When it comes to budgeting, everyone knows that every penny counts. However, most people don’t know that they’re leaving money on the table when they go shopping. You may think you already know the basics of saving money but, believe it or not, a lot of the “basics” can be tricky.
Use Coupons, But Do So Wisely
Not all coupons are created equal. Don’t fall for the coupons that say “Save when you buy 5” or something similar. You usually won’t end up saving much and you likely won’t use all of the product you purchased, it will go bad before you can use it, and/or you’ll spend more than your budget allows. The only time these coupons should be used is when you were already going to purchase multiples of that item.
Look For Sales, But Don’t Be Fooled
A sale can save you a bundle, especially if it’s a huge discount. The important questions to ask yourself about a sale are:
Do you need the item (or will you use it soon)?
Do you need that many of the item?
Can you purchase less of the product and still get the discount?
If the answer is yes, you should probably go ahead and take advantage of the sale. If the answer is “maybe” or “I think so”, then don’t buy the item(s).
Some sales were designed to actually make the consumer spend more money. Be on the lookout for sales that state “Save when you buy 5” or something similar (this is just like with coupons). Don’t fall for it! Again, you most likely won’t use that many of the item before they expire and/or you’ll end up spending more than your budget allows.
Just because the sale says “Buy 2 for $4”, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy 2. You may be able to buy 1 for $2, so check the fine print. If you don’t need more than one, don’t buy more than one. These deals are designed to make you spend more money during your shopping trip so don’t be fooled.
Get A Membership At A Wholesale Store
Most wholesale stores give deep discounts on things you use most like paper towels and toilet paper. They also offer great prices on food, party platters, and much more. However, this doesn’t mean that you should do all your shopping at a wholesale store. Many households don’t need a 12-pack of toothpaste or 4 gallons of milk. The key rules to remember about wholesale shopping:
Did you intend to purchase it?
Will you use it all before it expires?
Will you use it all within 3 months?
Is it something you use frequently?
If the answer is “yes”, go ahead and make that purchase. If not, purchase that item individually at a different store. Don’t get caught up buying items because they are “such a great deal”. You probably don’t need another runner, more bath towels, or a new T.V. Hold yourself back from making any purchases that you didn’t intend to make in the first place. This will help you stay on budget and still take advantage of the deep discounts that the store has to offer.
Download Shopping Apps
Many people know that there are apps that can save you money while shopping but they don’t actually use them. Not only can you get coupons and discounts with apps but you can also get cash back.
In addition to getting cash back, you should check to see if the store offers an app that gives you special coupons. Some great examples are Vons/Albertsons/Pavilions and Target.
Find Coupons Online Before You Shop
Websites like MyPoints offer coupons for everyday products that you can easily print and use. These are Manufacturer Coupons and can be used anywhere the product is sold. If you’re up for the extra work, look at the product website ahead of time to see if they offer coupons. For example, Pampers and Huggies almost always have coupons/offers available for discounts on diapers, wipes, and even paper towels. It’s always worth the time to take a quick look.
One of my new favorite apps is Krazy Coupon Lady. It shows you the deals you can get at your favorite stores and how to obtain extra coupons. Some of the deals they post don’t even require coupons; they’re just deals that people discovered and shared. So far, I’ve purchased Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese for .61 cents per box, huggies wipes for .49 cents per pack, and Plum Organics Pouches for .41 cents each – and I’ve only had the app for about a week. I don’t know why no one told me about this app!
Sign-up For The Store Credit or Debit Card
Of course, you don’t want to sign-up for every credit card that’s offered to you. If it’s a store that you shop at frequently, like Amazon, it may benefit you to have their credit card if they offer a discount. Make sure you pay off the balance right away or the money you saved with your discount will end up going towards interest.
Companies like Target also offer a discount for signing up for their debit card. The card actually just gets hooked up to your current checking account so there’s no credit or interest involved at all. Even if you don’t frequent the store often, it still benefits you to have this card.
Price Match, Even After You’ve Already Made A Purchase
Many big retail stores offer price matching as long as the item is advertised by another retailer at a lower price. Here are a few of the stores that may currently offer price match:
- Best Buy
- Home Depot
- Bed Bath and Beyond
- Fry’s Electronics
- Petco (Online)
Each company has their own policy on price matching so make sure you look into it before making a purchase. Some companies, like Amazon and Walmart, even make price matches after a purchase has been made.
Disclaimer: This post is the opinion of the author. Always speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise plan or changes to your lifestyle. The information provided in this post is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal, or other professional advice. Read and/or use any of the information from this post at your own risk. Some or all of the links displayed on this site may be affiliate links.