While some are more ardent shop-a-holics than others, most all of us would be glad to save a few dollars on our next shopping trip. Below are some tips to help you save money on your next shopping trip whether it be online, in the grocery store, or at the supermarket.
Ask yourself three questions
1. Do I really need this? If the answer is yes, and it’s a non-essential item (i.e. the complete Star Wars saga special edition or your 3rd box of Girl Scout cookies), take a lap around the store or better yet leave the building altogether without it. If by the end of your shopping trip you are still pondering the delicious goodness of Thin Mints, perhaps you need this after all.
2. Can I borrow it? A dozen eggs for the one egg you need for brownies? Surely a neighbor has that. Great looking power tools for a one-time house repair? I know I’ve seen some of those gathering dust in my friend’s garage.
3. Can I find it cheaper somewhere else? The impulse to buy has a strong, magnetic pull on many of us! But great damage has been done to many a wallet over the impulse buy. Try your hand at price matching, even if just with a quick Internet search. It may not be worth your trip to another store to save a dollar or two, but with a simple online search you could save a chunk of money.
Have a list and STICK TO IT. You know the basic things that you need from the grocery to get through the week. Take the time to sit down and jot out a quick list with your necessities plus the ingredients for your meals for the week. Or if it becomes necessary to make a supermarket run, write down the toiletries and house items you need, so that you don’t get unnecessarily distracted by the beautiful display of Star Wars paraphernalia or Rachael Ray cookware. Planning may take a little time on the front end but can save you $$$ later.
Planning ahead also allows you to take advantage of coupons, sales and specials. Match these up using online searches or weekly ads to get the most for your dollar.
Grab that free money…
We can’t all be extreme couponers with stockpiles of free Crest toothpaste, but coupons are a no-brainer way to save on your shopping trips. And not just at the grocery store. Signing up for email newsletters or mailings from your favorite stores often provide you with free coupons as well.
Your weekly Sunday paper is an obvious place to find coupons, but there are also many other ways to access coupons especially online. Coupons.com is a great place to start, but you can also use apps for specific stores such as Kroger or Target’s Cartwheel app, which contain coupons for products purchased from that retailer.
For online shopping, double check for discount codes before you press buy. This can be accomplished with a quick Google search (“coupon code Banana Republic”), or visiting websites dedicated to the cause such as RetailMeNot.com. For the truly savvy shopper, consider a web extension like Honey, which searches the web at checkout for discounts so that you never miss a coupon code.
With a little effort you can make a big difference in your final checkout total. Some of it takes willpower, and some of takes the effort of seeking out deals. But all of it can be worthwhile when you spend less money at checkout.