What is Discount Shopping?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Discount shopping can refer to a variety of shopping practices where people look to save money on purchases. Some shoppers only buy products if they’re on sale, and others shop at stores that regularly discount merchandise like big box stores, dollar stores, or outlet stores. Others clip coupons to save money at point of sale, and a few will look for lowest prices of items and only shop at stores that offer price matching guarantees. For those shopping on a budget, discount shopping can prove a great way to save money, especially when people strictly adhere to their budgets and don’t purchase things they don’t need, simply because they are marked down.

Some shoppers know how to find the best discount buys.
Some shoppers know how to find the best discount buys.

For many, getting things at a discount is a huge incentive to make purchases, and some people will purposefully wait for stores to have sales. In tight economic times, it usually isn’t necessary to wait long, since most stores need to move merchandise and will discount it quickly if it’s not being sold. Some shoppers wait for holidays or right after holidays when sales are usually best. For example Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving usually means getting great deals. Smart shoppers might buy things ahead of time like wrapping paper or Christmas cards for the next year if they purchase these things right after a holiday, when they are heavily reduced in price.

Discount shopping can be done online.
Discount shopping can be done online.

Those who shop during holidays may not only scan paper advertisements they might receive in the mail or in newspapers, but they may search the web for the best day after Thanksgiving (called Black Friday) deals. There are websites devoted to price comparisons on Black Friday sales at various stores, so people can plan their shopping day. The practice of getting up early to shop on Black Friday has become something of a holiday tradition for many.

Buying discounted clothing can save consumers a lot of money.
Buying discounted clothing can save consumers a lot of money.

Discount shopping isn’t just for holidays and purchasing big ticket items. There are numerous savvy shoppers who want to save money year round. They may be particularly attracted to shopping at stores like warehouse or big box stores that offer cheaper prices on good quality goods and food supplies. Some people buy in bulk to save money, and this works well if they have storage for bulk purchases and will use them, especially food, before expiration dates occur.

Using coupons is one aspect of discount shopping.
Using coupons is one aspect of discount shopping.

Others don’t have the patience for warehouse stores or the budget to afford bulk purchases, which can mean a larger initial outlay of cash. These folks can still save money by clipping coupons and reading sales circulars for grocery stores, Some shoppers who aren’t brand conscious look for what they need at lowest prices. Whatever brand is at the best price becomes the one they purchase. Others will shop stores on double coupon days, where they get twice as much off purchases.

Some customers will only buy discounted items.
Some customers will only buy discounted items.

The Internet has added a whole new element to discount shopping for numerous items. With a swift browser, it becomes very easy to compare prices and find the best ones online. Some sites, like Amazon, will even showcase the same item available at various vendors so that people can see which vendor offers the best deal. Another thing people look for is online coupons and promotion codes, which are available on a variety of sites and may help save additional money on online purchases.

Sales circulars for grocery stores may advertise discounts on specific products.
Sales circulars for grocery stores may advertise discounts on specific products.

The basic premise of discount shopping is that it makes no sense to pay more for an item than necessary. If it can be purchased elsewhere at a lower cost, then there’s no point in paying a higher price. Of course, this premise has a few faults.

Shoppers on a limited budget often shop for discount groceries at warehouse stores.
Shoppers on a limited budget often shop for discount groceries at warehouse stores.

Some people are willing to pay higher prices for things if they perceive other benefits for shopping with a certain vendor. For instance, a person might like the customer service at a department or grocery store better, and be more willing to part with a bit more cash to get it. With online shopping, concerns about security with smaller vendors that may offer lower prices can drive some people to pay higher prices with vendors that they believe are “safer.”

Some people enjoy shopping around for the best deals.
Some people enjoy shopping around for the best deals.
Some stores will offer larger discounts prior to going out of business.
Some stores will offer larger discounts prior to going out of business.
Budget-savvy food shoppers often download discount coupons and deals on their smart phone.
Budget-savvy food shoppers often download discount coupons and deals on their smart phone.
Online shopping allows people to find the best discounts before purchase.
Online shopping allows people to find the best discounts before purchase.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

GrumpyGuppy

I am all about saving a dollar here and there. However, on days like “Black Friday”, I would rather pay more for something than to be out amongst all of the dedicated shoppers. I absolutely cannot stand to shop on Black Friday or to go to Wal-Mart on the day after Christmas. I would rather do internet discount shopping.

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