The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Save Smart. Shop Smart. Save Money When Shopping Smart.
Have you ever purchased an item at full price and about a week later, it goes on sale for like $10 or $20 less? Might not seem like a lot, but if you translate that money into hours you had to work and money you no longer have, it is a lot of money, especially if it occurs with multiple items. This also seems to happen with technology. In the beginning, upon its release, it is very expensive. Wait a year, maybe a few years, and the price drops. Okay, so it is old technology by then, but it is still good technology and something you never had before.
Frugal Shopping is about patience. It requires a lot of patience, but with time and smart shopping, you could save hundreds to thousands of dollars a year. Frugal Shopping is about finding the best deals at the cheapest and most affordable prices, whether it is a 10% discount or a free shipping coupon—money saved is money earned.
Shop around, be patient, and find the deals that best suit you. Take advantage of opportunities that arise, and shop on or around days where the sales are more prevalent.
When making purchases, stores often have sales every weekend, so things go on sale all the time. For Kohl’s or other clothing stores, everything is seasonable. Towards the end of the season, normally, everything must go. There is no use for winter clothes in summertime just as there is no use for summer clothes in wintertime, so most of these stores put these items on clearance. Not all the clearance section means its a good deal. Sometimes, it is still far too expensive. In order to save extra money on items, if you have good credit, open up an account which sometimes can yield as much as a 20% savings.
One time, I walked into Kohls looking for a business suit I needed for an interview. Almost everything was on sale at a 50% discount. I saw a suit I liked which went for $150. Half off put it at $75. I opened up an account with Kohls which gave me a 20% discount, which brought me down to $60. For some reason, the cashier made some mistake and called the manager over, who applied another 20% discount for no reason at all. Since I used a Kohls Charge Card, it applied an additional discount, which gave me a full suit for $30. I knew this was rare and they probably made a mistake, but I walked out of there with a full $150 suit for $30.
When it comes to getting a discount on food at the grocery store, make sure you make a list of all the items you need when you walk in—this way you do not overspend or buy unnecessary food items. If you do not already receive daily mail from your local supermarket with discounted items that weekend, make sure you sign up or stop in the store to get one. They often have plenty of items on sale every week. Sometimes items go on sale every other week, every other weekend, or once a month. Be sure to buy the items when they are on sale.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to buy a few items in bulk when they are on sale, especially if they don’t spoil and you know they are hardly ever on sale! So ensure you have some extra spending money all the time for this reason, just in case!
Another way to save money on food at the store is to go later in the evening. Many stores do not resell items after a certain amount of days and are looking to get rid of them. They prefer not to throw them out and make what little money they can, so they may offer a discount on items such as cheese, bread, milk, eggs, and other perishables. Check out your local grocery store’s meat department and ask them if they do discount their meat after a certain amount of days or a time frame. You will save money, but you will probably have to consume this food within a day or two before it spoils. There is a local grocery store around where I live that discounts all the sushi by 30% after 8:00 PM. Another grocery store where I live puts all of their salad packages on sale after a week from $2 or $3 down to about $.70 cents.
If you are curious about whether certain items go on sale, don’t hesitate to ask a manager! Surely they would prefer to sell the food at a reduced rate than waste money and throw it out.
COMPUTER VIDEO GAMES
Valve, a gaming company, offers a software library of games known as Steam. Valve is a smart company that knows how to market their items and make a lot of money for themselves and for game production companies, offering many sales all the time, whether on a weekend, middle of the week, or a holiday. If you miss the sale, you may have to wait an entire year before it comes around again, if it comes around again. But normal pricing may be as high as $50 or $60 as soon as a new game is released and a sale may drop the item price all the way down to $10 or $20 for a very limited time-frame. During this time, people (especially me) take advantage of this sale. Yes, I could go the illegal pirated way of doing things but the beauty of Steam is that they update all games automatically for free, fix bugs, and develop patches to fix a lot of known issues. A plus to Steam is that the library of games you purchase is always remembered and as long as you know your account, you can put Steam on any computer you own. You can even go over a friend’s house, download Steam, and begin playing all your games almost immediately. With prices this cheap and purchasing things authentically, this eliminates any wrongdoing. No longer do I have to search around for a pirated version and hope that it does not contain trojans, viruses, and other malware that could infect my computer. They offer the newest and best games available for PC, Mac OS, and Linux.
If you are using Amazon.com, don’t be afraid to purchase something that has been used. In many cases, it was bought and returned to the store and that means the item is “used” or “refurbished”. So you could technically be buying brand new items. There also comes the added bonus of Amazon offering discounts. A quick Internet search could reveal free shipping or 10% discount coupon codes. You could also apply for Amazon Prime, which will cost you about $8 a month, but if you shop at Amazon often, you may save on Shipping and other discounts in the long run.
For many other stores, WHILE YOU CHECK OUT AND BEFORE YOU FINALIZE THE PURCHASE, check to see if they have a COUPON CODE or DISCOUNT CODE section. If they do, you may be in luck! Search the Internet to see if they have any deals going on for the month or the year. If you do not need the item badly, you may want to wait until Black Friday, Christmas, and after Christmas.
I bought something recently from an online e-commerce store and I simply entered their store name in Google and added “shipping discount” to it. Here were my results after finding a discount code:
Websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Fab, TheDailyDeal, Moolala, Woot, and other sites began to spring up like crazy, offering daily discounted deals of amazing products all the time. Woot is one of my favorite websites and sometimes only offers items for 24 hours before they pull it from the site, or otherwise, a product might be placed on the site until sold out and could be sold out very quickly. Groupon is an amazing discount website and gets you out of the house to do something with your significant other or your entire family for a very good price. These sites do require patience in order to get the right deal for you, but could save you a lot of money. These sites normally work with large companies that offer their services and products, realizing the benefits of providing discounts to customers while attracting a lot of business. You can sign up to receive emails from these websites so you will never miss any deals these sites are offering for the day or the week. These sites are mostly limited time offers and work on supply and demand and while supplies last, but bring in lots of business, and save people hundreds of dollars by basically being the middle man and seeking out and working out such deals with companies for you.
Black Friday, Christmas, after Christmas Day, and January 1st present many amazing opportunities. Black Friday has become equivalent to a second national holiday, almost replacing Thanksgiving to Americans. It used to be the thing Americans did the day after Thanksgiving, starting at midnight, but since consumerist culture has become so crazy and suppliers have become so greedy, most stores now open their doors around 6 PM or 8 PM, after Thanksgiving dinner, and offer many products for a slightly reduced price. Most of these products may be reduced by $20 or $30, up to $50 or more, and people will pay the price for it. There have even been some unfortunate issues of people killing each other over limited merchandise.
A few days before Christmas comes the second sale, with businesses offering “last minute” shopping for people who did not get their Black Friday shopping done and are looking to get those “last minute gifts.” While much of the stuff is full price, there are plenty of stores who offer “Christmas Discount” coupons or codes, making Christmas a great time to take advantage of what these stores have to offer.
Finally, after Christmas brings another sale, sometimes coined a “New Years” sale, in which items in store may be reduced in order to get rid of excessive merchandise or even Christmas merchandise. This is another time to take advantage of the sales these stores are having.
There are plenty of ways to frugally shop throughout the year. The most important things to remember when frugal shopping:
- Is it a want or is it a need?
- Do you have the money to purchase the item at this time?
- Will this item likely be on sale during Black Friday or another holiday?
- Can I find it cheaper elsewhere?
- If you feel you need to buy the item at this time, make sure you check for any discounts online — even the offer of free shipping is a discount.
Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.