Certain people seem to simply have a gift for attracting bargains. The truth is, deals are out there for everyone, it is just a matter of knowing where to look and doing a little preparation in advance. Extreme couponers don’t randomly walk into a store and walk out with hundreds of dollars worth of products for pennies.
With just a few simple savings tips, you can begin to become a savvy bargain hunter. Stick to it, and you will soon be saving money on things you truly need. Here are some top tips for several types of savings:
Grocery Saving Tips
Groceries are possibly the easiest category in which to save money. Coupons can be found in the Sunday newspaper, grocery stores, direct mailings, online and directly from the manufacturer.
- Think twice about brand loyalty. Willingness to try a new brand might yield big savings.
- Get multiple copies of coupons you really want to use. Either stock up from the source or order them from an online coupon database. It is possible and there are perfectly legal ways to do it.
- Watch expiration dates. Some manufacturer coupons do not expire, but most coupons do.
- Pair coupons with sales. Any veteran couponer will tell you that rock bottom prices only come through stacking deals. Know the coupon specifics and the store policy.
Many people think you can only use coupons in person. However, more and more stores are selling their products online and providing digital coupons.
- Before checking out online, do a quick Internet search for a coupon. (Try “STORE NAME coupon.”) The best coupon sites have updated listings for many stores, but the search might reveal other sites with additional saving tips like forums or blogs.
- Know the coupon terms and store policies. Some stores allow a coupon to be used more than once, which would mean you can split your transaction for double the savings. This only works with a coupon like 40% off the highest priced item.
- Watch for shipping deals. Any time you buy online, shipping costs will be a factor in your purchase. Very bulky or heavy items may cost more in shipping than you save. Free shipping or flat rate shipping deals are sometimes available.
- Compare stores and save. When you do find a product you want, try searching to see if other stores have it for less, offer a better coupon, or savings on shipping. You can save a lot of money this way.
- Give them your contact information. Whether you sign up for their email newsletter, a rewards program, or ask for a catalog, many stores will reward you with special savings not available for the general public.
Do Your Homework
Many big ticket items like automobiles, appliances and even homes have additional costs beyond the initial purchase. A little research can go a long way toward unwanted surprises later.
- Go where the information is. Organizations like Consumer Reports do much of the legwork for you. They offer some information free on their website, and much more for subscribers. They rigorously test products of all types and survey their members for additional information. They even offer listings of models that have needed more repairs.
- Check for extended warranties. For some items it may not be worth the added cost of a warranty, for others it could save big money. Before making a decision, weigh repair costs against the warranty cost and read the terms.
- Know what the actual value is. For vehicles and real estate, going into negotiations knowing how much you should pay is crucial and will help you know when to walk away.
All purchases have the potential to be the next big deal. Put these saving tips into practice and others will start wondering just how YOU do it.