With my family of 4, we only have $30 available in our budget each month for “miscellaneous” purchases. So, saving in stores is a must!
I’ll start by saying, shopping retail is a last resort for me. I’ll try all other cost-savings avenues first because, so many times, I’ve found the items my family and I needed for significantly less money, or free, by shopping online or shopping off-the-books. So, consider checking out alternative shopping options first.
But, when I do shop in stores, here are some of my tips and tricks for getting the most from my money:
1) Couponing. What’s great about couponing nowadays is the broad awareness of it. What this means for us is that there are many websites and apps available to make the couponing process faster. Doing it yourself truly will take hours upon hours of work comparing prices, and searching for coupons.
My #1 go-to couponing website is KrazyCouponLady. The KrazyCouponLady provides a long list of stores to choose from. Simply:
- Choose the store where you plan to shop.
- Scroll through the list of couponing deals for that week. Each deal includes the product, its original price, an easy-to-understand breakdown of coupons and rebates with links or information of how to get the deals, and the final price you’ll pay after all coupons and/or rebates are applied.
- Select your deals.
- Print ahead any coupons (links to coupons are provided if it’s an online coupon); or, locate the newspaper coupons as you’re able.
- Head to the store!
Here’s an example of a “moneymaker” (that’s right, you can make money by buying stuff!):
*As a side note, I typically will write a list of what I’m supposed to be paying so I can double check I’m getting the right deal at the store. To do an easy check, you can also utilize the KrazyCouponLady app.
2) Not on Sale? Ask! There’s nothing wrong with being your own savings-advocate. When shopping in stores, if your items aren’t on sale, don’t be afraid to ask anyway.
I’ve done this, and had success, many times. Several times the store had offers already available that I just didn’t know about, and many other times, the sales manager provided small percentages off for the sake of good customer service.
Keep in mind to always be polite and respectful. Remember, it’s about asking the question, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. If they are able to provide you with a deal, that’s fantastic! (We can all use a little break for our budgets). But, if no deal is available, that’s okay, too.
3) Consign and Shop Consignment. This tip saves my family hundreds of dollars a year! With two young kids who, I feel, grow faster than my student loan interest, we are frequently purchasing full seasons’ worth of wardrobes (one for a boy, one for a girl – no hand-me-downs available here). Needless to say, with my family’s $30/month we have available in our budget for purchases such as clothing, we can not afford to buy new. So, we consign!
As a consignor, I rarely pay over $10 for clothes, toys, and accessories for my kids.
Every change of season, pay extra attention to the fit of clothes, shoes, and accessories for your kids, and/or yourself. If clothes, shoes, and accessories are too small, don’t throw them away. Set them aside; start a pile to sort through.
When you have a fair amount of items (I’ll typically wait to consign over 20 items and less than 50 items, the limit of items my consignment shop allows in one visit), use a critical eye to sort through your pile. Consign items in ‘like-new’ condition; items that are slightly more worn, consider donating instead. The consignment shop will sell your items for you, then split a portion of the profit with you to spend in their store!
4) Be Patient. Yes, I know this can be a tough one. But, being patient for the items you want can really pay off.
You may have already heard of the 30-day rule. The one where if you see something you want to buy, wait 30 days before making the purchase. Save up the money for the item. Then, if you still want it after 30 days, go ahead and buy it. The point of this is to deter impulse buying.
It’s a good idea, and a strategy I use sometimes.
More often than not, though, I practice purposeful procrastination. Purposefully waiting to make the purchase.
While I’m waiting, I’m watching to the item to go on sale. Or, waiting to acquire a gift card or extra money to buy it.
If it’s getting close to a holiday or my birthday, I’ll ask for a gift card to the store my item is at.
If I’m not nearing an occasion that I may be gifted money, then I’ll turn to UserTesting quickly and easily earn some extra money.
Happy shopping, Savers!
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