May 7, 2013

6 Ways To Save On (Almost) Everything You Buy

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Save on everything you buy

ways to save money

Shopping and saving is like a game to me. A game to get the best value on whatever it is I’m buying. With the advent of the internet, the game got even easier. No longer did I need to run from store to store or call and wait on hold to compare prices. Then came smart phones, which made comparison shopping easier. There are apps for comparison shopping, apps that will scan bar codes and tell you the best price in your area, online shopping apps that take you right to the product, and, of course, the internet to get online and create a great deal while still in the store.

I rarely pay full retail for things. And for those certain items I do pay full retail, well, I often still try to combine it with something to create a better value for me. With such ease of connectivity, it’s pretty easy to save something on almost everything you buy. But whether it’s online, a mailer, or other type of coupon/discount, the ability to save money is all around us.

6 Ways To Save Money On Almost Everything You Buy

1. Plan Ahead – To save the most, planning ahead is often your best bet. Knowing the cycle for the foods you and your family eat will keep you from spending full price. Even if you don’t have a coupon, buying on sale is always a win! Most everyday products are on a 3 month cycle at the store, so a little planning goes a long way. Then, of course, there are holiday and back-to-school sales where you can save on seasonal-type items. Need to replace a kitchen appliance, they often go on sale for Mother’s Day or Memorial Day or President’s Day or … get the idea? Power tools or lawn equipment? Father’s Day, maybe Memorial Day or 4th of July sales. And, of course, for many places the entire store is on sale for “back to school”. If you can wait, chances are you’ll find what you need on sale. Even with travel, there are often deals for people who plan ahead!

2. Google It – Yes, hop online and use your favorite search engine to see if you can find a coupon or promotion code. Even if you’re in a store, a quick online search may reveal a way to save a few bucks. Maybe it says you have to sign up for their newsletter, but if you ask about using a current coupon the associate may be willing to extend the savings to you. Type in the name of the store and the word “coupon” and see what comes up. Some stores use the word “promo” or “promotion” so you may need to check those as well. Usually the SEO is pretty good that either “coupon” or “promo” or “promotion” will return the same results.

3. Use a Price Comparison App – If you’re in the store and you want to see if the price you see is the best price, having a price comparison app can come in very handy. The three I like best are Amazon Price Checker, Red Laser, and Price Grabber. Price comparison apps can often help you find the best deal somewhere else, or even negotiate the current deal at the store you’re at. Sure, most stores don’t negotiate price but there are some items where they may. Especially on big-ticket items, many retailers would rather not lose the sale to a competitor.

4. Shop Where You Are Rewarded – There are certain stores I shop at for items I know don’t go on sale (my favorite Dior Lipstick, for example) because I get points or rewards for shopping. I may not get a dollar savings on that item, but I will get points for free products, discounts on future purchases (when I can then same on my favorite items), or quality sample items. If you’re already going to buy an item regardless of whether it’s on sale, then find a way to add value! This doesn’t apply just to physical products, because restaurants and many service providers reward their repeat clients. Amazon is one of the places where I’m almost always rewarded. There is the convenience factor of not having to pay shipping because I have Amazon Prime and use Subscribe & Save. But, my secret weapon on Amazon has always been Amazon Filler. Long before Amazon Prime I had to get up to $25 to get the free shipping. With Amazon Filler I was almost always able to get free shipping on those items that were in the $23-$25 range. You’d be amazed at what you can get on Amazon for $0.12!

5. Procrastinate – No, I’m not contradicting myself. I know Plan Ahead is on this list. But, let’s be real. We all know there are times we’re rewarded for putting off the buying decision. Travel providers are known for having last minute deals. So if you’re ready for anything, you may be rewarded for waiting around. Bakeries and florists often discount their items before they close, so take advantage of that. Even grocery stores have areas of the store where they discount fresh meats, dairy, and produce that must be used within 24-hours.

6. Ask – Remember when you were a kid and you’d ask for pretty much anything you wanted. Sometimes you got it and sometimes you didn’t. Savings are the same way. If you shop at local stores, and are a frequent customer, maybe the owner will say yes. If you’re making a large order, why not ask for a discount. Are you getting things for your kid’s teacher? Then ask if there is a discount for educators. Naturally, you don’t ask every time. You don’t want to end up being “that customer”. But if you’re strategic about your ask, chances are you’ll be able to save something. Is there a possibility you can barter for what you need? Are you willing to take a floor model for a discount? If you can wait, you can inquire if the item will be going on sale soon and if you buy now is there a price adjustment policy.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make or have in the bank. What matters is how prudently you use that money. Those “millionaire next door” people aren’t throwing money around like a drunk sailor. They’re making savvy buying decisions and spending their money wisely. Being aware of how you’re spending your money doesn’t mean you have to be cheap, only eat beans and rice, or vacation in your backyard.

There are more ways you can save (almost) every time you shop. What are some of your tips?

Sara

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