I have been frugal for as long as I can remember and I have my grandfather to blame. To my grandfather, life was like a scavenger hunt; he was constantly looking for a pot of gold and could see the treasure in anything. I can vividly remember he would save and collect used cans and recycle them for money, or how he used his acres of land as an opportunity to start his own plant nursery because he had a green thumb to match. I’ll never forget the day the City of Miami brought palm trees from him. From him I learned, let your gifts make room for you and there is always a way to save. Fast forward years later and I won’t make a purchase without first searching for the best deal and a coupon to match.
Disclaimer: I am not an extreme couponer! I don’t have a room full of stockpiled items I’ll never get around to using, I don’t spend hours driving or shopping around to find every item I have a coupon for, and I’m still satisfied if my shopping trip does not warrant a free purchase. I bargain shop and shop to save for family, friends, & myself. There are a few methods I use to save on a regular basis, I’ll share three ways to guarantee savings on your next shopping trip.
Price matching is an awesome way to save money by comparing the price of an item(s) from retailers and having the lower price honored by a participating ad match retailer. The key is finding a retailer that honors price matching. Target and Walmart (As of October, Walmart no longer participates in in-store price matching). For my grocery, shopping, and household items I religiously price match as many items I am able to on a weekly basis. Here are the steps:
· Before my weekly grocery trip I collect the sales ad from about 5 grocery stores, I circle all the items that I want to purchase in that ad that is being sold that week for a lower price than Walmart is featuring.
· Write the details in a note pad; including the price, ounce, and which store is featuring the sale of the lower price item.
· Be familiar with your list and bring the ads and your note pad with you. Being prepared is key for a smooth transaction. The cashier appreciates when you are prepared, because you are less likely to hold up the next customer in line.
Let the cashier know that you are ad matching and they will change the price for each featured item, it is a good idea to separate your purchase with price match vs non price match items.
Perhaps the best feature of price matching at walmart is their saving catcher app. For me, this app is in the top 5 of my all time favorite. After shopping at walmart you simply scan your receipt using your saving catcher app, walmart then compares the prices of your purchased items to stores within a certain mile radius, if they find any of your purchased items at a lower price, they refund the dollar item to you via an e-gift card. This has got to be one of the best and easiest ways I’ve ever saved money; you can price match at the checkout line then scan your receipt for additional savings in case you missed something.
If you don’t have a subscription to your local newspaper, it may be something that you want to consider. Most cities (Groupon) offer great membership specials for signing up for the year, but if you can only afford a few days, Saturday and Sunday will be the most advantageous. Why else? For the coupons of course. Clipping coupons and comparing prices between retailers can save you a lot of time and money. With my coupons alone last week I was able to save $11.50. Amazing when you think
about how that money can now be re directed towards something else. If you don’t want the subscription to the newspaper, then consider buying the Sunday paper for $1.50 and on most weeks you will see a return of over $10 when you do your shopping, so the price of the paper has already paid off. In addition to the newspaper, I also use the website coupons.com. This website features coupons on grocery, household, cosmetic, and prescription items. All you would need to do is print the coupons and add them to your stack from your newspaper for your next shopping trip. The coupons available on this site recycle every so often and the expiration dates allow you to have it handy if you don’t need the item immediately.
If you have a smartphone, two apps dedicated to helping you save are Snip Snap and Retail Me Not. You can customize the apps to make them your own with features such as enable location, doing so will show you deals at nearby stores, malls, and restaurants. The app shares coupons from retailers as well as cash back and gift card deals. The settings allow you to save deals for later when you find a deal that won’t expire soon. I went to New York & Company recently and just as I was checking out, I remembered my Retail Me Not app and did a quick search, by doing so I save myself an additional $25 dollars off my purchase of clearance items. Snip Snap provides similar savings including coupons from retailers, and free items promotions. If you’re looking for family outings, activities for dates, or any service, Groupon or Living Social is the app to use. I’m sure you don’t live under a rock, but just in case you need a reminder, both apps (Groupon and Living Social) are e-commerce marketplace offering a plethora of savings on activities, travel deals, and good and services. Groupon is definitely an app I check when I need to buy gifts or am looking for fun weekend activities with my boys.
Who doesn’t like saving money and with minimum effort! The mentioned methods are not time consuming, if that’s your excuse. 15 minutes at most to review the ads, make a list, cut coupons, and download saving apps, all for tons of savings; totally worth it if you ask me! When you get to the check-out line, hold your coupons out to the clerk, and say it loud, you saved some money and you’re proud!