Shopping Off Season to Save Big

A couple days ago, I looked at my son’s pants and realised he has grown a lot…again! I didn’t think we were due to buy new clothes yet. No choice but to face the truth though, my son needs them.

At first, I was a little discouraged as it wasn’t planned. Then, I realised it was the best time of the year to buy new clothes. Why? Off season deals are going on big time these days! What types of off season stuff? Clothes (autumn and winter collections), winter ensembles, Christmas gifts, 2013 electronic products, other furniture, and more.

January is actually one of my favorite times of the year to buy! Many stores are deserted after Holidays’ frenzy and owners are ready to give their best offers simply to get some customers in the store.

Look for Offers Online

I started looking for children stores’ rebates online. I was ready to order online, but I was looking online mostly to get an idea of what I can get. Well, one of the cutest children boutique I know of was announcing 60% off as season clearance sale. It was the best offer I found online. However, I couldn’t order them online and had to go in-store, which didn’t matter much to me.

There are, however, a lot of very good sales online that are not available in the stores. My advice is, therefore, to always start looking on the Web first and then compare (if comparison is not available online, a quick call at the store will confirm actual sales) to the in-store deals.

Only Buy What’s On Sale

The danger is that when you go directly in the store, is buying other items that are not discounted, like new clothes or next season articles. Keep your focus on what you went in to get and only look for those articles that you need and those that are on sale.

Back to the example of my son’s clothes, I did buy some pieces. I chose them according to their size and also thinking about lighter colors that could be worn now as well as later on in Spring or in the beginning of Summer. I even bought a piece for the baby coming. Regular price my purchase total was: $235 (approx). I ended up paying $92 minus $38 I received as a gift card. Therefore, the actual total paid was $54!!!

The Best Way to Pay

As I quickly mentioned, I used some gift cards to pay for part of my purchase. However, there are other things to consider to make the most out of your deals. I’m personally not a couponing fan, but it could be something to look into.

What I do consider is what credit cards can offer you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to encourage you to buy on credit. The goal is to use the advantages given, but pay your account in full at the end of each month. So no real debt is contracted.For example, switching to a 0% cashback credit cards will prevent you from paying interest for a while, but also reward you with cash back or bonuses at the end of the year. If you consider the value of money back received into your off season shopping, savings can reach up to 5% more. Using a credit card comparison site can help you choose the best credit card according to your needs.

Using in store credit cards can also be an alternative. I must admit that I prefer having cards that offer cash back incentives and that can be used at any store only instead of owning different stores’ ones.

Off Season All Year Long?

Finally, is it possible to buy off season all year long in order to save? Yes and no.

Yes, because…

First of all, outlets are nice places to find off season deals all year long. My personal habit is that every time a season is ending, I keep an eye on the clothing going on sale. I often use these rebates to complete my kid’s wardrobe for the season coming or next year (when I can predict which size to buy). In fact, I almost never buy clothing at full price.

During off season sales is also a good time to replace broken items. A patio chair broken could easily be replaced for a low cost at the end of summer season. Another example is buying a pool on September instead of March or April when pool retailers get their highest level of demands. Yes, you might end up waiting a couple months to benefit from your purchase, but it is still worth it in some cases.

No, because…

It is sometimes hard to predict months or a year in advance what you will need, especially thinking about clothing. When I went shopping this week, I saw winter ensembles at 50% off. Was really worth it? The thing is, I really can’t predict which size my son will wear next winter. He has simply grown up too fast since he was born that there’s no way knowing how big he’ll be in a year from now.

This can result in accumulation. Some of you might know I also write on another blog: Everyday Minimalist. I’m surely not the perfect minimalist example, but I try to come to a point of owning less but only the best. I think that always seeking for off season deals can imply getting stuff you don’t really need.

That’s why I repeat that you need to stay focus on what are your needs. That way, off season sales will truly mean saving big! 😉

What about you? Do you tend to buy off season? Do you think it’s a good habit to save big?

Image credit: End of Season Sale, Souris Mini

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