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Christian Personal Finance

Top five ways to save while shopping

With a little extra effort you can realize deeper discounts on everyday items. Here are the top five ways to find bargains while shopping.

By Shannon M. MediskyGuest blogger / March 1, 2010

Discover deeper discounts with these five tips.

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The following guest post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. She focuses on discovering and recovering the hidden abundance we all already have. Visit her blog at HiddenAbundance.com or you can pick up her book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Stretching Your Dollar.

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Money may make the world go round, but it’s certainly nice – and now days a necessity – to have money leftover at the end of a round of shopping. Want to find ways to discover deeper discounts? Looking for savings strategies that stretch beyond coupons? Keep reading.

It helps to think of saving money while shopping as a game. It’s simple. You’re pitted against your opponent, the store. He (or she) who has the most money at the end of the game (a.k.a. shopping) wins! The key to winning – and keeping the most money possible where it matters most (your wallet) – is being able to outwit, outlast and outplay the store. Retailers pay big money to experts who do nothing but study the habits and weaknesses of consumers. Make sure you’ve got a few tricks and strategies up your own sleeve to tip the odds in your favor.

The old saying is true: you won’t get something for nothing. That said, be willing to do a bit more work, or in this case walking, to reap substantial savings. Clearance bins and discount racks are usually placed towards the back of the store or nearest the walls. Same principle also applies to grocery shopping and generic brands; they’re often placed near the bottom of shelves, furthest away from eye level.

1. Avoid Convenience

Convenience isn’t cheap, so don’t expect convenient product placement to be cheap either. Consider checking alternative departments for things you need in order to get the best deal. Need a funnel? Check the automotive department instead of the kitchen section. Do you regularly purchase gum or breath mints? Avoid picking them up at the check stand. Instead venture over to the candy aisle where you can pick them up in multipacks for much cheaper.

2. Ask store employees

Don’t forget to ask the experts – store employees. A smile and some talk can be a great lead-in and warm up to asking if there’s any insider information regarding upcoming store sales and/or discounts. Wondering if posted clearance prices will get any lower before you plunk down your cash? Just ask!

3. Create your own clearance

Create your own clearance items and associated price markdowns by asking for discounts on damaged goods. If you don’t care about the small tear in the dog food bag or the button missing on a blouse, speak up! You could likely snag a great deal without having to wait for it to hit the discount bin.

Speaking of clearance markdowns, don’t forget to inquire at customer service regarding when most new clearance items hit the aisles. While employees may not be able to divulge exactly what will be marked down or when, at the very least you’ll likely walk away with a general idea. Whether it be a particular day or time, you’ll know when to go treasure hunting for less.

4. Strategize your spending

Strategically select where you spend your money. One-stop shopping is a convenience, but not necessarily the most economic option. Maximize value and minimize cost by determining ahead of time where to buy what. Grocery stores, for example, carry health and beauty products as a convenience to their customers. Discount retailers, on the other hand, purchase such items in greater quantities and, as a result, can often offer them at a better price.

5. Search for coupons

Lastly, if you shop by clicking the mouse instead of hitting the pavement, don’t forget to do a quick search for the words “coupon codes,” “discount code” or “promotional codes” followed by the name of the site where you’re shopping. Simply copy and paste the provided character code into the discount or coupon field at the site where you’re making the purchase and – voila! – You’ve instantly saved money.

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