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Monday
Aug012011

Save Money: Tips for Haggling Success at the Mall

Brand X/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Outfitted with a hidden camera, ABC’s Good Morning America sent contributor Tory Johnson on a mission to try her hand at scoring deals at a popular mall. There were just two rules: She couldn't succumb to the pressure of opening a store credit card, and she didn't bring a single coupon.

Throughout her shopping expedition, the biggest lesson Johnson learned is that a cellphone could replace paper coupons as your greatest on-the-spot ticket to savings at retail stores.

Before you hit the mall, keep these tips in mind as you shop for savings.

1. Search Online Before Heading Out the Door: Coupons from many major retailers can be found online. Search for the stores you plan to visit, including the current date range, and see what may pop up. Print and put it in your purse or wallet.

2. Register For E-mail Alerts From The Retailers You Plan To Shop: The sales associates at Loft suggested Johnson sign up for store emails to save. Less than 24 hours after submitting her address on the company website, Johnson received a welcome e-mail with an offer to save 20 percent on my next purchase.

3. Follow Your Favorite Retailers on Facebook and Twitter: Many retailers post unadvertised savings and promo codes on their social media pages to build their fan base and reward loyal followers. Check to see if your favorites have a social media presence and then click to like or follow for deal details.

4. Resist The Urge to Open Multiple Credit Cards: Out of 10 shops Johnson visited, seven pushed hard for her to open a credit card. It's sometimes difficult to resist when you're standing right there and you want to save money, but there are other ways to get a deal. Don't make this a spontaneous decision. If there's a place you frequent -- and you have good credit -- study the benefits of having the card to ensure significant savings over the long haul, not just the immediate sale.

5. Ask About Specialty Savings: When shopping on vacation or if an out-of-towner is staying with you, ask about a visitors pass. Macy's, for example, offers this 10 percent savings to customers, so check with other retailers too. In addition, always ask about discounts for students, seniors, military and specific professions.

6. Bring Your Cellphone: In some stores, you may be able to text your way to instant savings. This was true for Johnson in Express and JCPenney. Sales associates gave her a code to text, which resulted in promo codes for immediate savings.

7. Use Foursquare!: Register for Foursquare. Download the app on your mobile device and check-in at each retail location. You'll often receive discounts to save on the spot from many participating retailers--and the list continues to grow daily.

8. Sign Up For Loyalty Rewards Programs: In most cases, these are free programs that track your spending and enable loyal shoppers to save when milestones are reached. The challenge is registering for the card, carrying it with you at all times and presenting it at every purchase. Ask if you can apply future savings today.

9. Ask Directly About Discounts That Are Applicable Today: Don't assume that all savings are advertised or that you'll be automatically offered a chance to save. Instead, before you start shopping, ask an associate how you can save today. Is there an extra coupon you could borrow? Is there a loyalty reward you can apply to today's purchase? Is there a professional discount you're entitled to? Can you text your way to instant savings?

10. Be Polite and Persistent; Never Pushy or Rude: Sales associates have it hard enough as is -- they don't need the added burden of rude, demanding customers. They're usually eager to make a sale, so ask politely and be persistent about opportunities to save. If you sense that the associate is new or unfamiliar with potential savings, kindly ask for a manager.

11.  Negotiate!: Ask if sale or clearance items can go any lower. If it's an independent shop, ask if there's any wiggle room on the price. Ask if there's an upcoming or prior sale that you can take advantage of today.

Tory Johnson is a contributor to ABC's 'Good Morning America' and the CEO of Women For Hire.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio