I've been eyeing this Maison Michele 'big kate' hat for some time now as you can see it's on my current wishlist. It's listed here for $1,030. But I only paid 50% of that.

I hope you just got paid because this post could trigger you to press a few 'checkout' buttons. For the five of you who watch my Instagram stories, you know I shop during every waking minute. And while I like nice things, I hate paying full price. The logic is when I used to shop in stores at Neimans or Saks they would also have regular promotions that give you discounts on full price designer items. The habit sort of stuck and I figured it wouldn't be so hard to find deals at other retailers. Stores compete for buyers attentions online and when they compete we all benefit. So here are some hacks to save you some $$ so you can buy even more nice things.

1. Get a VPN to take advantage of international prices. I like to check for the cost of an item in the US versus it's international location. Let's say I wanted a Burberry coat. The US store lists it at $2,300. But if I change my IP to a UK location, I see that the coat is actually 15% less in the UK. In Italy it's 30% less (if I also take advantage of VAT refunds)! Crazy right? Luckily, I'm heading to Italy in a month so I call the flagship store in Italy and place an order. 

VPN's also let you browse anonymously if you also use an incognito browser. This helps you avoid dynamic pricing that some stores use. Dynamic pricing is when stores mark up prices based on your IP locations, browsing history and any other 3rd party data they have on you. If you live in an affluent city, you may see a higher price for the same item than someone in the suburbs.

2. Only buy the local designers when traveling to Asia. Most Asian countries have high import taxes on all luxury items that do not originate there. But if you happen to be in Japan, there is no mark up for designers like Sacai, Comme Des Garcons, Yoji Yamamoto, etc. Zara is so much more affordable in Italy and Chanel, Bash, Sezane, IRO and Maison Kitsune is cheaper in France. Chanel may actually be cheaper in Italy due to higher VAT refunds. But the rule of thumb is that the country's designer wears are often lower in price than if you were to get it anywhere else. Oh, can't forget about Korean skin care! Load up in Asia on the high end stuff for less.

3. For luxury skincare always shop duty free. I always find duty free in Korea, Paris or Italy at least 30% less than in the US especially for brands like La Prairie, Sisley and Chanel. I have my VPN installed on my phone so I can compare prices when shopping duty free to make sure I'm getting the best discount.

4. Comparison shop. This one is a no-brainer. The novice level is to just google the item you'r buying and compare. The advance level is to use VPN to compare prices on an international scale. You're welcome.

5. Stack cash backs. Use apps like Ebates and Honey to find deals, activate cash backs (up to 10% sometimes) in conjunction with credit cards that have high cash backs for shopping.

6. Get those new member discounts. When you first go to a site they also have newsletter subscriber discounts. I use a burner email address that I made just for these kind of subscriptions. I actually use more than one so I can take advantage of this even if I'm not a new member.

7. Bide your time & shop at sites that have regular promotions. When you see something you like for an upcoming event or season save these items in your wishlist. I always do this with shops that have promotions every other week/month. Those sites are: farfetch, shopbop, intermix (they have great 25% off on top of sales), and sephora (theirs is quarterly). Sites not worth their sales: Saks - they always have exclusions on the best designers, Net-a-porter because their sales are so infrequent but when they do have them it's a pretty good steal.

8. Shop one season ahead or behind. I always try to shop one season ahead or behind to monopolize on off-season sales. Never buy swim suits during peak swimsuit season because they will never be on sale and you'll end up paying retail.

9. Befriend the store employees. There's an Isabel Marant by my office. I would come in at once every other week and made friends with one of the employees. I usually leave empty handed, but I try on a few things and get to know the person who is helping me. He feeds me lot of champaign as well. Over the years, I'll text him items that I see online to ask if he has them in store. Once he price matched a sale price on new season heels for me! And he also saves my size in any shoes I've been eyeing so that I can snatch them up as soon as they go on sale. He's now the manager of the store.

10. Ask for price match. I don't usually see this, but it has happened once in a blue moon. If you see a lower price elsewhere especially online when you are in a physical store ask them to match. I do this when shopping online too, when I would rather buy from a retailer that I know has better shipping and return policies but want to pay the lower price on some other website.

11. Retroactive discounts. I track my items. If I buy something and it goes on sale within 14-30 days, I reach out to the retailer and ask for a discount. This is because 14-30 is still within my return window. Retailers would rather give you the discount than have to take back inventory.

12. Use your network. I share items that I'm considering buying on my IG stories all the time. And more than once has a girlfriend messaged me about a secret deal or a lower price for the item being sold elsewhere. The more you share, the more you get. Live in abundance. 

13. Shop vintage. Not consignment of current trends. That's depressing. But go to vintage fairs to find unique one of a kind designer vintages that no one else has. My favorite current vintage traveling show is called A Current Affair. Check if they are coming to a town near you and score some vintage Manolo kitten heels.


PS. If you have a hack, share the wealth

Image by: Mark Leibowitz