Here are my methods for shopping.
1. Sales and Coupons:
- I buy what I don’t need when it goes on sale at a rock bottom price. This works for groceries and the necessities at home (paper towels, TP, toothpaste, cleaning products, bath products, etc.).
- I’ve loved Southern Savers for it’s ease of use (you can print a custom grocery list with coupon matchups). This method definitely takes patience and is time consuming. You have to buy Sunday Newspapers and then clip coupons to match the items that are on sale. This only works if you have time to pre-plan your shopping trip. But it works. I’ve saved as much as 75% on a trip.
- With the drugstore programs like CVS Extracare Bucks, Rite Aid Rebate and UP rewards and Walgreens Register Rewards, I can even get away with paying NOTHING out of pocket.
2. Clearance Items: Again, buying what I don’t need when it’s on sale at a rock bottom price. I love Target and Garden Ridge for this. I think we’re all familiar with this method. What’s even better is when you can combine Methods 1 & 2. Stores in the mall are good for this too. I also check RetailMeNot for printable mall coupons before I go. You can search their database of stores and see listings for printable coupons and coupon codes specific to each store.
My recent examples:
- I went to Claire’s on a good day when they had the 10 for $10 sale. All redlined items under $10 were $1 each. I stocked up for my nieces’ birthdays that are coming up as well as my stocking stuffers for next Christmas. (It is my goal this year not to wait until last minute.)
- Went to Wet Seal and paid $11 for two fake-croc clutches, one infinity scarf and a large rhinestone encrusted ring.
- Paid $17 at Charolotte Russe for three clutches and TWO pairs of shoes. Including these blushing beauts:
3. Money back websites: Basically, you register on a site (like ebates). When you shop, you search ebates for the online store you’re going to purchase from. Ebates generates a tracking ticket and when you check out and your purchase is confirmed, you will get cash back in your Ebates account. They send you your rebate check quarterly.
4. Online Websites: Living Social is an example and is one that I am currently a member of. Every day there is an offer by geographic area for members to purchase goods or services at drastically reduced prices. I’ve seen things range from salon services to restaurant vouchers, admission to local attraction and most recently, an Amazon $20 gift card for $10. So far, I’ve purchase the Amazon gift card, a $50 local restaurant voucher for $25 (allow me to rephrase that as 50% off the cost of my dinner and wine) and admission to a local skating rink for 4 for $15.
I loved the restaurant coupon because my husband and I were able to use it for our ‘date night’, which with two kids, is much needed but rarely occurs because of our busy lives and budgets! Groupon and restaurant.com are also other examples that are out there.
With all the above options, plus many others which I haven’t mentioned, there are so many ways to stretch your dollar. It takes time and patience but is well worth it!