A while back, I put my cheapness to semi-good use and wrote an article about my personal experience trying to save money in San Francisco: a city that just sucks the money straight out of your wallet and into the hands of hippies and meth addicts.
Yesterday we went down to the premium outlet shops in Gilroy to do some shopping and I think we've stumbled upon a decent strategy to get some good deals. Hold on to your butts.
1. Don't go to the outlets unless you're looking for something. If you don't need anything but go to the outlets then you'll just end up spending money on stuff you don't really need. It doesn't have to be specific but it can be something like "Hey, I need new pants because I've worn out the back and my buttcheeks are peeking through the gaping holes in my jeans."
2. Once you've decided what you want to buy, check the web for sales or special discounts. For example, people over 50 years of age get a 10% discount on Tuesdays at the Gilroy outlet. The coupons from the shopping guide at one of the info centers usually have great coupons too.
3. Almost every store we went to offered $5 off of your purchase just for subscribing to their SMS advertisements. You can do it once per phone, so if you're in a group and want to use this discount more than once, just ask to use someone's phone who doesn't need the discount from that particular store. Some may object to giving away your phone number away but you can always unsubscribe or block the incoming texts and they probably know everything about you already anyway.
4. Combine as many discounts as you can. For us, we found that it was better not to buy everything from one store. By store-hopping and seeking out the best deals at the places that had coupons, we were able to combine that with the $5 off discount and get quality goods for a fraction of the cost.
Here's an example. We were looking for a shirt and we ended up in the Nautica store.
There was a Nautica Polo that was originally $44.50, but the in-store promotion was 50% off. We also had a coupon from the back of the Gilroy Outlet Shopping Guide which took an addition 40% off of one item. Lastly, we used the $5 discount by subscribing to Nautica text messages to get another $5 off. In total, we paid under $10.
Original Retail Price (or so they say): $44.50
In store promotion - 50% off = $44*0.5 = $22.25
Gilroy Shopping Guide Ad - 40% off one item = $22.25 * 0.6 = $13.35
$5 off for subscribing to text message ads = $13.35 - $5 = $8.35 before sales tax
Original Retail Price: $40.00
In store discount 50% off - $40.00 * 0.5 = $20.00
They took off another 40% for some unknown reason but hey I'm not complaining - $20.00 * 0.6 = $12.00
$5 off for text message subscription = $12.00 - $5 = $7 before sales tax
So you can easily get some awesome bargains from the outlet stores if you're able to combine as many discounts as you can. Plus, if you're using a rewards card you can save an additional 1% or more on your purchase through your cashback or rewards points or whatever. Gas was a little bit cheaper out there too, ate some nice garlic fries at the food court, and got to spend some quality time with my wife, so it was well worth the trip.