Think you’ve squeezed every last penny from your budget? Think again. No matter what it is you think you may need, there are all sorts of ways to squeeze just a little more, and the store is the LAST place you should go! If you aspire to be a savvy shopper in spite of all the proclamations that the recession is over (yeah, right – double digit unemployment anyone?), use these tips to stretch your dollar or avoid spending it altogether.
2. Can you borrow it?
You borrow books from the library, why not ask friends or neighbors if you can borrow things that you’ll use infrequently (such as a ladder or a pickup truck). Here’s the top tip on borrowing – return the item in BETTER shape than when you borrowed it. Wash the pickup, clean the ladder, sharpen the lawnmower blade. If you get a reputation for returning things in better shape, no one will mind lending you something. And if you break it, replace it.
3. Search for a coupon
Enter the product’s name or the store’s name followed by “coupon code” into the search engine of your choice and see if there is a coupon available. A penny saved is 1.4 pennies earned (taxes, ya know).
4. Ask about upcoming sales
Salespeople usually know about upcoming sales months in advance. It never hurts to ask if the item you’re considering for purchase will be on sale in the next few days, weeks, or months.
5. Is it cheaper somewhere else
Check out other retailers that sell the product you’re interested in. Chances are very good you’ll find that item at a better price if you’re willing to look.
6. Use online shoppers
Sites like My Simon, Become, Pricegrabber, PriceScan, bizrate, and Shopping allow you to enter the product you’re looking for and then aggregates many sites to show you the best price and availability.
7. Try bartering
Regular retailers will rarely engage in bartering, but you can give it a try with many service industries (lawn-care, piano lessons, dental work, wed design, tutoring, etc). Know the tax implications of bartering beforehand.
8. Time the markets
Yes, you CAN time the markets – the grocery market, the automobile market, the clothing market. It’s all in knowing when things will suddenly get cheaper (summer clothes in autumn, current year cars in late summer).
9. Learn to negotiate
Negotiation isn’t hard if you’re willing to learn a few techniques for getting what you want. You’ve probably been negotiating all your life anyway (kids are master negotiators), so have a peek at Secrets of Power Negotiating and start saving money!
10, Consider substitution
Is there something that’s similar that will do the job just as well … or that will be good enough? I know we’re all in search of excellence but sometimes excellence is too darn expensive and good enough is, well, good enough.
11. Hit the yard sales
There’s nothing like the feeling of scoring big at a yard sale and saving some serious bucks. Of course, it’s also pretty grand to HAVE a yard sale and score some serious cash too! Check out these sales to see if what you’re wanting to purchase is available.
12. Go retro and search the newspaper classifieds
I know, you’ll feel like a caveman searching through the classifieds, but there are still some serous bargains available in newspapers. You can also check out many classified sections in the online versions as well.
The best way to avoid spending that buck is to ask yourself one important question:
Do I really, REALLY need this?
Many times the answer is no and we’re shopping for other, emotional reasons (money is 100 percent emotional). Ask yourself some hard questions and determine to stay out of stores until you can give yourself substantial, solid reasons why you’re willing to give up your cash in exchange for this item.
Photo by shyb