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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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_