May 13, 2013

Getting a good deal

Hi, my name is Megan, and I am a deal-a-holic. {everyone say, Hiiiii Megan}

There is nothing like getting a good deal no matter how you manage to get it. Sales, clearance, rewards points, and I especially love using coupons. I used to be an "extreme" couponer. I'd go get a paper every Sunday and print online coupons to get super great deals at the drug store. Note: What you see on tv is totally not realistic unless you plan on eating only mustard and pickles for the next 6 months. However, if you are still paying for soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, you are passing up free money known as coupons.
The golden rule of bargain shopping: Thou shalt not pay for soap, toothpaste or toothbrushes. 

Coupons - coupons are free money just floating around waiting for you to get your hands on it. These are seriously everywhere, you just have to look for them. You can printables online. Most stores have apps that you can download with coupons. Of course,  the Sunday paper has plenty coupons too. One way people don't get the optimal savings with coupons, is they don't realize you can use multiple coupons to save the most money. Here is an example of a steal I got yesterday at Michaels.

I found a gorgeous glass drink dispenser on clearance for 60% off the marked price. That made it ring up about $15. I also had a cake topper I was purchasing for a friend's wedding reception that was a regular $19. I looked up Michael's on The Coupons app that I found via pinterest to find all the digital coupons I could use. There was one for 40% of any regularly full priced item, which I was able to apply to the cost of the cake topper. There was ANOTHER coupon that was 15% off your ENTIRE purchase thus dropping my total down another couple dollars. The drink dispenser ended up being around $13, and the topper was like $3.50-ish. I did a happy dance out the door.

You can also use store coupons in other stores. For instance, you can use target or kroger (or any other grocer's) coupons at Publix or Whole Foods! You can also you Hobby Lobby coupons at Michael's or Joann's. There are a million other ways to save on groceries, but that would be an entire 2 hour lecture. Moral of this point, look for coupons before you pay full price.

Membership Rewards - most people don't think you ever reap the benefits of membership cards, besides the instant savings like at Ingles or Kroger. . The CVS machine is always spitting out free candy bar coupons for me or rewards bucks (AKA, free money). At Kroger, you get points back on your gas. I've saved so much money on gas through Kroger points. Most people don't know, you get 2x and sometimes 4x the points for buying gift cards a Kroger. Buy gift cards for Kroger or gas cards (not like you weren't going to be spending the money anyway) and you instantly get a discount on your gas. I've saved whole dollars per gallon by doing this!
At Kohls or Macys, if you use your store credit card, you get an additional 20% off. I'll use my card and write a check for the amount to zero back out my account just for that couple dollars I can save. It's totally worth it! Plus these two send out special members only coupons and deals every quarter, you'd be surprised how often these come in handy!

Also, stores like Kroger send coupons out for FREE products. I am not talking travel sized, I mean straight up, free groceries. As you buy products with your rewards cards, they send you free coupons for your favorite items to say thanks! I ALWAYS got free coupons for salads, dressings, lunch meat, and salsa. What a does that say about me?

Sales - I am horrible about missing out on these myself. I don't plan trips around the 40% off weekend at Loft, but if I see it, I will at least make lap through the store. Now, semi-annual sales, HOLD. ME. BACK, sister. I can't resist the prices and I'll come out of places like Bath and Body Works with more soap than one person can use or even give away in a lifetime. {I told you, I have a problem}

Flash Deals - These are great if you shop for clothes online. Even some boutiques offer flash deals! I got a great deal on a skirt I talked about here. These 24-ish hour deals are great if you aren't too picky, or sometimes you can luck up like I did!

Retail me not - Here's another one for you online shoppers. I love this site! It should be your best friend when you shop online--especially around Christmas! It lists tons of special unadvertised deals going on for different stores and the coupon code to match. Never, ever, EVER pay for shipping. Retailmenot typically has a free shipping code for every store. Also, just because it says it's expired, doesn't mean it won't work ;)

Always, always, always Shop around - before making a significant purchase. Do your research and make sure you are getting exactly what fits your wants and needs. Just because it's the most expensive or a name brand, doesn't mean it's the best one for you. Never buy at the first stop. If it is the best deal, you can always come back to it. Last year, I decided I wanted to buy a pair of genuine cowboy boots. I'm not talking something you picked up at Macy's. I spent months just finding the exact pair that I wanted.  I even tried on a pair in a store near my apartment just to make sure I got the right size. I knew I was going to have the forever, and sense I was spending a good chunk of change on it, I wasn't going to be dropping stacks at the check out counter. The first place I found my boots had them listed at $260--um no, we don't. So I spent a lot of time on google to find the optimal deal. Eventually, I found them listed for $160 with free shipping! {queue the Patty Mayonnaise song from Doug}. My patience and shopping around paid off.

Now the 1st commandment of bargain shopping is "Thou shalt not pay full price." You now have zero excuse not to save a least a little money here and there. What are some good deals you've gotten recently! I'd love to hear your stories and for you to share your tricks!

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