Money-Saving Shopping Tips

Clipping and using coupons is perhaps the most obvious way to save money when shopping. If you do this, consider keeping your coupons organized in some kind of small file system -- perhaps a series of small envelopes.

Here are some additional ideas:

  • Be an informed shopper, and plan your shopping according to what's on sale.
  • Remember that most things will be on sale at some point. Wait for your favorite brands of items, especially non-perishables such as toilet paper or canned goods, to come on sale -- then stock up.
  • Don't shop for food on an empty stomach.
  • Don't shop without a list of what you need to buy.
  • Compare prices per unit on what you buy. Sometimes a bigger or smaller container is the better bargain.
  • Cereal is expensive. Buy it when it's on sale, or buy cereal in bags, which tends to be less expensive.
  • Buy some items, such as pet food, online, when it's less expensive to do so.
  • Shop at outlets.
  • Research planned purchases with Consumer Reports magazine and other resources. They'll help you buy the better quality products at reasonable prices.
  • Buy high-quality items. They tend to last longer and serve you better.
  • Ask yourself if you really need whatever you're about to buy. Maybe you really want it, but you can put off the purchase for a while. If so, you'll frequently find that you don't want it so much later on.
  • Examine restaurant and store receipts closely, as they often contain errors. (Sometimes intentionally!)
  • Examine the change you get from cashiers.
  • Shop at discount clubs such as Costco, B. J.'s, or Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT  ) Sam's Clubs. You'll find some amazing bargains at these stores. Just don't assume that everything there is a bargain -- it's not. Compare prices.
  • Buy store brands when possible, not name brands.
  • Look for rebate forms at stores and send in for rebates.
  • Buy used when you can -- for items such as books, CDs, and furniture. (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) and eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) offer many used books, movies, and CDs, among other things. Also, consider using a library instead of buying, when possible, and sell your used items when you're done with them.
  • If you like having fresh-cut flowers in your home, grow them yourself.
  • Plant a raspberry bush. Each time you pick a cup of raspberries, you'll be saving yourself a few dollars.

You'll find many more handy tips on our Living Below Your Means discussion board. The board's directory of tips is especially handy. Once you've saved some money, put it to work for you -- learn more in our Saving Center (which features some special interest-rate deals).

eBay and Amazon are Stock Advisor recommendations, and Wal-Mart is an Inside Value pick.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Costco, Wal-Mart,, and eBay. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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