Smart ways to save
Williamsport Sun-Gazette | October 16, 2015
By ERICA MOTTER
Being thrifty is nifty, but sometimes it can also be cumbersome, especially when you REALLY want to buy something that’s out of your price range.
While occasional big splurges help break up the monotony of frugal shopping or give you an incentive-based reward system, it’s totally possible to get some items you want without waiting for months or spending a lot of money—you just have to be a little more creative about it.
There are many ways to cut costs that you may not have considered. Here are a few to help you out:
Shop with a friend
Sometimes you might prefer to shop alone so as not to feel rushed, but shopping with a friend can really pay off when you’re trying to get deals.
Buying items in bulk means you spend less money per item, but often means you end up spending more overall.
For these types of “buy more and save” sales, it can be tempting to buy several items for yourself, even if you just wanted one.
But if you have a friend (or friends) with you, the two (or more) of you can split the costs of items. Buy-one-get-one-free sales mean that you and your friend each get an item, and you each pay half price.
Furthermore, for expensive items not on sale, if you have a similar taste as your friend, sometimes you can go halves on something and share it, allowing you to have the item you want without having to empty your wallet.
Sometimes while shopping, you’ll come across a clothing item just begging to be purchased. Unfortunately, these always seem also to be the things that are way out of your price range.
Usually, this seems like a yes-or-no choice—to buy or not to buy?
But before embarking on a full-fledged Shakespearean soliloquy, stop for a moment instead and recognize that a price tag is not an ultimatum standing between you and your coveted clothing item.
Do this: either snap a photo of the piece with your phone, or take a moment to carefully study its features. Pay attention to the major structure as well as details, such as cut, fasteners, and fabric.
Back away slowly from the item—then, as soon as you’re home, jump onto Google!
First, search for the exact item: same brand, same color, etc. If you’re really lucky, you can find it at a discount somewhere online, perhaps from another store or from an independent seller, like on eBay.
If you’re only seeing the same prices, search for similar items instead. You’ll be surprised how easily you can find clothes that look just like the ones you want for cheaper.
There might be small differences in fasteners or fabric types, but if the variations are minor enough, this sort of smart shopping is an excellent way to get what you want without paying a high price.
You probably already use coupons at the grocery store, but don’t stop there—and don’t be a bit embarrassed by it.
Couponing is great for buying beauty products at drugstores, especially if you combine coupons with club card deals and stock up on items while they’re on sale.
Clothing stores are the same way. Many places offer rewards cards, so if you shop at a store frequently, sign up for a card there. An added bonus is that you’ll often receive extra coupons in the mail once you’re a member.
Online shopping is also one of the best places to get coupon deals, regardless of whether or not you have a rewards card. Many stores advertise their special sales online, but there are often other sales promotions that might not be listed openly.
Before purchasing anything online, it’s a good idea to check a site like retailmenot.com to find out if there are any promotion codes available to enter, or just Google “(store’s name) coupon codes” to see what else there might be.
You can end up getting some pretty tremendous discounts this way, in percentages off your purchase, reduced shipping costs, or other subtractions.
Using these smart shopping tips, you’ll find you don’t have to deprive yourself of items that you really want. Always stay on the lookout for new ways to save money!