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 -- and then stock up.
- Don't food shop 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 whether you really need whatever you're about to buy. Maybe you do really want it but you can put off the purchase for a while.
- 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 Sam's Clubs. You'll find some amazing bargains at these stores. Just don't assume that everything there is a bargain. 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. Amazon.com and eBay offer many used books 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.
For many more tips on how to get your life in order, financially and otherwise, including how to lop off several hundred dollars from your monthly or yearly expenses, try GreenLight, which we suspect will pay for itself in short order. It's full of personal finance guidance and practical advice.
Costco, eBay, and Amazon are Stock Advisor selections. Wal-Mart is an Inside Value pick.