — dropping is not necessary. Personal shoppers have to fit the needs and desires of their various clientele, all of whom might range in terms of taste, budget and style. But one trend they all have in common: they like saving money at retail stores.

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GOBankingRates put the call out to personal shoppers for testimonial recountings and insider tricks for getting discounts, not overpaying and finding sweet details at retail stores. Here are five hacks they used to save their clients — and now you — money when shopping.

Be Mindful When You Shop

If you think a zen state and shopping have nothing to do with each other, think again. According to Michele Paiva at The Finance Therapist, one of the best hacks out there: be mindful.

“Yes, that’s a hack, because in a world of constant stimulation and temptation, being mindful is in fact, a skill. Being mindful means staying true to your style, values and priorities,” Paiva said.

“Before making a purchase, weigh if it is a need or wants. Then, look at the long-term value,” she said. “Is it a whim? Use the 30-day rule; if you think you will still want the purchase with the same zest, in 30 days, then it is likely worthwhile. If not, eh, maybe not.”

Paiva went on to describe that part of being mindful is “using ‘add to cart’ when shopping online and setting a calendar reminder in seven days.”

“More often than not, it’s a surprise you might have forgotten about!” Paiva said.

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Join Loyalty and Rewards Programs

“Take advantage of loyalty programs and rewards, but remember that these are also marketing tools that stores use to pressure you into purchasing,” Paiva said. “They monitor your patterns and patterns of people who fit your demographic.”

“When you have a personal shopper, they know how to get the biggest bang for their and your buck; shop like it is a job to save money but not compromise on style and quality. You can use this to your advantage.”

Zai Zhu, a shopping expert and CEO of My Gift Stop, said that “you will certainly save money by using the loyalty program of one specific store through merely asking if they have such a program and then taking advantage of what the program offers, besides getting rewarded over time for your regular purchases.

Paiva illustrated how these kinds of programs are made to be mutually beneficial, to the customer and the retailer at the same time. That is because the retailer knows a potential customer will not use the system in place if it doesn’t.

“So, the hack is to sign up for loyalty programs, emails and discounts and keep on top of reward points. Maybe make your best credit card (that you manage responsibly) the ‘retail’ card if it offers you the best cash back or points,” Paiva said.

Leverage Timing

It’s not just the time of day you shop, but what season, what month and what holiday is just around the corner that all factors into when you decide to make your purchases.

“Many personal shoppers I’ve known, especially those who work with decor, often shop off-season,” Paiva said.

If you can time a purchase around Black Friday, Cyber Monday or a clearance sale after holidays, the discount on some items’ high-ticket prices can be as deep as 50% or more, according to Zhu.

“Stay in the loop with these sales by subscribing to newsletters and setting up alerts so you can plan and take advantage of them,” Zhu said.

“For instance, the most expensive time to purchase jewelry is Valentine’s Day and the winter holiday season,” Paiva said. “Create a shopping list for the year and scour off-season sales. Don’t impulse buy; make it a treasure hunt game to leverage the deals.”

Zhu agreed that timing can also work when it comes to purchasing off-season items.

“In a bid to clear inventory for restocking, retailers usually offer huge discounts on seasonal merchandise,” Zhu said. “Therefore, it’s possible to get better bargains in terms of price if you buy winter clothes in late spring or summer items in early fall.”

Know Your Triggers

Paiva said that this is one of two hacks that takes “a little extra emotional elbow grease” but is essential for saving money with retailers. The first one comes down to knowing what your triggers are and preparing adequately to handle them in a retail scenario.

“Are you a people pleaser or have a hard time saying no? Then, stay out of most brick and mortar stores. Shop online,” Paiva said. “If you don’t like to shop and tend to overspend online, make a point of going into a department store closer to closing so you have to shop a little faster and get in and get out. There is no time for impulses.”

“The great thing about personal shoppers is that they are on a mission; they are not fiddling around,” Paiva said. “So think like a personal shopper for your shopping.”

Utilize Modern Tech

There are so many different ways to make sure you save in the technological age, but it all starts with making your personal devices and apps work for you.

Some of the apps for shopping that Zhu liked are Honey, Rakuten and Google Shopping, but there are many out there available to users.

“They compare the prices of one item across different retailers, finding you the best deal possible,” Zhu said. “They apply coupon codes, run instant deals and so much more in the background to help you find the lowest price without so much sweat.”

To put it simply, Pavia reminded shoppers to “[l]everage your phone.”

“There are so many great apps and extensions,” Paiva said. “My favorite is Rakuten. You can also take advantage of things like Amazon Prime Day or QVC specials. Apps, extensions and specials are a key to shopping savvy.”

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I’m a Personal Shopper: 5 Hacks I Use To Save My Clients Money at Retail Stores