1. Rewards Cards
If the stores you frequent have rewards cards, get one! Always have it with you and make sure your other half has a copy too. Once you spend a certain dollar amount, you’ll be rewarded. Perhaps you’ll get a $10 reward to use on future merchandise, or perhaps you’ll get a certain percentage of cash back. Or, many stores now offer rewards on certain products, like gas, hotels or dining. Double up on the savings by using either a store-branded credit card, which may give you extra savings. Moreover, it is not just grocery stores that have rewards cards these days. Drugstores, home building supply stores and restaurants all offer rewards to customers.
Coupons are usually the first thing that comes to mind when you think about saving money. Everyone has read, "Pair your coupons with sale items." It may sound like something you only see on TV, but doing so really gives you the best bang for your buck. Many grocery stores also offer double coupons up to a certain value. Where do you find coupons? One day a week, the local newspaper will normally have at least one flyer full of them. You can also go to store websites and either download electronic coupons to your store rewards card or print out coupons. If you download coupons, make sure you keep a list, so you will know what you have! Check out manufacturers' websites for items you use often, like pet food or a favorite brand of yogurt. Often, manufacturers will have coupons on their site. Some have an e-newsletter that sends a link for coupons right to your inbox. Simply print it out and take it with you!
When you are in a store, keep an eye out for coupons and refund forms. Some stores have coupon kiosks near the front of the store where you can print out "coupons of the day." Some stores have a place where people leave coupons that they cannot use. Likewise, coupons may be hanging on shelves or given out with tasty samples. Watch for coupons stuck to the packaging of items that you and your family like, because this is practically free money.
The crucial thing to remember is not to use a coupon just because you have it. Use coupons for products you use anyway or new products you would like to try. ALWAYS check prices, because store brands may cost less, even when you use a coupon for a name-brand. Do try some of the store-brand items your family though, because you may be surprised at the quality and find another way to save money!
3. Bargain Stores
Bargain stores are all the stores that have cropped up that have the word "Dollar" in their name. There is likely one within a 40 mile radius of your home – it would behoove you to find out where it is. Regardless of how long the drive is, paying literally $1 for countless items will be well worth the investment of gas. Stock up on cold medicine, greeting cards, seasonal items, paper goods, snacks, cleaning supplies and even books to save literally hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Things like underwear and socks, plates & picture frames may be less expensive here too, if you’re willing to sacrifice style for major savings.
Danny Mizratti saves money by bargain-shopping, frequenting thrift stores and visiting www.backgroundcheck.org.