Outfitting a home in style requires that you have a few things in place - a design plan, a clear idea of what you need (vs. want) and plenty of patience. And while it can sometimes make it easier and faster, what one doesn't necessarily need is a big budget. Our reader community is a generous one - everyone freely shares their helpful "secrets" regularly in the comments - and today, I've gathered some of their great ideas on how to shop smarter and find great deals...on anything.
laurenalexis: One trick I learned, is that for stores like Pottery Barn, West Elm, etc make sure you know the online price before purchasing in store. I went to buy some bedding that I saw for sale online and when I got to the store, it wasn't marked on sale. I asked the employee who was helping me at the register and they honored the sale price. I saved a lot of money that day. (This is where smart phones are also a blessing.)
LowBrowLawnParty: Something that has worked for me lately is Hukkster.com. You can receive notices when something you are interested in purchasing goes on sale to a specified percentage off. I've used it to successfully purchase items at 70% off.
Julia [Chris Loves Julia]: When I am shopping online, I use Google Image search a lot!! I can search the image of the product I am looking for and it brings up all the stores that sell that product, as well as (!!!) "visually similar images" or products. Jackpot.
truepeacenik: DIY. Especially things like padded headboards, or simple graphic pillows, etc. what do you know how to do? Or a friend who might trade skills? I have a bookcase that "cost" me two frozen meals for two for six months. So, I cooked one Saturday for a few hours and got a handcrafted book case.
I've shared Amazon wish lists, which can host off site items, including etsy, with people who are downscaling, and if they had something similar, Huey's can offer it to me at yard sale prices, or at least "didn't have to fuss with craigslist" prices.
sarabryant: Don't forget to google for the promo code - nearly all stores have a code out there for 5-15% off. Sometimes it's linked to signing up for their email list, but it's worth it to save the extra $.
Amy T.:Stores like Big Lots and Tuesday Morning also get many of the overstocked or discontinued items from stores such as Target or the big box home centers. Not sure if these are national or regional stores, but I got a nice Target fabric shower curtain for $3 recently. Also know that if a price point at Target ends in "8", it is not likely at its lowest markdown.
Ask your like-minded friends to keep their eyes open for you. My friend is shopping for a budget minded chaise to go under her new pergola. Every time I see one I think she might like, I take a pic and send it to her.
Please add your tips and ideas to the comments for our next roundup!
Re-edited from a post originally published 6.25.2013 - cm