If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I like to save money. I get asked how I score great deals all the time and I’ve spent a lot of time compiling this list to help you save some money too.
– I shop around…..I don’t buy something at the first store I see it at. There are many app’s for your smart phone that can help you compare prices. I also type in a certain item in the Google search bar and see what comes up. I then compare the price of the item at different stores and check for any deals or discounts I can find.
– I shop sales, clip coupons and participate in many store rewards programs. Shopping sales is easy, all you have to do is check a store’s sale ad for the time you are wanting to shop. Clipping coupons can be time-consuming but the savings can be tremendous, especially at stores that have their own store coupons that you can combine with manufacturer’s coupons. I go through the coupons that come in the Sunday paper, I check websites like www.coupons.com, www.redplum.com and www.smartsource.com for coupons for products that I use. These coupons you print at home. Many retail stores also offer coupons on their websites, or you can register your email to get sales and coupons emailed directly to you. Go to a stores website and look for their “coupons” tab. Also check stores coupon policies, some stores like Kmart offer double coupons everyday (up to $1). Lastly, I sign up for many rewards programs which reward you with extra discounts and points earned on your purchases. Ask at your favorite stores if they have a rewards program.
– You need some self-discipline with this one, but it can pay off with many discounts. Retail store credit cards often offer extra discounts throughout the year to their users. These are coupons that you would not get unless you have a credit card with that store. You usually have to use the credit card to redeem the discount, but you can pay off the balance immediately. Another thing to look for is major credit cards with rewards programs. I have stayed in very nice hotel rooms for next to nothing with credit card rewards points. I also just got 50,000 free airline points through Southwest Airlines after signing up for their credit card and making a minimum purchase. You can pay the balance off immediately, but still reap the rewards of the rewards program. Like I said before, you need self-discipline with these savings options because it is easy to get carried away with spending on credit cards which defeats the purpose of saving money. This idea is for those who want the extra discounts of being a credit card holder, but will pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t get charged any interest.
– Buy generic, I urge you to try generic items! Many “store brand” items taste just as good as the “name brand” and the cost savings can be tremendous! Also try smaller stores like Aldi’s which has their own brand of products and a wonderful, fresh produce section. I buy a lot of their products, and prefer their produce over many of the larger chain stores. You have to bring your own bags to bag your groceries, but that’s one of the reasons why they can keep the cost of their products low.
– Ask for discounts. It never hurt to ask, right? All they can say is no….you can handle that two letter word that no one likes to hear. You will be surprised, you will probably hear yes more than you will hear no. Just like you ask at a restaurant what their specials are, ask at stores if they have any coupons or discounts. Many times they will have un-used coupons from other customers sitting at the register that you can use or they will tell you about their rewards program that will give you discounts. Send brands that you like an email and ask them to send you coupons, this can be food, baby items, clothing, etc. More times than not, I’ve received an email back asking for my address and within a few weeks I’ve received a coupon in the mail. It’s as easy as that!
– Sign up for daily deals from websites like Groupon and Amazon. I most recently got a great mount for a tv for $39 with free shipping from a one day deal website. The original price was over $100, and it was a nicer mount with more features than the original one we were considering which was around $50. I’ve also bought discount spa treatments and other discount certificates through these types of websites.
– This tip is for my fellow Target lovers. Target offers its own debit or credit card. The debit card links to your checking account and immediately takes the funds from your checking account after purchase. The credit card is a true credit card that you have to make payments on. The benefit of either of these options is that you get 5% off your total purchase every time you shop. This is in store and online. Online you also benefit from free shipping on all purchases. Target offers their own store coupons on their website and you can get them sent to your mobile. They allow you to combine their store coupons with Manufacturer’s coupons for additional savings.
– Many restaurants offer rewards programs and coupons or discounts. Ask about their frequent dining rewards or their kids eat free days. Another way to save at restaurants is to check out www.restaurant.com. It’s a website with discount gift certificates to restaurants in your area, you buy the gift certificate on their site, print it and take it to the restaurant with you. Be sure to read the fine print, some exclusions do apply.
– If you don’t have the benefit of using rewards from a credit card for hotel stays, then look into hotel rewards programs. They often offer a discount after so many night’s purchased. Also inquire if they offer a discount if you are active military, a veteran or a member of AAA, AARP, NRA or any other organization.
– If you are a senior citizen, be sure to take advantage of the senior citizen discounts at many stores and restaurants. They may not always offer it because some people get offended if they are offered the discount and aren’t a senior citizen, but if you qualify, be sure to tell them to take off your senior citizen discount which is usually around 10% off.
– I tend to shop online more than I do in stores because I don’t have the time. I’ve posted about this before, but I can’t encourage you enough to check out Ebates. It’s a website that literally pays you to shop online (check out my previous post about Ebates for more info). You can find a lot of discounts when shopping online from free shipping to certain percentages off your purchase. My favorite site (besides Ebates) to check for online savings is www.retailmenot.com. This website has a list of discounts for certain stores. Check the store where you are wanting to shop and see what discounts they have to offer.
– Pay with cash. I know this sounds like I’m contradicting myself, but some stores offer a discount if you pay with cash. They are charged every time they swipe a credit card, so to avoid that charge, they offer discounts to cash paying customers. You will find this more in small businesses, but the savings can vary from 1-10% when paying in cash.
– Buy an Entertainment book. Yes those coupon books that organizations and kids sell to make money for a certain cause. They actually have good discounts in them and most of the coupons will pay for the cost of the book in the first use! Ask to look through a book before you purchase it to make sure there are enough savings that you would use.
– Travel during “non-peak” times. Look up the destination where you are wanting to travel and research their peak travel times. If you are flexible, then don’t travel during their peak period. Airfare, rentals and activities will all be more expensive during their peak travel season. Deep discounts can be found during non-peak travel times. Research the area before you arrive and look for coupons or discounts to places you wish to try.
– Lastly, being organized and planning will save you money in the long run. Research, take your time, save money, look for discounts and plan our your purchases.