It’s easy to find specific tips online that can help you save money on a particular service or product. A quick Google search for “saving money on braces” or “how to save on homeowner’s insurance” brings up dozens of results.
But what about general-money-saving knowledge? Some people are naturally frugal, and “general savings” comes naturally to them. But other people didn’t grow up around frugal role models, and need some help getting into a savings lifestyle.
Here are a few “general best practices” for saving money while you shop. This list isn’t geared towards saving on any particular item, like groceries or airline tickets. Instead, it’s a “big-picture” list of how to approach your shopping, regardless of whether you’re booking a hotel or picking up detergent.
1. Bring a list. Shopping with a list is the #1 way to save money at the store — regardless of whether you’re running errands at Target or picking up groceries at Kroger. Stores are designed to encourage us to make impulse purchases. Shopping without a list can result in spending too much money. Write down what you need before you go shopping and stick to your list. Only purchase the things on your list, no more.
If you see something that you think you want, write it down, and return to the store later to buy the item. There’s a good chance you’ll discover that you don’t need it “enough” to merit a return trip to the store.
2. Read couponing blogs. Do you love the idea of couponing but are not a fan of all the hassle? Coupon bloggers do the work for you. Instead of mindlessly browsing for coupons, which might result in buying more than you need, look for specific lists of cleaning supplies, grocery items, and other things that you might need to pick up from the store. Many couponing blogs even have printable shopping lists you can carry with you next time you are at the grocery store — which goes back to Tip #1, make a list.
3. Create a swap club. Connect a group of friends and decide on items you want to swap. This could be clothing, shoes, jewelry, baby toys, books or anything. Swapping helps you get rid of unused items and take home “new” items for free. The best items to swap are the ones that don’t need to be fitted or tailored. It’s hard to swap clothes or shoes, since people are different sizes, but it’s much easier to swap handbags, children’s toys and other goods.
4. Use social media. Follow your favorite retail stores, hotels, airlines or other businesses on Twitter or like them on Facebook to unlock great deals. Retailers often use social media to release exclusive coupons for their followers. They also use the sites to let you know about new products or online sales that might not be advertised elsewhere. Just be careful not to buy anything because it’s on sale. It’s tempting to buy something if you see that it’s 50 percent off, but remember — don’t buy it unless you need it.
5. Pick up the phone. Pick up the phone before you book a service whether it’s a caterer, hotel or trailer rental. Call the service provider directly and ask about any unadvertised deals. That quick call might result in big savings.
Kennedi writes about frugality for women.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.