Finding great deals online

Staying connected to her favourite stores means Sandra has outfitted her kids for the warm season ahead, scoring some impressive savings in the process.

Photo by dszc/iStockphoto.com

I bought Isobel a puff-sleeve polo shirt for $3, and a Ralph Lauren-style polo dress for $9.

Garage sale? Nope. Consignment store? Negative.

These are brand-new, good-quality duds which, as a bonus, were delivered to my doorstep for free.

How I scored those savings isn’t an Extreme Couponing story, or anything that requires a lot of effort. In a sentence: I sign up for e-newsletters from every retailer I like, and wait for them to tell me about sales. When there’s an extra offer of, say 30% off the sale price, I make my move. Half an hour of online shopping with the girls by my side and, boom, they had all the shorts, capris, T-shirts, tanks and dresses they needed from Old Navy. Because Bronwyn has recently undergone a growth spurt (“Mommy, all my jeans are too short and they slide down my bum when I sit in school”) I picked up a couple pairs of her favourite skinny jeans for (are you ready?) $11 each.

If I factor into the equation how much we saved on gas (by not having to drive to a bricks-and-mortar store) and the value of my own time, then Bronwyn and Isobel’s summer wardrobe was practically free!

Maybe it’s just me, but I find it much easier to shop sales than it was even 10 years ago. Where in the past stores received one or two big shipments of seasonal merchandise, they now receive several infusions of new product — with the result being that earlier shipments go on sale at regular intervals. At this time of year, I can still pick up last year’s summer stock at super markdowns.

For big ticket items, many savvy consumers say there is an ebb and flow to follow for the best deals. Each year the website Lifehacker comes up with a month-by-month guide to “The Best Time to Buy Anything.” According to the site, May is a good month to find deals on mattresses, patio furniture, refrigerators and picnic supplies, but you should wait until September to buy a new car or bicycle.

Do you have tried-and-true tips for trolling retail sales? Share them with us here.