Friday, November 2, 2012

Europe Shopping Tips - Designer Goods and Tax Refunds

Took photo of this nice painting in Paris

Another blog my wife made. So proud of her! I hope these tips help you prepare for your upcoming shopping trip to Europe.

Let's admit it ladies -- one of the reasons why we look forward to going to Europe is because of shopping. They always say that once you see something you really want, you don't even think twice as you'll only end up regretting it once you're back home. An example was a men's LV belt we saw in Venice. Of course, people would expect everything to be more expensive in Venice. There was a belt that costs 215 EUR and it was the belt my husband was eyeing. We didn't buy it because we said that our last stop, Paris would surely be a lot cheaper. Lo and behold! That same belt in LV Champs Elysees was 285 EUR! Oh well, didn't purchase that belt and saved the money instead.

Arc Of Triumph

Europe is indeed a shopping paradise for most people - especially for those who love designer goods. Paris has always been packed with many tourists and shoppers from all parts of the world. Their famous shopping districts are in Avenue de Champs Élysées, Galleries Lafayette, Avenue Montaigne, and Rue de Saint Honore.

Woman Shpping
We were privileged to have spend our last few days in Europe in Paris as most people say it is the paradise of designer goods. Here are a few things you might want to consider when doing shopping in Paris:

1) Research on what specific item you would want to purchase. This saves time because there are always long queues on designer brand stores as early as 9am! Let them know that you speak in English too as there are usually shorter queues for you. You wouldn't believe how long the line is if you want to speak to a chinese store assistant. A lot of people from China buys branded goods there.

2) Bring enough money/credit card. Stores do not accept USD so either you have to change your USD to EUR or pay using credit card. The thing is, when you use you card and it gets converted to peso, the conversion rate used by banks are higher so it is encouraged to bring cash, USD and have it changed there rather than using credit cards.

3) You don't go to Paris for nothing so make sure that you designer goods are "made in France" or "made in Paris" or made in whatever country in Europe written on it! (e.g. Longchamp - France, Gucci - Italy, Louis Vuitton - France) Because like Longchamp, some are made in China.

4) Minimum purchase is at least 190 EUR single receipt to qualify for tax refund. So make sure that you are sure you've already gone through the entire store/boutique before paying as tax refund is 12% (and it's quite big).

5) If you think that you're purchases in 1 store will not reach a total of 190 EUR and you are flying out via Paris, you can still buy some of your leather goods at the airport and they are already net of taxes! You may not have as many choices but, you wouldn't be bothered on filling up tax refund forms and other stuffs!

Money in hand
6) On claiming tax refund, you might want to consider getting cash rather than it being credited to your credit card account. Refund via cash is 10+% and when credited to card is 12%. But, when you are getting cash, you're already assured that you have been refunded. If you're not a heavy user of credit card, cash is always a better option for you. Bring your passports as you will need to prove that you are a tourist in order to claim tax refund. Also, for us, our EUR credit was converted to peso in our credit card statement. You lose money when banks convert for you.

7) Always be alert and keep your money in a secure place as there are lots of people in everywhere, you wouldn't want to lose your shopping money, don't you?

Bottom line on tax refund. It is better to opt for cash. For the credit card refund, the credit reflected 3 months after we have made the purchase (and it was converted to peso) and we still haven't got the refund for our biggest purchase yet. Cash is always instant. Opt for cash.

Hope these tips help. If you want to share your Europe shopping tips, please leave them by the comment section below and we will include it here in the blog, crediting you for it.

Below are other articles that we have on Europe:

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