Tory Tips for Saving Even More Money When You Shop for Holiday Gifts

The holidays are here, and that means it’s time to hit the stores for really big

December 15, 2014, 7:19 AM
PHOTO: Tory Johnson went shopping with just her cellphone and persuasive power. She found even more discounts than were advertised in the stores.
Tory Johnson went shopping with just her cellphone and persuasive power. She found even more discounts than were advertised in the stores.
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— -- The holidays are here -- and that means it’s time to hit the stores for savings.

I set out to save big bucks using just my smartphone and the power of persuasion.

My first stop is Payless, where I’m looking for a pair of holiday heels. Almost all of the merchandise in the store is on sale, but I’m looking for an additional deal, so I ask the clerk whether there are any other coupons available.

The clerk tells me there are no coupons in store, but tells me to check my phone.

When I did a search for “Payless promo codes,” I get a message asking for my phone number. I received a text message with a code for an extra 20 percent off. Those glitzy heels that were originally $40 were already 50 percent off, but with my extra 20 percent savings, they came up to only $15.99

I then headed to JCPenney, where I spotted some gloves that were $10 per pair, with 40 percent off.

Again, I asked the sales associate if there were any other opportunities to save on my purchase. I got similar advice, checked “JCPenney coupon online” and bingo! I found a coupon for 20 percent off.

I bought two pairs of gloves for just $9.58 with my additional savings.

I also visited the Children’s Place in search of a gift for my niece. Using my phone again, I joined the retailer’s email list and got a coupon for 25 percent off of whatever I bought. I found two dresses that were already discounted by 50 percent, and the grand total for my two items after the double discount was just $16.80.

My last stop was Yankee Candle, where I was told I needed to present a coupon in-store to get a discount.

I said I didn’t have one and politely asked what could be done. The associate offered me a coupon. I used it to get $20 off of a $45 purchase.

It just goes to show that it’s always worth it to ask. You never know when you can score an extra deal.

Finally, recognize that there are trade-offs to always expecting rock-bottom pricing. If we desire thriving storefronts and robust retail districts in our neighborhoods, then we must allow shop owners to earn a healthy profit to pay fair wages and stay in business. Of course there's a place for deep discounting, which I favor; at the same time, paying more for some items has benefits beyond our wallets.

Extra Tips for Getting Bigger Discounts

1.Inquire about specialty discounts. Active duty members of the military are often honored with discounts at retailers and restaurants. AAA members can save at select retailers. Teachers and college students with valid ID are rewarded with discounts at some stores including J.Crew. Seniors save at stores such as Banana Republic. Mall employees or employees from major companies in a specific area may be entitled to special savings. Ask a manager or research online and be prepared to present proof of eligibility at time of purchase.

2. Always ask associates. Once in store, ask if there are additional ways to save on the spot. If one associate doesn't know, ask another or speak to a manager. Be politely persistent and use terms such as coupons, promo codes, texts, emails and web alerts. Some stores will match online deals if you present specifics.

3. Create a separate email account for coupons. If you want to save without flooding your inbox with offers, create a free email account exclusively for use when subscribing to email alerts from your favorite retailers. When you're ready to shop, log in to check your inbox for savings.