While our frugal mind-set reminds us of the basic rule “avoid paying full price”, we need strategies to make it happen. Thankfully, there are plenty of them for nearly any occasion. Always look for savings opportunities and cheaper alternatives to full price products and services. Here is a summary of key strategies which we will explore more fully in the future.
Comparison shop – A key strategy for spending wisely is to compare prices for your item at more than one place, especially for expensive items. Use one of the many internet shopping comparison sites such as www.shopping.com.
Sales, coupons, rebates – Look for savings opportunities or wait for the item to be on sale. Look for online coupons and promo codes at many sites such as retailmenot.com.
Refurbished, used, auctions, swapping – I like electronic gadgets, but hate paying the full cost to get them, so I often buy refurbished, outlet, warehouse, open box, or even used items at places like ebay.com and Amazon.com. As a bonus, I get a genuine thrill at getting great gadgets at bargain prices. You can often get name-brands for nearly half-price and manufacturer refurbished items usually come with warranties.
Generics versus name brands – Buying generic drugs and store brands are among the absolute best ways to save money on drugs, groceries, clothes, and shoes. Most store brands aim to duplicate the name brands and sometimes even come from the same factories. Don’t pay extra just to get a famous brand. (Shouldn’t those clothes and shoe companies PAY YOU to wear and advertise their name brand!?) This is also a surer way to save at the grocery store than couponing – (yes I dared to put that in print!)
When to buy – Some things are cheaper to buy at certain times of the year, especially seasonal clothes, decorations, tools, foods, and outdoor gear. Freeshipping.org and lifehacker.com both have great blog articles on the best times to buy what.
Haggling – Most people would be shocked at how many things you can bargain over including clothing, electronics, appliances, furniture, medical care, etc. This is one advantage you have in a brick and mortal store over an online store. Do your research, show a competitor’s ad, offer to pay in cash, be willing to walk away, ask if there are any sales deals, make an offer, and avoid paying full price.