Whether you’re looking for a new pair of jeans or a new lip gloss, use these sneaky tricks to save big EVERYWHERE at the mall.
1. Pay close attention during checkout. Everyone makes mistakes, including computers, so make sure you read the little screen when the sales associate is ringing up your purchases. Items can be incorrectly marked, or the sale price won’t ring up. Keeping a close eye out could mean saving $5 (which is roughly the price of a Starbucks Frappuccino, just sayin’) or more!
2. Start shopping early for the things you really need. Winter formal is coming up and you know you need a dress. The problem is if you wait until the week before, you’re so much less likely to find one you actually like (or can afford!), or to find one you like only to discover they don’t have it stocked in your size. Start shopping the month before, or even earlier to give yourself the most time to find something you love at the best possible price. Each time you’re in the mall, search the sale sections and you might just find the perf formal dress on maj sale. So what if formal is three months away, how happy will you be when the dance rolls around and you already have the perf dress that you know no one else will have (plus money to spend on cute shoes and a limo with your friends!) while everyone else is stressing about finding something to wear.
3. Try on everything before you buy. We all know that you’re supposed to try stuff on before you buy it, but sometimes laziness wins and you end up swiping your debit card, hoping that the dress will hug your ~curves~ exactly the way you want. But that doesn’t always happen. Then, you’ll convince yourself that the dress isn’t that bad just to avoid going all the way back to the store to return it. And six months later it will still be in your closet with the tags firmly on.
4. Use an app to score discounts. Retail Me Not is like extreme coupon clipping — without the hand cramps. You have every sale listing in one place for both online and in-store purchasing. Places like American Eagle, J. Crew, and PacSun list all their coupons, so you can get the best deal. Just flash you phone at checkout!
5. Don’t carry a shopping basket. Yes, it’s super annoying to carry around clothes in one hand and dig through racks with the other, but it’s proven that carrying a shopping bag or basket will make you buy more. To avoid grabbing tons of impulse purchases, skip the shopping bag and stick to the things you really want.
6. Ask for price adjustments. There’s nothing worse than splurging on a pair of ripped skinny jeans, only for them to go on sale two weeks later. Most retailers will honor the sale price within a certain time frame — if the item still has its tags. Just bring it in with the receipt, and they’ll refund you the difference.
7. Use your student discounts. Tons of stores have discounts for students, ranging from 10 to 20 percent. All you need is a valid student ID!
8. Catch up on your Insta feed while you’re waiting in line. Most checkout lines are framed by towers of sale jewelry, cheap socks, and other tiny items that you’ll tack on to your purchase at the last minute. These areas are designed to induce impulse buying, so try to ignore all the tantalizing trinkets by getting your social media fix, instead.
9. Take advantage of your favorite store’s rewards system. Point systems are a great way to earn money back from your purchases. For every purchase you make at your fave store, points will rack up until you get discounts or gift cards to use next time.
10. Ask about price matching. If you’re shopping for a pair of nice headphones or a new phone, many places like Best Buy and Walmart will match the lowest price for an item. Just pull up the item on your phone from another store, show them the lower price, and they’ll match it on the spot. Some department stores have been known to offer price matching as well, so it’s always worth asking.
11. Before you buy, ask yourself: Would I buy this if it weren’t on sale? Even something cheap is a waste of money if you’re not going to wear it more than once. So make sure you’ll actually rock those $9 chandelier earrings, before you swipe your card.
12. Still unsure? Sleep on it. Nothing haunts us like the things we didn’t buy, so if you really want that leather midi skirt, you’ll still be thinking about it tomorrow. If you’re worried about someone else buying it in the meantime, put it on hold while you decide if you truly have to have it..
13. Try samples first. Stores like Sephora and Lush will let you test out samples before you buy the whole product. This will save you from spending money on something that smells great on the shelf but is super overpowering when you wear it.
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Senior Style Editor Kelsey is Seventeen’s fashion expert and resident Harry Potter nerd.