how to score a sweet deal on an expensive item


I’ve got expensive taste. I think it happened in college. I was never materialistic in high school – I used to wear Birkenstocks and never shopped anywhere but American Eagle. But once I left Small Town, Connecticut I lived among fancier fashionistas and was sucked into the Juicy Couture/7 jeans/Louis Vuitton bag craze that swept the early 2000s. Although I’ve never fully looked back, over time I’ve learned to control it.  Or at least be smarter about it.

And by smarter, I mean finding the deal of the century on high priced items I decide I can’t live without.

A recent example: Tory Burch. A few months ago I was obsessed with owning a Tory Burch handbag.  As soon as I got familiar with her brand and style I decided she was the perfect fit for my place in life and who I wanted to be. Sort of what Juicy Couture was when I was 19.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no position to head out and stock up on full blown TB wardrobe, but I became determined a Tory would be my next big bag investment – and they run you from $400 up. I hemmed and hawed at Nordstrom and Saks selection online for quite a while, nothing totally wowed me but I had my eye on a couple styles. I wanted to wait for something sure to change my life.

Then, the stars aligned. One of the handbags I liked but previously decided was too expensive went on sale at Nordstrom. Sweet! I also had a gift card from Christmas. I decided to go for it – and ended up with a $500+ handbag for $300. So now I have a timeless piece I love, at a price that makes me VERY happy.

Maybe your thing isn’t fashion accessories. Maybe it’s shoes. Maybe it’s jeans. Perhaps it’s electronics like my boyfriend. Whatever gets you going, paying full price on expensive items is delusional. Especially with all the competition on the internet today. Here are a few tips to help you get the best price. Or at least a price that makes you feel great!

1. Search, search, search. Open a Google page and search for the exact product name or number. There are so many websites selling everything you can ever imagine, all of which are dying for your business. This means great prices people! It can also mean sketchy so do your homework and read customer experience reviews. If the site checks out and your gut isn’t screaming ‘scam’ – go for it. If something goes awry, you can always file a claim with your credit card company. I’ve been quite close to buying the exact designer sunglasses I was looking for on an online-only site.

2. Comb the sale sections on high-end department store sites. If you’re not looking for a specific item, but rather something general like a nice dress for a party, give yourself some time and check the sale department at designer sites like Saks, Bloomys, Neimans, Nordstrom, etc. over the course of a couple weeks. The more often you check, the more likely you are to catch exactly what you want before anyone else does!

If you’re looking for something electronic like a GPS, computer, or TV, this approach can also work. Many times sites like Best Buy have better online prices or more selection than in their stores. Also, items like this can definitely be found for way cheapo at Walmart or Target online.

3. Bookmark websites designed around high-end picks at reduced prices. This may be my favorite tip. Most online-only retailers base their value props selling the most value at the lowest price. Sorry to keep using fashion as an example, but it’s what I know best. Anytime I’m about to buy anything that will cost me over $100, I always check sites like Bluefly, ASOS, and Tobi which are good examples for clothing related needs. Limited-time sales sites like Ruelala, Ideeli, and Groupon are getting a lot of hype these days and very well should be with deals as much as 90% of retail on a multitude of goods. Some are by invite only so make sure to mooch an in off a friend. Yes, please, and thank you!

4. Don’t always rely on the internet. If you’re looking for a specific item, say a particular digital camera, you may be able to find the best deal locally. Always check flyers in your area before taking the plunge. If there’s not much difference in price, consider extra costs you’ll save buying in a store, like shipping.

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