These ideas for saving money are in addition to all of the other ways to save that I have shown you on this site, but they don't necessarily require their own individual pages. Peruse this section and pick-up on some new tips, and quit doing some old tricks. I'll definitely be adding to this section often, so keep checking back fellow Discount Fanatics!
Take advantage of tax-free shopping when it’s available. Visit the Federation of Tax Administrators website here, click on State Comparisons, then State Sales Tax Holidays for the current year to see if your State offers any Sales Tax Holidays. Visit our full page regarding this to learn more.
If you don't have your heart set on a particular color, then you can save a bunch of money by purchasing what Home Depot calls "Oops" Paints. These are paints that were mixed for a customer but didn't turn out the way the customer wanted, or returned paints. Home Depot and other paint suppliers have these oops-type paints and sell them for a significantly discounted price! Go in and ask to see their "oops" section of paints, and see if there are any colors you like.
If you’re shopping on an online website, you’re in the check-out process, and you see a box that says Coupon Code, Promotional Code, Promotion Code, or wording of the like… STOP!!! Open a new window in your browser, go to whatever search engine you use (i.e., Google) and type in the name of the Retailer, plus whatever their terminology is (i.e., Sears Coupon Code, Sears Promotion Code…). Then look for free coupon codes for that Retailer. Sites such as Coupon Mountain and RetailMeNot are popular choices for coupon codes, but they are not the only choices.
If you’re buying DVDs of new movies when they come out, QUIT IT! What a waste of money. Please, instead of buying that dvd, just take your money, toss it on the grill, light it, and flame on! Pop Quiz, Genius (how many of you remember what movie this line came from?), out of the last 25 movies you’ve seen, how many of them would you watch again and again and again? Maybe 1, if that. The only point to purchasing a movie would be because you intend to watch that same movie over and over and over again. It’s like getting married. You’re committing to have relations with that same person over and over and over again (now I’m just being funny) – I love you husband, dear. Seriously though, in my entire lifetime, I have maybe 10 movies that I’ve watched more than 5 times, the rest are one night stands. Stop wasting your money buying movies and simply rent or watch online. If after you rent, you are so enthralled with that film that you want to “put a ring on it,” then commit to it. Visit our page to watch Free Movies.
If you purchase your coffee out every morning on the way to work, QUIT IT! This really adds up. Use that coffee maker you have at home. And if you’re into that fancy coffee or espresso with the double shot of this and the triple shot of that, purchase (at a discount and using one of the cash back sites) a machine and make your own cup at home. It simply doesn’t make good financial sense to spend $2.00 to $6.00 every day for a cup of coffee. Let’s say you spend $5.00, 5 days a week for a fancy cup of coffee somewhere – that’s $1300.00 a year!!! What else could you have done with that $1300.00? I can think of a lot of things. Every time you walk out of that Coffee Shop with a $5.00 cup of coffee, they should stamp “Sucker” or “Gotcha” on the lid of the cup, just to bring home my point.
If you only purchase brand-name groceries, QUIT IT! Try Store brand Cheeses, Orange Juice, Breads, Flour, Sugar, Paper Products, OTC Medications, and more. They can save you a ton of money. The exception to this rule is that the brand name is cheaper with a coupon or sale. A Consumer Reports study showed that a family that spent $100 a week on groceries could save more than $1500 a year by switching to store brands. WOW!
Don’t sign up for a Credit Card with an Annual Fee attached to it. Who needs that extra expense? The one and only exception to this rule is if you have bad credit and you’re trying to reestablish/improve your credit with a Prepaid Credit Card that charges a small Annual Fee. In this case, you may not have a choice, but look for a card with a minimal fee. If you already have a card with a large Annual Fee, you may want to consider dumping it, but be aware that closing a credit card account will lower your Credit Score slightly. You must weigh the benefit for yourself. Certainly it depends on how high that Annual fee is, whether you can pay off the balance on that card, whether you can transfer the balance on that card to a no or low interest rate card!
Most of us choose debit, even though it's a Visa or other Credit Card check card. Either way, it all comes out of your checking account. But, choosing "credit" and signing for your transactions, in the case of a Visa Debit Card, gives you added protections on your purchases! Such as Visa's Zero Liability Policy that includes fraudulent use protection. Choose "Credit" and sign for those purchases from now on.
Even if you don’t do this every day, it pays to do this at least a few times a week. If you have leftovers from dinner, don’t let them sit in the fridge until they spoil and you toss them. Take them for lunch the next day. There are so many less expensive choices for packing your own lunch, than dining out or fast food normally. But, if you do dine out for lunch, think dollar menu and/or coupons. Those so-called Value Menus that Fast Food places throw in front of you that are now $6.00 to $8.00 for 1 person are so high-priced now, that they are no longer the best value. Go for the dollar menu, or use a buy-one-get-one-free coupon. Also, before you order, ask what’s on “special.” Either way, try to bring your beverage (soda, water, whatever) from home. You can request a free cup of ice from the Fast Food Restaurant if needed.
Don’t feel like running around town to get Sales on Groceries or Office Supplies? Well, QUIT IT! Take some stores up on their Price Matching policies and offers. WalMart promises to price match and so do Staples, Office Depot and OfficeMax. Print their policies right here or on their websites, and take them with you. I also suggest that you take the Ad or Sales Ad from the competitor that you want them to price match.
Are you purchasing those pretty plastic bag clips that seal your chips and other bagged goods? QUIT IT! They seem pretty cheap, considering that you can get them at the Dollar Store for 4 for $1.00 or .25 cents each. But there's a much cheaper way to seal those bags... Purchase and use the black binder clips that you get at the Office Supply Stores. You can get the small clips for @ .06 cents each and the medium for @ .15 cents each!
Ask the store's that you frequent, which competitor's coupons they accept, then start using them and stacking them with Manufacturer's coupons if allowed. For instance, I didn't know that Home Depot and Lowe's will accept each other's coupons. Most grocery store's will accept other nearby grocery store coupons, etc. Some Office Supply Stores accept other Office Supply Store coupons. Just ask.
Are you paying for shipping on most of your online orders? QUIT IT! There are many ways to get around paying for shipping… (1) Search for websites that charge the same (or less) for the same item, AND that offer Free Shipping; (2) reach the minimum purchase in order to get Free Shipping (i.e. spend $50 and get Free Shipping), then use a coupon code if you have one to save even more money; (3) visit www.freeshipping.org they provide a list of coupon codes for free shipping at certain retail websites; (4) if they are items you purchase regularly, sign up for Amazon’s Subscribe & Save Program: not only will you receive a discount on your purchase, but it comes with Free Shipping; (5) visit freeshippingday.com, they tell you which day each year before Christmas select retailers will ship orders for free, and provide a list of those retailers.
When there’s an item that you use often and/or it stores for a long period of time, such as flour, sugar and spices/seasonings, it pays to buy the medium or large size as opposed to the small size. Usually it’s only $1.00 to $2.00 more than the small and you get significantly more! Check the cost per ounce or per unit. The exception to this is when you have a coupon. When coupons don’t have a size limitation, often times you get a better deal by purchasing the smallest size.
Four times a year I go to Dollar Tree and stock up on .50 cents Greeting Cards for all occasions, such as Birthday, Anniversary, Thank You, Get Well and Holiday. When you receive a card, do you look on the back to see how much the person spent on the card, and use that as a means to determine how much they care? It’s ridiculous to spend $3.00 to $6.00 on a paper card that people will read and most likely throw in the trash.
When checking prices on Amazon, if you’re going by and paying the price quoted in red, assuming that it’s the lowest price available, QUIT IT! It’s usually not the lowest price available! Look just below that price for an underlined section that reads, “(quantity here) new from (price here).” If there are used ones available, to the right of that, there will be an underlined section that reads, ”(quantity here) used from (price here).” Click on this section and scroll down to find the lowest price including shipping. Be sure not to stop at the “Feature Merchants” only when scrolling, because usually the lowest prices are below them.
If you’re buying expensive Body Washes instead of Bars of Soap, QUIT IT! Body Wash can cost you (depending on the brand) more than 8 times per wash than a bar of soap. The only exception to this is when you can get the body wash for free or cheap at places like CVS or Walgreens with CVS Extrabucks or Walgreens Register Rewards.
If you’re paying more than $1.98 per pound for fresh boneless skinless Chicken Breast (and I know a lot of you are paying over $3.00 a pound), QUIT IT! WalMart sells it everyday for $1.98 per pound! You can go in, purchase the freshest dates, take them home and freeze them!
If you’re bidding on items on Ebay days or even hours before the auction ends, QUIT IT! You’re simply running up the price and allowing others to outbid you. You must wait until the final minute; preferably, final seconds of the auction. If you know that you will not be available in the final minute or seconds, use a website like AuctionSniper that places your bid for you five seconds before the auction ends. They charge a small fee only if you win the auction. You can pre-schedule them to bid on dozens, even hundreds of auctions!
If you’re using the default or other “Sort by” listing to appear first in your Search Results on eBay, QUIT IT! You can either go into “Customize view/Advanced Options/Sort order in Search/Price: lowest first,” or you can manually enter “Price + Shipping: lowest first” each time you perform a search – I prefer to have it automatic. But this is the best result to see the LOWEST price that you can get this item for, including shipping. With this view, eBay does the math for you and adds the merchandise + shipping (even if shipping is shown as free) to show you the lowest price at the top.
Unless you use an electronic Reader, consider purchasing your books ‘used’ on Amazon. The price difference from New to Used is substantial. I’ve been purchasing $19.00 books for .09 cents to $1.25, plus $3.99 shipping. Then I use my $5.00 Swagbucks Amazon Gift Card code, and get the book for Free to Pennies! (Ha-Cha-Cha!!) Note: Be sure to look for the used books marked ‘Very Good Condition’ or ‘Good Condition.’
If you’re printing all of your documents using colored ink, QUIT IT! Go into settings and print in grayscale or black-and-white for most documents to save lots of ink and money! Also, save ink and paper by not printing unnecessary last pages (from online) that don’t contain anything but a header and advertising. "Preview" the document before printing, then only print the pages with the data you need.
10 for $10 doesn’t usually mean that you have to purchase 10 to get the deal. The store is hoping that you will believe this and purchase 10 of the item though. Normally it just means that the item sells for $1.00 each. If you have any question, ask at the Customer Service desk, have them scan one, or ask the Manager.
We pay more for our laziness and if you don’t believe me, check the unit price differences between the block of cheese vs. the bagged pre-shredded cheese, or the head of lettuce vs. the pre-washed chopped lettuce. I could go on, but you get the point. We’ve gotten lazy in the kitchen and it’s costing us extra money. I bought a block of cheese and it took me all of 3 minutes to grate it. Let’s get back to just some of the basics folks.
Here's a great tip for using some of those freebies that you'll be receiving in the mail if you follow our Freebies and Deals Blog. Create a Basket for your Guest Bedroom or Guest Bathroom filled with free samples! The one in the photo is in my Guest Bedroom. If my guests forget anything, it's in there: shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, conditioner, gel, tampons, razors -- all free! I've got way more than this, too. I use some of the freebies and I also sell some at my Yard Sales.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but Pay Your Bills On-Time! When you don’t, it costs you in more ways than one. Late fees average $28 to $35 per bill. If you have many of these per year, this really adds up. If you’re late on a credit card and you’re at your limit, they’ll also add Overlimit Fees! Then there’s the effect on your Credit and Credit Score. Save money by setting up online automatic bill payment on or near payday, so that you never forget the important payments. This also saves you postage.
Stop using ATMs that are not your bank. You may think these $2.00 and $3.00 fees are trivial, but if you do it often enough, it adds up to $100 to $200 dollars per year. OUCH – they gotcha! Think of what else you could have done with that money. Trick, if you really need that cash, and your bank is no-where in sight, stop in a grocery store or drugstore and get a cold drink or a pack of gum along with cash back at the register, where they don’t charge a fee. At least you’re getting something for your $2 to $3.00 cash!