Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World #Giveaway

by Michelle M

Written by 5 Minutes for Mom contributor Michelle of Honest & Truly! who received this book for review. She was also compensated for writing this post. All opinions remain our own.

Bargain FeverI’m a bargain shopper, though, I don’t do a great job with coupons themselves. I’d rather find other ways to save money. There’s a whole different set of ensuring that you never pay full price, and Mark Ellwood explores many of these in his new book Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World. The title implies that it will be a how-to manual for savings, filled with tips and tricks on how to save.

It isn’t. Instead, this book is a trip through what Ellwood terms Shopping 3.0, a new paradigm shift in the States and many other developed nations.  We’ve moved from a time before the industrial Revolution – before the price tag was even invented – when haggling was expected through the days when customers paid what stores charged with little control to today where we have an excess supply of pretty much everything from hotel rooms to Prada shoes to milk, and discounting is required to move this inventory.

Ellwood explains the lure of the bargain and its chemical origin in the brain. The unexpected delight of finding a bargain or an “it” item provide a shot of dopamine that is as potent as cocaine and is just as addictive. Now we expect these discounts for every product and for every reason, transforming our shopping behavior yet again.

Some of the bigger phenomena are explored from extreme couponing with stories and details of how some entrepreneurs have made this a full-time lucrative business. Ellwood also explores how coupons were first invented by Coca-Cola to induce customers to try the beverage.  He also walks through the strategies that hotels and airlines use, to very different levels of success, to discount their fares and ensure minimal inventory. It’s a fascinating view into the world of pricing and power, some of which I’ve never glimpsed, such as the sample sales in New York, while others I’ve lived and shopped repeatedly, such as Gilt Groupe or outlet malls.

Seeing the differences amongst various countries is impressive. As Ellwood points out, the Turkish bazaars are now most frequently trafficked by tourists rather than the locals who shop at more traditional stores and are proud to pay full price. Paying full price is a mark of confidence and status, something that was true in the States and elsewhere until recently. Only now that our economic status is less secure and coupons can be seen as a badge of pride and intelligence have we changed our tune.

As interesting as this book was – I’d personally love to take a university level class on the topic from Ellwood – I found the title of the book disingenuous, as there were few “how to” pieces in the book at all. He mentions a few resources from being a home manager in real estate to synching your AmEx to your Twitter account for special discounts, but they are mentioned almost in passing and with no details of how to go about accessing these savings.

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Email Author    |    Website About Michelle M

Michelle is a stay at home mom of Mister Man (8) and Little Miss (6). When she's not out volunteering or running children to therapy or practices, you can find her in the kitchen or on her personal blog Honest & Truly where there's always a good story or new recipe or at her review blog Honest And Truly Reviews. You can also connect with her on Twitter.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina Marie October 14, 2013 at 12:27 am

Yes, my favorite store for good bargains is Walmart. Thanks for the giveaway!

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2 Barbara Platt October 14, 2013 at 4:09 am

always shop at Walmart, Ross, Big Lots, and Ollies
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3 anne October 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

My favorite bargain store is Stein-Mart. Many thanks.

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4 Kerrie Mayans October 14, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I like to get good deals at Target on their clearance items.

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5 Denise C October 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I’ve gotten some great deals at Kohl’s!

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6 Patricia Wojnar Crowley October 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I usually have good luck shopping at Target.

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7 Tabathia B October 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm

kohls is my fav clothing store and I love the deals you can get at krogers

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8 Brittany October 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

My local supermarket has great deals and I am always looking for the cheapest gas prices as I drive around and fill up when I find a deal.

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9 vickie couturier October 15, 2013 at 11:13 am

I check the clearance aisles every store I go too,the best ive gotten so far is Kohls

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10 heta s October 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

that would be Kohls for me.

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11 Krystal Dunlap October 15, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I always check the clearance racks at the dollar store, my local grocery store, Walmart, target and Kmart if I find something on sale that we don’t need at the moment I buy it and save it to when we do need it.

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12 Ashley turicik October 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I love to go to target for bargains

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13 marian boll October 15, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Wallmart and Secondhand boutiques

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14 AMBER SEVERSON October 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm

it would be walmart!

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15 C October 16, 2013 at 11:50 am

I find deals on children’s clothing, toys, and books at seasonal consignment sales.

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16 lori October 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm

cvs – with extrabucks you can often get products for free

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17 Jeni Mitchell October 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm

I beyond love Target clearance, especially in their grocery section. I have been able to really stock up on frozen foods and coffee, all at below rock bottom prices. Yay!

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18 Stephanie October 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

I’ve never been a great bargain shopper, but I mainly shop at Walmart, so I suppose that’s gotta count fire something ;)

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19 Stephanie October 17, 2013 at 10:28 am

I’ve never been a great bargain shopper, but I mainly shop at Walmart, so I suppose that’s gotta count for something ;)

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20 Stephanie October 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

I’ve never been a great bargain shopper, but I mainly shop at Walmart, so I suppose that’s gotta count for something.
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21 Terra Heck October 18, 2013 at 6:01 am

I like to shop at Menard’s for bargains because they always have sales and offer great rebates. Thanks.
partymix25(at)hotmail(Dot)com

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22 danielle lima October 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

I do pretty well at CVS

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23 Christine October 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm

at Kohl’s

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24 christopher h October 20, 2013 at 4:07 am

Wal-Mart, usually, or the local thrift store

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25 angie October 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I have a few different ones

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26 Tracy Robertson October 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

CVS is my favorite drug store because I get some really good money saving coupons from their coupon machine. I often get $5 off of $15 which is good for $15 of any kind of merchandise, even if it’s already on sale, and I get occasional freebies there too. As for clothing items, I don’t have a favorite store lately. I hunt all over for deals and it’s hit or miss.

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27 Stephanie Larison October 21, 2013 at 12:01 am

Kohls clearance and sometimes Goodwill.

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28 beth October 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

I can usually do pretty well at Kohls

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29 Beth Klocinski October 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I love grocery shopping at Aldi’s. Good quality and great prices

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30 Robert October 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I can usually be successful at Kohl’s and Old Navy

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31 Miranda Ward October 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I like the Target Clearance!

freebiegoddess03@aol.com

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32 Elizabeth October 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Macy’s and Target, but I used to have better luck than I do now.

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33 Heather B October 23, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Mashall’s and TJ Maxx

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34 Sunnymay October 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

I shop the end aisles first at Target, to get my fill of clearance before doing regular shopping. My girlfriend’s mom thinks I’m an expert, because I zip over to the Men’s and the Women’s Clearance section at Famous Footwear and happen to find great deals and sometimes, the shoes are even cheaper than marked.

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35 Brenda Elsner October 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm

I can always be found in the clearance section of any store. That is the first place I shop!!

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36 Angela W October 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm

I’ve gotten some great deals at Kohl’s!

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37 tina reynolds October 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

Target for me I always find great details

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38 michele dublin October 25, 2013 at 11:40 am

I love shopping at tj max. I get good deals on my boys athletic ware and I find great deals on the clearance rack. I save even more now that they built one in wisconsin.

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39 Melinda Stephens October 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I’ve gotten some great deals when shopping the clearance racks at Kohls. I’ve gotten new jeans for $2!

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40 brandy c October 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

The thrift store!

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41 julia carter October 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I love walmart for bargains.

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42 Ed Nemmers October 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm

For groceries, Food4Less; for clothing, Carson’s, during the additional percentage off promotion.

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43 Melissa Nagy October 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I like to check out TJ Maxx periodically. I love their home goods section. I find some really great bowls/knick knacks for great prices.

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44 Crystal October 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I like to shop at 2 stores. WalMart and Dollar General.

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45 Jaclyn Reynolds October 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm

We love going to goodwill each week!

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46 rose paden October 25, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I usually go to Giant Eagle or Wal-Mart it really all depends on what I am shopping for. When I am looking for good deals on cloths i go to the salvation army, brand new cloths for a few dollars, I will take it!

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47 shawna October 25, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Target…love their clearance sections.

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48 Tara C October 26, 2013 at 1:13 am

I usually get the best deals at Meijer, stacking sales with coupons and mperks – I usually save about 30-40% off the total receipt.
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49 Trisha McKee October 26, 2013 at 1:33 am

Kohl’s and Ross – those are the best locally.

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50 Mihaela Day October 26, 2013 at 2:34 am

My favorite bargain store is our local Dirt CHeap :)

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51 melina r October 26, 2013 at 7:53 am

I go to CVS and Target for my good bargains.

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52 kathy pease October 26, 2013 at 8:13 am

I usually find a lot of great bargains at tj maxx

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53 Rachael Sears October 26, 2013 at 9:04 am

I am a bargin shopper and would like to know more and get e en better

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54 Rachael Sears October 26, 2013 at 9:05 am

I am a bargin shopper and would like to know more and get even better

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55 Gail Fernandez October 26, 2013 at 9:52 am

I get great bargains at Kohl’s.

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56 DanV October 26, 2013 at 10:58 am

We like Amazon

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57 beth October 26, 2013 at 11:23 am

i go to thrift stores for a bargain

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58 Buddy Garrett October 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

I don’t really have a favorite store.

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59 Sue J. October 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

My favorite “just-about-has-everything” store is Walmart!

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60 James Coyne October 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I do alot of shopping at amazon

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61 Christian Alejandro October 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I like Kohls and Amazon.

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62 heather c October 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Steinmart and TJMaxx.

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63 Melinda P. October 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I don’t really have a particular store where I get good deals at. I tend to watch all stores though.

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64 Karen Gonyea October 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Big Lots is one of my favorite places to find good deals :)

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65 Allison October 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Kroger has all the best deals near me!

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