There are two important things to keep in mind when saving money. You need to a) think ahead and b) be flexible.
How to not spend more money when you are trying to save money
In order to save money, you need to plan and think about the future. Not planning is a common mistake. Someone might see a good deal, buy 20 of the item, and then never end up using the 19 other products. Many people end up actually wasting money and overspending in order to get a discount or use a coupon.
When making a purchase, think ahead and decide when and where you will use the product and how many you will need. It’s okay to take an educated guess. It takes some time to figure out your own strategy as well as your consuming habits.
Will you really use it?
When shopping, think about if/when you will use what ever the “good deal” is. If it’s food, ask yourself if you have the space to store extras. Also, decide if you will be able to consume the product before it expires. If you are at a retail store and you see a great item on clearance, don’t just buy it because it is $1. If you don’t end up using it, it’s not a deal. If, on the other hand, a birthday is coming up and you know someone who would like the item, go ahead and purchase it. I got a ton of party favors at Target from the dollar section for my son’s birthday party. I went about a month before his birthday, saw the items, and knew they would make great favors for the following month.
Only cut coupons you will use
When cutting coupons, cut only the coupons you believe you will use. It’s a waste of time to cut everything. Unless you are a super couponer and plan to trade with others, just cut the ones you will use. Get a good coupon organizer so you can keep track of what you have. Read my Tips for Getting and Using Grocery Store Coupons for more information.
Cash Back Sites
Before I do any shopping online I either click through Ebates to get % back or I look for coupon / promotional codes I can apply toward my purchase. Read more on Cha Ching Queen about how to get % back at these places.
Before going to the store make a list of the items you need. Plan your meals. Unless you see a really good deal, try to stick with your list. When I make a list, I may just write down snacks. Then, when I get to the snack aisle I compare prices with the coupons I have to get the best deal.
Online coupon searches
Before I leave the house, whether I’m grocery shopping, mall shopping, or going out to eat, I do a quick online printable coupon. For groceries, I like to use a coupon database. You can search all printable coupons or do a specific search for a certain product. It’s also a good idea to do a Google search for manufacturer, retail, and restaurant coupons as well.
Let’s say your family eats a lot of Pop Tarts.Go to Google. Type “Pop Tarts printable coupon”. I found this 55 cents off Pop Tarts coupon.
Try it here. Type in the product name and “coupon” or “printable coupon”¬ See what comes up.
A couple of great restaurant and entertainment coupons sites are Restaurant.com and The Entertainment Book.
Ask for coupons
Don’t be afraid to ask for coupons.If there are certain products you use often, go to the company’s web site and request a coupon. Here’s more information on asking for coupons.
In order to get the best deals, you need to be flexible.You may have to compromise and not get the exact item you had planned on purchasing. As I mentioned earlier, it’s best to make a list before shopping to get a general idea of what you need. Let’s say you had steak planned for a meal, but you get to store and there is a deal on ground beef. If you really want to save money, substitute your steak meal for burgers. Buy a few extra packages of beef and keep them in the freezer. Please, do not buy 15 packages, unless you have the room to freeze them and are sure you will eat them before they expire.
When shopping at a retail store, check out the clearance section. Usually, these are clothes that are out of season.It may not be what you had planned on buying. If it’s summer and there’s a leather coat on sale at a “you’d be stupid not to get it price”. Only buy it if you think you or someone you know would wear it. I guess this goes along with the planning section as well.
Remember, plan and be flexible and you can be on your way to saving a lot of money each month.