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Bargain shopping can feel more like a balancing act. It’s all about finding the most unique and affordable presents, without having to trim your gift list. The best place to score more for your budget and spot indie brands and one-of-a-kind items? Bazaars. Here, we let you in on the 411 on navigating these haunts. Scroll down for our tips below.

1. Come early.

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Yup, the early bird gets first dibs on the most awesome finds in the bazaar. Also, sellers often give a special buena mano discount to the first customers.

2. Eat before you get there.

You’re less likely to make impulsive purchases when you’re tummy is happy. A quiet stomach = less distractions to think about. Plus, most food stalls in bazaars tend to be overpriced.

3. Set a budget and stick to it.

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(Photo courtesy of Marc Worell via FlickrCreative Commons)



Bargain finds are not synonymous to wise buys. If you don’t really need it and you only want it because of its cheap price tag, then it’s not really a smart choice.

4. Look around before deciding on your purchase.

While you’re busy checking out other stalls, you can compare prices and think about your coveted item very well. Bargain shopping is not a race, it’s more of a marathon. Taking your time to think about your purchases means making smarter choices. But if it’s love at first sight, by all means, buy it!

5. Inspect the items closely.

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Check for holes, snags, or stains before buying an item. You want to make sure you’re paying for something you can use for a long time.

6. Mind your money.

Bring money in small denominations to save you and the seller the hassle of looking for change. Plus, store your money in separate places (say, a coin purse, an envelope, or the pocket inside your bag) other than your main wallet. This is a precautionary measure in case you lose some cash while shopping.

7. Haggle. Haggle. Haggle until the end.

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The best part about bazaar shopping is that you can haggle for the best deal! A cool technique is to hide your interest in the product. When the retailer sees that you’re not too smitten (on the outside, of course) with the item, she knows she needs to give an irresistible price for you to give in. You’ll also get more tawad if you buy more items from the same stall.

8. Wear a bazaar-ready outfit.
Bazaars are known for their improvised fitting rooms a.k.a. that large piece of cloth hooked on one corner of the stall. Wear a tube top underneath your shirt and use leggings as your bottoms. This way, you won’t feel too exposed when you’re trying on the items inside the so-called fitting room.

9. Pair your outfit with comfy flats.

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Shopping means a lot of walking, so do your feet a favor and slip on cushioned ballet flats. (Ana Capri Ballet Flats, P2,895, at select SM department stores.)

(Main and flashbox image courtesy of Mitch Altman via Flickr Creative Commons)

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