72. Save $1,000s per year – 17 ways to save money by doing smart shopping
This article describes smart ways to save money on shopping:
1. Be a bargainer. When you're buying something expensive, or buying a service, always bargain on price. It never hurts to ask, and if you're buying something big, like a TV, a refrigerator or a computer, you might save yourself 10 to 20%.
2. Cash is king. Again, if you're buying something expensive, ask for a discount for using cash. Did you know that when you use a credit card, the merchant has to pay two to four percent to the bank? Therefore, when you pay cash (or write a check) you're saving them that money. Ask for it!
3. Don't buy extended warranties. Eighty percent are never used, and they're a major profit item for the vendor. That's why they push you so hard to buy them!
4. Don't wait till the last minute to shop. Obviously, less time gives you less flexibility. The seasons, the start of school, birthdays, Christmas: nearly everything we shop for is pretty darn predictable.
5. The calendar is your friend. Consider the times of the year that retailers love most: holidays! Halloween, Valentines Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving are all great times to save money… if you're willing to wait a bit. You'll often see big pre-holiday sales that happen prior to these holiday times, but those savings pale compared to the discounts you'll get by waiting until the days after the event.
Buy next year's Halloween costume on November 1, your Christmas decorations on January 1, etc. Want to get even better deals? Try outlet malls.
6. Always use a list. And don't buy anything that isn't on it. Depending on what you're shopping for, you can easily save 10 to 15% with this tip alone.
7. Don't shop hungry. If you're shopping for food, it'll make you buy more. If you're shopping for anything else, it'll make you hurry. Also avoid shopping depressed or angry. Buying stuff you don't need won't make you feel better, but if you're not careful you'll do it anyway.
8. Shop alone. Kids and spouses that act like kids will often whine, cajole or otherwise try to influence you into impulse buys. Leave 'em at home.
9. Keep receipts and send in rebate slips. Very few consumers actually return rebate coupons. Which is, of course, exactly what the manufacturers are hoping for. Don't be a sap… get what you've got coming. Keep your receipts and don't hesitate to return anything that disappoints you in even the slightest way. Keep in mind that many stores will refund the difference if you find an item cheaper elsewhere after you've bought it and most will match competitors prices.
10. Get 10% to 15% off by opening a department store credit account. Stores often offer you substantial discounts to induce you to sign up for (and get hooked on) their high-interest credit cards. Fine. Take them up on their offer and get your discount. But when the statement comes in, pay the bill in full and cancel the card in writing. Don't just stop using the card: if you don't officially cancel the account, it will continue to be reflected on your credit history.
11. Don't pay for extra features that you don't need. Fancy extras on everything from cars to Blu-rays are often high-profit-margin items for manufacturers and dealers. Even if it only costs “a little more” why buy things you'll never use? Fewer gadgets can also mean longer product life with less in repair bills.
12. Buy your furniture and appliances pre-scratched. Scratch-and-dent can save you plenty, especially when you bargain down the price even more.
13. Open your own temporary store by having a garage/yard sale. You probably have lots of stuff that you don't want or need, and that's just money that's lying around your house. Spend a day going around your home and identifying everything that you haven't touched in a year. That's stuff you should probably either sell or donate to charity. If you decide on a yard or garage sale, talk to neighbors first and see if they'll join you: the more stuff you have and the more people you have, the better off you'll be. Publicize the sale with signs around the neighborhood (providing they're legal), a newspaper ad several days in advance of the sale, and a post on your Facebook page. List your best items in the ads (e.g., tools and antiques are top draws.)
Prepare carefully for the sale.
Segregate items by price ($.25 table, $.50 table, etc.) and use colored tags to identify items. Make it simple for shoppers and for you. If you don't sell everything, that may not be all bad, because in some cases, you might be better donating items to charity anyway. For example, if you're going to sell a shirt for ten cents, you might be able to donate it to Goodwill and get a $1.00 tax write-off.
That could save you more in taxes than you'd have gotten from selling it for cash.
When you have a sale, beware of shoplifters. Believe it or not, people will actually steal things that they could buy for a dime!
14. Buy at yard and garage sales. This is the smartest shopping you can do, providing you confine your purchases to only what you actually need. Then donate it to charity, it's a money maker.
15. Share the cost. If you're going to buy something that is useful to your neighbors and only needed occasionally, start your own “co-op.” Splitting the cost of a ladder, lawn mower, gardening equipment, tools, and many other expensive items will reduce their cost by at least half (depending on how many people are in your co-op) and will barely register on the “inconvenience scale.”
16. When clothes shopping, start at home. Many of us go to the store and buy clothes when we already have similar items at home that we've forgotten. Do a careful inventory of your clothes before you buy anything, including the ones you have tucked away in the back of your closet or attic. Added bonus: this will also allow you to make money by selling, consigning or donating things you're not ever going to wear again. Donate your unused clothing to charity, like Goodwill.
This website will help you get cheap clothes and make some cash at the same time: ThredUP is a fashion resale website where you can buy secondhand clothing or sell some of your own pieces. The clothing items featured at the website are as good as new, so you can get some really amazing deals!
If you don’t manage to find the piece you need at thredUP, then Twice should be your next shopping destination. You’ll love the 40% off deal for your first order at this website! Twice allows you to buy high-quality items or sell the clothes you want to get rid of: LikeTwice.com
So you need a special piece for an important event? You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on designer clothes when you can rent them at RentTheRunway.com for a massively reduced price tag.
17. Don’t shop, swap. Instead of spending money on the latest best seller or new DVDs, invite all of your friends over for a quarterly swap party. “Everyone brings books, movies, music, or even children’s toys that they are ready to part with – and then leaves with something new,” she says.