To help you save your dollars, I've put together a top 5 list of ways to shop smart and really stretch your money as far as it can possibly go, leaving more for savings or that big ticket item you've been dreaming of, like an iPad 2 in my case. While we are on that subject, if anyone rich is reading this and would like to donate one for the sake of art... just email me ;) LOL
1. Sales: This may seem obvious, but many people don't take full advantage of sales. When I receive flyers for the week, I look for any great sales on items we use regularly in our home. I usually go 2 to 3 times a week, so my main groceries get done where there's the most sales on items I want to buy, but if there's a really exceptional offer somewhere else, I'll stop there for my mid-week oops I ran out of (insert item here).
I stock up on those items. For example, in this household, we tend to use two 2 litre bottles of Pepsi a day. (yes, I know that's a lot - please no lectures - Anyone who knows me knows that I should be the Pepsi spokesperson. LOL) Anyway, so two 2 litres of Pepsi can cost up to $6/day at my local convenience store. Times 30 that equals to a potential of $180 a month for Pepsi. Stop that, I know you're judging me. Tomorrow, it will go on sale for $0.88 at one of our local grocery store. I will be purchasing about 30 bottles, and only because I can't possibly store any more in my 2 bedroom appartment. But this represents a savings of $62!!! On one item!
Do this with several items you use regularly and can store for a long period of time and this could amount to HUGE savings per month, allowing you to reduce your credit card debt that much faster, added savings if you consider the interest you won't be paying...
2. Liquidation: I always look for the liquidation section. The deals you can find there are simply amazing, and I swear, it makes me positively giddy when I find a steal of a deal. I do my Christmas shopping all year long, and have picked up many toys for the kids that ranged from $10 to $30 for a Whopping $2 to $10!!! Clothing always goes dirt cheap at the end of the season, and some items just never go out of style, such as plain t-shirts and camisoles... so it's time to stock up when they go on for $3!!! (Which by the way, says a lot about the unbelievable mark-up on prices).
3. Dollar Stores: I once saw a bumper sticker that read "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!" It was very funny, but also very true. In Canada, we have Dollorama's, where every item is priced at $1 to $2. New items are always being added, and it's a great place to find awesome deals. Kitchen items that would be priced up to $5 elsewhere, household items, decorative items, office items, trinkets for the kids... there's good rotation of products, and the savings really add up quickly. When I was really broke and in serious need of some retail therapy, I'd go to the dollar store and buy myself about 5 fun little items. It was a quick pick me up when I couldn't afford to shop anywhere else.
4. Personal sale websites such as Kijiji and Craig's list: If you're looking to purchase a piece of furniture or that video game system you've been dreaming of, consider looking for a second hand one. There are adds right now on Kijiji that are selling for example, an X-Box 360 with 6 games and 2 controllers, all sorts of accessories, for about the same price as you can purchase the whole system. Obviously, it's important to make sure everything works before finalizing the sale, but at $50-60 a game, this adds up to huge savings. And if you don't like the included games, you can use them as credit in a video game store that purchases second hand copies.
5. Garage Sales / Thrift shops One man's garbage is another man's treasure they say? Well they are absolutely right. As a teen, I'd had next to no budget for clothing. When I discovered I could purchase like 5 outfits for $30, I was hooked. OK, so this kind of shopping is a bit more challenging, but I always see this as a treasure hunt, and I'm usually thrilled by my finds. I once got a designer blazer for $4! I'd wear it with a skirt and blouse I'd also found in thrift shops... it was my most complimented outfit ever, and I got every job I ever interviewed for while wearing it. The entire outfit was under $10. If you have children under 5, finding great clothing is easy. Much of the clothes looks brand new, as children grow so fast. My kids wore top brand snow suits I purchased for $2 to $5... amazing. I rummage through the toys while I'm at it, and always find great deals there too. Just don't buy anything you don't truly love or can really use, or you'll just end up donating it again in a few months...
I should mention that Amazon and E-bay are great places to get deals. Music, movies and books on Amazon are dirt cheap, and they sell much much more than that. Plus, if you shop in My Amazon Store, I make a commission on the sale. You save money and help an artist... now what better deal can you get than that? ;)