How to Save Money on Just About Everything
Some call it being cheap. I call it financial genius.
As long as I can remember my family and friends have made fun of me for being a penny pincher. Leave it to me to pull out a coupon for the most obscure things almost anywhere.
But I’m not ashamed. I find joy in saving a dollar and I like to think when I find a deal that’s God speaking to me in my love language.
But I didn’t just stumble across my frugal ways. I’ve closely studied the habits of people who always seem to score the best deals. And I’ve compiled a list of 11 of their habits that you can easily mimic yourself.
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1. They buy before they need it
One of the first rules in spending less is buying things you know you’ll need when they’re on sale. Sure, you might not need it right now, but there are things you know you will ALWAYS need. Like a favorite snack, or toilet paper, or toothpaste. When you see these things on clearance, it would be foolish to leave it behind. Wait until you are desperate and I can guarantee you’ll pay full price.
2. They shop regularly and keep an eye on clearance
Great deals don’t just come to you, you need to go out and find them. And the way you do that is by checking out sales and clearance deals every time you’re at the store.
Running into Target for shampoo? Take a stroll by the end caps to see what’s on sale. Heck, you might even find that shampoo you were looking for on clearance. Or a really fun pillow :).
3. They follow the right people on social media
You do not need to be an expert in this area because there are people out there who have made this their full time job and they are sharing their finds with the rest of the deal loving world. Here are just a few of my favorite accounts. You can tell them ThatMinivanLife.com sent you ;).
*AubreySwanBlog– Aubrey, a mom with a passion for a bargain, who regularly reports clearance deals from places like Target, Kirklands, Pier 1 and several others.
*TheKrazyCouponLady – Joannie and Heather are my idols. These ladies taught me all I know about using coupons. But they also share all kinds of deals that don’t require coupons at all.
*All Things Target – another deal sharing mom who I like to check in with for the amazing 90% off deals after holidays. Group members post pictures on her Facebook page of things they find on clearance which makes the hunt even easier.
She also posts great deals she’s found on Amazon each week.
4. They shop after every major holiday
The best deals I score are the ones I find as part of after holiday clearance. Target is my favorite place to hunt for these deals.
And the things I find are not necessarily holiday related. A lot of it is generic home decor that happens to be a part of that seasons line of inventory. These are just a few of the items I’ve found for 90%.
I have made a game out of decorating my home with these deeply discounted items. If you happen to make a comment about something in my house I’m almost definitely going to tell you where I bought it and how much I paid for it. #sorrynotsorry
The accounts I mentioned in tip #3 are an amazing resource for this.
5. They aren’t committed to specific brands
We all love a loyal friend, but loyalty to products and brands is not super helpful when it comes to getting a good deal. Sales rotate and it won’t always be your favorite that’s on sale. But if you’re flexible you can buy the brand that IS on sale or on clearance and save big.
6. They shop garage sales
This is where you will find me on a summer Saturday morning. People are often just looking to get rid of things fast, so you can score some amazing deals on just about anything you can think of.
Things I look for regularly are: lightly used name brand clothing, brand new toys I can wrap up for Christmas, sports equipment for my kids, tools, small home decor items for styling bookshelves, etc..
Every Saturday is a treasure hunt. You never know what you’ll find!
7. They search Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace before buying new
If my husband and I are in the market for a big-ticket item like a specific piece of furniture, an appliance, or something we will only use for a short amount of time, we always check yard sale sites first. The internet makes it so easy to search specifically for an item you need without driving from yard sale to yard sale hoping to find it.
Plus, I’ve found that you can almost always negotiate a lower price than what people are asking online.
8. They sign-up for all the loyalty programs
If you’re going to shop at certain stores or eat at certain restaurants, you might as well earn some kind of loyalty points or rewards while you’re at it.
I regularly earn free drinks at Starbucks, free food at Chick-fil-a, or free popcorn at the movie theatre, just by scanning my phone at each visit.
Plus, most programs will give you a free gift on your birthday and a freebie just for signing up. It costs you nothing and takes very little effort on your part.
9. They have the right apps on their phones
I don’t have to tell you that that expensive iphone you carry around is useful for more than just phone calls and emails. Download these apps to save big.
Ibotta – Buy certain items and scan your receipts for instant rebates credited to your account. Or shop online through the Ibotta portal and earn cash back on online purchases as well. Once you reach $20 you can cash out via Paypal, Venmo, or gift card. (If you use my code “cylrhg” I’ll get a small bonus for referring you!)
Retail Me Not – Before checking out in store or online, do a quick search to find any available coupons or promo codes that could potentially save you a few bucks!
Target/Cartwheel – The Target app regularly has money saving coupons and percentage off deals. You can even scan the items you are about to purchase to see if there is a cartwheel deal available. Then just scan your unique barcode at checkout to receive the discount.
Fetch Rewards – This is one of the easiest and most straight forward apps out there right now. No need to select items before you buy. Just take a picture of your receipt from any grocery store, pharmacy, or convenience store. Earn points just for scanning and bonus points for purchases of select brands.
(If you use my referral code “U6NTW” you’ll get 2000 points when you scan your first receipt!)
10. They aren’t ashamed of using a coupon
Some people might find it embarrassing to present a coupon when it’s time to pay, as if that means they don’t have enough money to pay full price. But it’s just the opposite! Because you saved those few dollars, you now have more spending potential than the sucker in front of you who paid full price! There is no shame in keeping that money in your pocket.
11. They wait until the thing they need is on sale
When it comes to saving a buck, patience is a virtue. We live in a “I have to have it now” culture where it’s easy to justify buying things we don’t have the money for. But if you can just have a little bit of patience, the item you want will almost definitely go on sale.
These are the habits I have adopted in order to make my money go farther. Have any other tips you want to recommend? Leave them in the comments so that we can all benefit from them!
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