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Smart Buying

Bargain Stalker

Once she tracks down a deal, she’s ready to pounce.

Some people are bargain hunters. Lee Jordan is a bargain stalker. Before a big sale (she refers to her previous-year calendar, where she records dates of annual sales), she’ll swing by the store each morning on her way to work to eyeball the merchandise and monitor prices. “When it’s marked down, I know exactly where to find it,” says Jordan, who lives in Drexel Hill, Pa.

If she’s looking for a matched set, such as the five patio chairs she bought at Target for $25 each, Jordan won’t wait until a final markdown but will pounce when an item reaches 75% off. And she’s willing to cast a wide net. She located the companion patio table for $50 -- also 75% off the original price -- at another Target store.

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When it comes to major sales, she plans her assault like a military field marshal. Her advice: Skip the shopping cart so you can grab and go, and recruit reinforcements. (She’s been known to call her husband, Mike, to swap cars when hers gets too full.)

Her bargain-hunting instincts kick into overdrive on Black Friday, the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Each year, Jordan and a few friends draw up and share their wish lists, matching coupons with desired items. Each then stakes out one store, often camping out in the predawn cold with a blanket and a Thermos, and texts all the others when she snags a coveted item. “Sometimes it takes a village,” says Jordan.

Top Tips

Identify your target before the sale and learn which store has the biggest supply.

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Enlist family and friends to stake out stores for bargains.

At major sales, skip the cart so you can grab and go.

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