Last Saturday my friend Charles and I made our way to the sunny locale of Carlsbad to battle the Premium Outlet found in that fair city. For some peculiar reason I seem to have developed a reputation of frequenting said outlet. Why? I couldn't tell you.
However, I thought with the Christmas season ahead of us many would be tempted to find a good deal and head to the outlet malls in our area (Cabazon and Citadel to name a few). With that in mind I have put together a few tips for the brave shopper (who will spend within their means).
Tip #1: Make a list and budget
If you're shopping for others carry a list of things you should keep and eye out for. "Pearls for Mom, Golf Hat for Dad, etc." If you do not you may be distracted by all the shiny objects and come home with a heap of stuff for yourself but nothing to cross off your Christmas list. It's also a good idea to keep note of correlating sizes for your giftees...clothing size, dress size, shoe size, ears pierced?, men's shirt size, etc. It should also be mentioned that it would behoove the savvy shopper to know what stores will be at the outlet before arrival. Set a budget and stick to it, 'nuff said (so hard to do!!).
Tip #2: Check for discounts
Some places will give an additional discount for AAA members or students for example. Also, check online to see if there are any special sales/coupons going on to ask about or print out and bring with you.
Tip #3: Leave early
You'd be surprised how much traffic is on the road even on the weekend.
Tip #4: Bring a bottle of water
Hey, shopping is hard work and the last thing you want to do is spend $4 on a bottle of water.
Tip #5: Wear or bring socks
Should you happen upon a pair of shoes for yourself you'll want to try them on with the thickness of the socks you normally wear. The grandma stocking-like socks stores provide might give an inaccurate assessment of the shoe fit.
Tip #6: Don't shop alone
It's always a good idea to have a friend with us to tell us something doesn't look right or the price is too high or to simply drag us away from spending our entire life savings. It's also worth noting that you might want to shop with someone who will keep pace with you, if you know what I mean.
Tip #7: Walk away
Don't be afraid to walk away from something and come back to it later. Time might remind you that your cousin actually does have a similar shirt. Time might also affirm that the price you saw was in fact a good deal compared to other stores.
Tip #8: Have fun
This is the time of the year when it should be a joy to find a gift for a loved one.