When to Shop vs. When to Save

Learn how to shop smarter so you can save more and you’ll never have to “splurge” or put off a credit card bill again!

Say whattt?! That’s right queens, I'm talking shopping smarter so you can save more! Reaching your financial goals while still enjoying the luxuries of treatin’ yo self is pretty much the ULTIMATE self care regime. 

Take it from a gal who worked on Macy’s corporate side for years, big box stores and most retailers in general have seasonal pricing strategies built into their playbooks year after year. I’m about to give you the secret sauce honey! Besides that, I'm going to get you set up to  “hack” your way into a good deal through some electronic coupon clipping that you really shouldn’t live without.

Retailers have adapted to meet the increasing demand for smarter ways to shop over the last several years. The information we need to be most efficient at checkout is right at our fingertips here on the web, so I’m gonna help break it all down for you here. First up, when to shop.


Now the best times to head online or in person for deals is during mark-down Holidays or during “after seasons”. That means shopping for a winter coat in the summer time or vice-versa, shopping for a bikini during the dead of winter. I know this might not make a ton of sense, but trust me on this. I once purchased a bathing suit for a single penny because it was a return from someone else and ended up being the last of its kind in the store. Especially when it comes to shopping at big box stores, they have these discounts down to a science.

Here are all the major sales to put on your calendar in 2021 so you can strategize your spending:

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Presidents Day

St. Patrick's Day


Mother's Day

Memorial Day

Father's Day

Fourth of July


When it comes to saving, I recommend giving yourself a good 3-5 months before major shopping holidays, such as Presidents Day or Black Friday, to bulk up your spending accounts. I use apps and the rewards my bank offers to help me out with this so I don’t even notice that I’m saving. We often get the art of saving money twisted in our heads, right? Like, it’s kind of painful sometimes! Or even more so, it can be tempting and burn a hole in our pockets and all of the sudden our savings only has two digits... I FEEL YOU!

That’s why I like to use a couple different tools that work behind the scenes to help me save. One of those is Digit, an app that learns your spending, saving, and income patterns to better help you save towards preset goals. It’s so smart, y’all, like saving has literally never felt more hands off and effortless. Especially when I’m saving for something big, like a trip or a new couch from CB2, there’s really no other way to go about it. Another option is utilizing a round-up app, like Acorns, to directly add micro savings into my account that can accumulate over time. Essentially every purchase you make on the connected cards (you can add as many of your existing cards as you’d like!) will be rounded up to the nearest dollar, and those micro-funds eventually pile up. They even offer cash back investments when you shop at certain stores too! 

Speaking of cash back rewards, make sure you’re fully utilizing the rewards available on your credit card, whether that be Cash Back, points you can use towards spending, or double points you can earn by shopping at certain stores! It’s always worth it to know the tools you have available so you can tap into them when you need so log into that bank account today queen! You don’t want to miss out on the value banks are willing to offer when you spend. 

Now no matter what time of year it is, or what your savings account is lookin’ like, you have GOT to be using coupons and discount codes. I know I might not be saying anything new here, but if you’re not entering a coupon code at checkout every time you shop, you’re missing out! Because the act of shopping online already brings things to a more technologically friendly environment, the act of couponing (yes this is a word) is a literal effortless process. You can add not only the Acorns Extension to your Chrome Browser so you know when you’re shopping at a store that offers cash back discounts, you can also utilize couponing apps like Honey or Rakuten to instantly track down discount codes and automatically apply them at checkout. I cannot express to you enough how fun it is to check your dashboards after a big shopping spree online to see how much you saved!

It’s like treatin’ yo self with some new goods AND treatin’ yo bank account. Mmmm, man I love that feeling!

I know it may seem a little taboo to be promoting retail therapy here, but I’m a realist and the reality is: we all do it! Buying things, especially things you’ve worked hard to save up for, is a totally reasonable way to make yourself feel good! Sure it can be temporary or fleeting, especially if you’re constantly chasing the latest and greatest. Obviously check in with yourself to make sure that your spending habits are truly serving you and your happiness. As with all things here at ALCIB, if it ain’t servin’ you, it ain’t worth it.

For me, a little retail therapy around the holidays when I can save big, in combo with some sweeeeeeet couponing apps and effortless saving strategies, brings me a whole heck of a lot of joy. And that’s what it’s really all about queen!



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