15 Things You Should Never Pay Full Price For

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Don’t you love getting a deal on things?  A year ago, I didn’t think twice about paying full price for most of the things I bought each week.  Now that I’ve learned about the deals you can get from free grocery coupons and simple negotiation tips, paying full price for most items doesn’t make sense!

My philosophy is this: someone is going to pay full price, but it doesn’t have to be you.  Sometimes it’s worth paying full price for an item.  Maybe the few minutes spent each week to clip coupons isn’t worth the savings for you.  Regardless of your stance on couponing or bargain hunting, the truth is that you don’t need to pay full price for certain items if you plan ahead.

1. Toothpaste and Toothbrushes

I thought I was saving money by getting generic toothbrushes for around $1.50.  With name brand toothbrushes and toothpaste costing $3.50 or more, it seemed like a waste of money.  But, we’ve found that stores will offer a buy one get one free sale and when you combine a coupon for each item, you can walk away with the top quality items for $0.00 – $1.00 sometimes.

2. Deodorant and Shampoo

Please don’t spend your hard earned money to buy these things at full price.  The store deal and coupon strategy above will make these items pennies on the dollar.

3. Cleaning Supplies

Bathroom and kitchen cleaners are always going on sale.  Plan ahead and get another bottle while it is discounted.  That way, you can wait for the next sale and get another good deal.

4. Groceries

Using coupons for groceries will require a little more time and effort, but the savings can cut your bill tremendously.  We are constantly seeing savings of 20% or more on our receipts after going to the grocery store, and that saves us close to $50 each month on the food we’d normally buy each month.

5. Cars

Whether you’re buying new or used, you should always check the blue book value of the car on KBB.com before you purchase it.  Try to walk away with the vehicle $500-$1,000 less than the KBB value.  Even more is great – but you’ll need to rely on your negotiating skills.

6. Clothing

Even if you’re not into shopping at thrift stores for clothes, you can still save money on your threads.  I head straight to the clearance rack and will often find dress shirts that are discounted greatly.  Sorry, I don’t have any tips about women’s fashion, but I’m sure you can save with the clearance aisle too.

7. Books/ DVDs

If you don’t want to pay anything for books or DVDs, you can head over to the library and check things out for free.  Of course, Amazon and half.com are great resources for cheap books.  I’d also look at paperback swap as a resource for trading books.

8. Pets

You can save hundreds by finding a pet through an animal shelter or by looking on Craigslist for families giving away their pet.  If you pay full price at a breeder, remember all the vet bills that will come afterwards too.

9. Furniture

This is where your negotiation skills will come into play again.  If you’re at a furniture store, remember to ask if that’s the best price they can offer.  Once you settle on the best price, ask if they give a cash discount.  We just purchased a chair on sale and got 5% off by paying with cash.

10. Restaurants

Look at Restaurant.com or Groupon.com for discounts on local restaurants and never pay full price again!

11. Your Home or Apartment

The negotiation process for buying a home is common for homebuyers, but you can talk down your apartment rent as well.  You never know unless you ask.  We saved $50 each month simply by asking.

12. Hotels / Vacation Packages

Using Priceline and Expedia can save you a lot of money on your next trip.  For your vacation, try pricing it out with their vacation packages and then using a local travel agent who can match the price. We found a trip online and booked through a travel agent who matched the price and lined up all the details for us.

13. Sports Gear

If you’ve wanted to get into golf, but don’t want to spend the money for an expensive set of clubs, do what I did and buy a used set of clubs.  Play It Again Sports is a store that specializes in used sporting goods.  You’ll get a great deal on gently used equipment that is still in great shape.

14. College

Finding scholarships online through FastWeb or on your school’s website is the first place I’d look to lower my tuition bill.  Although I haven’t seen any college coupons, I do know that you can go completely free at College of the Ozarks, a fully accredited university that waives tuition for those who work at the school.

15. Car Insurance

We saved a couple hundred dollars by switching car insurance providers and saved an additional 15% by allowing Progressive to track our driving habits.  It’s nice to know that we can get the same coverage but save about $40 each month!

Can you think of anything that can be added to this list?  What would you NEVER pay full price for?

Photo by smoMashup_

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16 Comments
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  1. Janice

    For groceries, I find that shopping at non-namebrand markets save me just as much without coupons than shopping at namebrand markets. The greatest savings are on the things we consume most often, bread, milk, coffee, and cereal.

    • There are a few great stores that are ‘no-frills’ and have cheaper goods. Aldi is one that we have in the midwest.

  2. I don’t buy my cleaning supplies at all! I make them. The staples in my “cleaning” pantry are vinegar, baking soda, Borax and Washing Soda, tea tree oil and Ivory soap. I can make all of my cleaning supplies from these. I use microfiber cloths for dusting and wash and reuse them. We have also greatly reduced our use of paper products by using cloth dish towels or rags for what we used to use paper towels on.

    • Sounds like you’re saving money left and right :) I’ve never made my own supplies, but it sounds cool.

    • I would love to know how you make your cleaning supplies from home? Please email me.

  3. Nice article. Unfortunately they never have my size on clearance and rarely at Goodwill. =( I shop at Plato’s Closet mostly the prices are low and the products are good quality.

    I don’t suggest FastWeb at all. It has very few scholarships and lot of spam. Try http://www.collegescholarships.org. Also Apply to multiple schools if the one you get the best deal on isn’t your favorite you may be able to use their offer to negotiate with the other school.

  4. Another way to dramatically cut college costs is to take CLEP exams. They’re somewhat similar to AP classes, and cover lots of general education requirements.

  5. I’ll add one more. Buy gas in the morning when it’s cooler. Gas fumes increase the hotter in the day it gets so you’ll have less gas going into your tank. With gas prices you can’t afford to lose any of it.

  6. I work at Kelley Blue Book, and I have a couple of tips I tell my friends who are shopping for a car:
    When negotiating with for a used car, look up both the trade-in value and the private-party value, then the Blue Book Values for one condition level up and one condition level down from the condition you think the car is in. Always be extra-careful when grading a used car in Excellent condition, as only 15% of vehicles we’ve valued are actually Excellent.
    When negotiating for a new car, look at the MSRP, the Fair Purchase Price, and the Dealer Invoice. We’ve just built a new shopping tool on KBB.com called Reality Check, which you can get to on the vehicle pricing page, which shows you what other people in your area are paying for that vehicle and if the price will change much in the next 90 days.
    Hope that helps – go save some money!
    Rebekah

  7. I would recommend CLEP tests as well. I went to the dentist today and got a free toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. I use it at work so I can brush after lunch.

  8. Thanks for all the tips guys…

  9. Another way to save on toothpaste and toothbrushes is get them cheap at your dentist office. Ours sells toothpaste and toothbrushes for $1.00 each. Also be sure to use only a pea size amount of toothpaste. Waste not, want not.

  10. Jonathan K

    5. Cars – Did this when purchasing our vehicle. kbb.com is always a great tool!

    15. Car Insurance – This is a good one!

    This week we saved $500 a year by getting a new quote and switching to a new car insurance provider (Progressive)! We have the same coverage and deductable as well as insurance through a recognized national provider! This is a great suggestion to do every 6 months or so.

    It was sad to tell my current auto agent (Farmers) but $42 a month is amazing savings! And remember to ask for discounts and try again in 6 months! Great article man!

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