Nobody likes to pay full price but to get the best deals takes a bit of work. Luckily, it is not that hard to learn the skills of being frugal and once learned, they will serve you well for years to come. Here is what you can do to start saving money now and stop paying full price.
Shop The Used Market
Things are only new for a week or two at best, after that they are used. During that period they also depreciate considerably. Why not eliminate paying for that depreciation.
You can buy pretty much everything used if you know where to look.
For clothing, shop the trendy resale stores and get high end clothing for pennies on the dollar. Baby clothing can be found at garage sales and thrift stores and is just as good as new once you give it a thorough wash. They are just going to spit up on it anyway.
For almost everything else, Craigslist and eBay make great resources. For the very best price, shop Craigslist and pick it up locally. Find used furniture, electronics, riding mowers, you name it. If you know how to barter a bit, you can score some incredible deals, just be ready to move on them fast. The best deals on local classified websites go very quickly.
Finally, do not forget about the thrift shops, specifically the ones run by Goodwill. You can get a great deal on popular household items, furniture and even clothing while supporting a good cause.
Shop Clearance Racks
There is nothing better than finding a huge clearance sale, unfortunately, most clearance sales happen at the end of the season. You can still use them to save a ton of money off of retail but it requires some forethought.
By forethought I mean, shopping 9 months ahead. When Fall hits, you need to be shopping for next Summer. When Spring Hits, you need to shop for next Winter. It requires some planning and storage room but it can save you up to 80 percent off of retail.
Adult clothing is the easiest to buy on clearance. You generally know what size you and/or your spouse will be net year and as long as you do not buy anything trendy, you should be in good shape. Kids are a bit trickier, especially when they get into the teen growth spurt ages. Most of the time, you can buy a size or two up though and be in good shape. Once again, avoid trendy styles and stick to the basics.
Besides clothing, there are a lot of things that you can buy on clearance, depending on the season. In The Spring, buy Christmas decorations, heaters, skis and other cold weather gear. In the Fall, buy all of your swim gear, pool toys, outdoor furniture and barbecue grills. Buy it, put it in storage and enjoy the savings in 9 months.
Besides seasonal savings, you can also take advantage of scratch and dent clearance sales. Usually located at the back of the big box stores, the clearance section will have brand new items with slight to moderated cosmetic damage for hundreds of dollars off. Score a clearance refrigerator for $200 off retail, a couch for half the original cost with a minor stain, etc. There are a lot of potential treasures in the scratch and dent clearance section.
Apps can save you a lot of money by helping you get cash back and finding you the best price on items.
My personal favorite is a browser extension called Honey. Simply download it and it will get you the best price on everything that you buy online. When you visit a store and go to check out, Honey will look for a better price and also apply any applicable coupon codes. No longer do you have to search those ridiculous coupon websites looking for a working promo code, Honey does it for you.
Besides looking for a coupon code, Honey will also automatically find price history for you. If you shop a lot on Amazon this is a big deal because prices constantly change. You can see the price history and decide if you should wait for the price to drop again.
There is no shame in using coupons and it is easier than ever these days. There are apps that can help you claim your discounts and the spread of self check makes it much easier to redeem them without being “that person” slowing down the line.
You can find coupons for just about everything in the Sunday paper and if that fails or if you just do not want to pay for a paper that you will not read, check out the manufacturers website. Sign up for email clubs or lists and you should get the occasional coupon sent directly to your inbox.
Learn To Haggle
Learning to negotiate is one of the best skills that you need to pick up if you truly want to save money.
You might be surprised at just how much stuff that you can actually negotiate on. Of course, you know that the price of cars and trucks is completely negotiable, but so is furniture, electronics and even the cost of your monthly cable bill. You name it and it can be negotiated.
Learning to haggle is nothing that you will pick up immediately, it is something that you need to work at. The more you do it, the better you will be. Two key things though are never be afraid to ask for a discount and never be afraid to walk away from a sale.