Saturday, May 28, 2011

How to be a Smart Shopper when there's a Sale - It's all in the Details....

It all started with a text message. It was a day before the sale starts and its specially for card members only. Since it's the end of the month, I am glad to receive such a text message since I'm a member of this shopping centre. It was written sales of up to 80%! Wow, must definitely go and see what's in store. This shopping centre caters to the middle and below income group (very much like me), so the stuff they sell is very reasonable, and not like the more upscale shopping malls located in the city. (who can afford, seriously...)

Be flexible with items to buy & be early
So I make a list of stuff I wanted to buy, quite a number actually. Shoes, Plastic containers, undies...etc. Usually, whenever I arrived at the shopping centre, the priority of stuff to buy changes. So one needs to be flexible. The reason it changes is due to the fact that you may not be as excited about the item to buy in that particular store. For example, I tried the sneakers in that shopping centre, and found that it weren't to my liking, even though the price is very affordable. And the men's underwear section were quite messy actually - with the boxes half-opened and the underwear inside being shuffled untidily like someone has taken it out and put it back inside again. Puh-leez! So I changed my mind. I also make it a point to arrive early at the shopping centre, around 4pm so I can redo my list of shopping items. The sales only start at 5pm.

Mark the items you want
Get the brochure and read throughly
After scouting a while, I noticed there's a brochure specifically for items on sales that day. The cashier lady told me to go upstairs to get one brochure, so I did. I managed to get hold of this giant piece of paper, and found so many items on display. At first, you may be surprised and tempted to get all the stuff (some you even might not need). Again, it was wise to arrive early before the sales start, so I can edit and rethink the stuff I wanted to buy. Also be aware of the words in the brochure, for certain items are on sale only particularly for a specific day. I checked the list of items, and decided to get the Single Garment Rack at RM18.90 (original price: RM29.90). The other items that were on sale only for that particular day are many, but I shortlisted the ones I needed: Pantene shampoo, Mi Sedap instant noodle, Milo (2kg), Julie's Golden Crackers and the last item - an Icing Spatula (haha, am I baking?).

Get your cards ready and queue
I was really thankful for my smart move to arrive early, for on the way I stumbled across an aquintance. I gave him a tip to get the brochure at the customer service to see the items on sale for the day first, before proceeding to shop. In return, he asked me to look after an item for him, while he go up to the customer service to get the brochure. Excuse me?How rude and selfish can he be? He quickly went upstairs without saying a word. I felt I was being used by him, and decided not to bother about him, seeing that the crowd is swelling now. The queue was starting, and while I was holding the items, I managed to get out the membership and credit card.

Check the price on receipt and brochure
Check your receipt and change before you leave
The cashier was friendly and nice. His name was even printed on the receipt - Faizal Othman. He was efficient and courteous, so rare nowadays. Being a smart consumer, after checking out the counter and paid my items, I will always stop, take out my receipt to check the items again in the receipt and guess what I discover? My Pantene shampoo was logged in with the original price of RM18.50, but it is a discounted item price at RM11.99. (look at visual) No wonder I felt funny, when the change given to me seems little. Always trust your hunch and check your receipt! I went back to the cashier, and told him about the Pantene price. He called out his other colleague to remind him that he forgot to key in a discounted item into the machine. After waiting awhile, I was given my change of RM6.50. Imagine what I can do with that amount of money. I know some people will disregard that change and just forget it, but that amount could buy me a huge dinner, darling...

Me and ex-students
Review items to calculate savings
Finally, review all the items you've bought. There may be some items you wanted, but you can actually wait for the next day to buy depending on the importance. Like for myself, I actually set a budget of RM50 for the expenses (but went over a little) for the reason that I want to enter a credit card contest that requires that limit (the Citibank /Ipad contest, sure can win or not?). So be smart and set your limit for cross purposes. Back to the brochure, there are other items that only went on sale for the next day, so you don't actually have to purchase it now. Take into consideration also how you travel to the mall. If you're driving, would you be able to carry all those stuff back into your car? Or if you're taking the train, you might not want to carry too many bags. If you're young and strong like me, then it should be fine. But what if you're not? Finally, calculate the savings you made after the purchase. The money that you saved, could actually be channelled into other activities or for self-development, like my Artiste Training Course. Put your savings into good use too, and not neccessarily keep in the bank. You never know what will happen tomorrow.