One of the good things about an economy in turmoil is the ability to hit the mall on any weekend and see rediculous sales left and right. Retailers will try just about anything to get you to pony up that hard earned cash right now.
Case in point, I was at the mall this weekend and saw a store with a huge sign out front that said up to 70% off everything in store. So of course being the good little consumer that I am, I ventured into the store to take a look. Sure enough most things in the store were 30 or 40 percent off, then when you sign up for a credit card you got the extra 30% off items.
What the stores are counting on are you having a credit card in your wallet for six months to a year and everytime you open it up you are reminded to shop at that particular store. This little gimmick works for some people, but if you're smart you can get around it and make out like a bandit.
If you can find a large amount of items in a store that you want, and they are all 40% off, with the ability to go to 70% off when you get the card then sign up for it and buy the items. This will save you a lot of money up front. The key part of this is to mark your calendar for a week later to cancel the card and cut it up. This will alleviate that urge to shop more and ring up credit debt.
I only recommend doing this once a year as it does play with your credit score a little bit from what I've been able to determine. So choose wisely and make sure to cancel the card. Do not get another card you can ring up more debt on!