It seems that most of us became savvy shoppers during the holidays, as is shown by the decline in revenue for most department stores. This is not a bad thing, but it seems clear that we have been forced into becoming smarter purchasers in lieu of the current economic crisis. With so much uncertainty about our economic future, here are some tips to help you trim down the costs of shopping regardless of whether it is for groceries, clothing, or other essential items on your list.
1. Use coupons whenever possible. There are a myriad of online coupon sites that offer discounts and printable coupons. The Sunday circulars have a variety of grocery coupons as well. Get the scissors out – it’s time to start clipping.
2. Before making any purchase online, sign up free with Ebates. They have a comprehensive list of stores where you can save up to 8% on clothing, electronics, and other items.
3. Prepare a list before you go to the supermarket. There’s an old saying, “Never shop on an empty stomach!” It is a fact that when you shop without having a bite before you go, you tend to buy more than on a full stomach. Only buy those items on your grocery list. Take inventory of your pantry closet to ensure you are not buying that which you already have.
4. Utilize consignment shops in two ways – bring your new or used clothes to them to sell and collect a commission, and shop there as well. You can be assured their clothing is of the finest quality. Use the commission earned to buy what you need.
5. Before taking trip to a particular department store, check out their online sales. Ascertain what discounts are being offered first. Then move on to comparison shop that same item with other online stores. You can save quite a bit of money shopping online instead of wasting gas trying to find a parking space at the mall.
6. If you do decide to head out to a department store on a sale day, go early in the morning before the crowds descend on the place. Go directly to the department where the item is located, buy it and then leave. Don’t waste time looking around; the temptation to buy something else is always there.
7. Just as you made a holiday list with a budget attached, utilize the same philosophy when shopping during the year. Stick to the budget. If you can’t pay for an item with cash, you can’t afford it.
8. Leave the credit cards at home. With interest rates climbing, the last thing you need is to add more debt to your expenditures.
Filed under: Personal Finance