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One of the places I avoid when I am broke are the shopping malls. There are too many things in there to tempt me to spend money I don’t have. Plus, the food there is often expensive and over-priced. Is it possible to not spend a fortune at the mall? Here are some tricks of the trade to help you do just that.
How To Save Money Shopping at the Mall
Sign up for your local mall’s newsletter. Most major malls have them, and they will let you know of specials the stores are having, discounts on gift cards and so on. You will also have the chance to enter to win prizes at certain times of the year when some malls offer them to newsletter subscribers. If you don’t know if your mall has one, make sure to check out their website or drop by the customer service kiosk next time you are in there. You can also find Discount Gift Cards on Groupon from time to time, especially during teh holidays.
Don’t set yourself up for spending. This means not grabbing the carts that are available. Our minds get tricked when we do this in the same way it happens in a grocery store. We think we need to fill it. If you find yourself needing one as you walk around the store, go ahead and grab one, but don’t do it out of habit.
Skip the mall on the weekends. This is the peak shopping time, and many stores don’t have their best deals out. Instead, shop mid-week. You will most likely find some better savings and specials, and they won’t be picked through as much, either.
Avoid kiosks like the plague. They are notorious for over-priced junk and overly aggressive sales people. If you see something you want from a kiosk, go home and look it up online, and you are likely to get a way lower price.
Sign up for individual store’s emails. Most large chains have their own sales newsletters and often, you get something free just for signing up. Beware, though, as sometimes these sales are not really sales at all and instead a ploy to get you in store. Make sure you read the fine print of each “big” sale they send your way to decide if it is worth it. If you do go to the store for a sale, make a pact with yourself only to check out that store and not wander into a spending trap by browsing other stores. Macy's is one store that is famous for their coupons in their newsletters.
Park near the one store you are really going for. Unless you are a teenager and/or you enjoy just hanging out at the mall, you are probably going to one store most of the time. Don’t make it easy to get attracted by other stores’ alluring sales by parking near the one store you want to go to. This way, you won’t have to walk by too many other stores to get to the one you want, and since your car is right there, you are more likely to hop back in it when you are done.
Know that a big sign doesn’t always indicate a sale. Since we are conditioned to think a big sign generally means a sale, stores use this to manipulate us. Don’t fall victim to this plot.
Leave the debit cards at home. If you are on a budget for clothes or certain items, pull the money out in cash and leave all your debit and credit cards at home. This forces you stay on budget, and you are more likely to really think things out before buying.
Skip the Credit Cards. No matter how much they will save you that day for opening one, in the long run, it will cost you more. You will use it because it's there and just opening one will make your credit score dip.