Shopping: 5 Tips for Saving Money & Scoring Great Deals

5 Tips for Saving Money & Scoring Great Deals at Your Favorite Retailers |

Welcome to part 1 of my Money Matters & Budgeting series!

I thought I’d piggy-back off my recent haul post with a follow-up on how I score such awesome deals while shopping.  I have always been an avid shopper, but I also have an immense background in working in the Retail industry.  So, I’m here to give you some industry insight and give you tips on how to save.

  1. Utilize coupons. – This is numero uno when it comes to saving in retail stores.  Almost every store offers coupons at some given point, if not weekly or monthly, at least seasonally.  Most stores allow you to combine coupons with the current promotions they are running, with the exception of clearance items most of the time.
  2. Shop during big holiday weekends. – Stores, again, almost always run huge promotions on holidays.  It doesn’t matter what holiday it is, because retailers attempt to capitalize on all of them year-around.
  3. Look for %-off entire collection/store promotions. – These are some of the best promotions to shop, because again you can oftentimes use coupons, giving you an even bigger discount.  This discount can range from 45-60% off sometimes, because you combining the coupon with the store promotions.
  4. Sign up/Apply for store credit cards. – Okay, let me preface by saying I do not advocate applying for store credit cards!  I try to avoid doing this at all costs.  However, if it’s a store I shop at often or plan to, like Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and now Old Navy (I plan on buying baby’s clothes there a good bit.), then I will make an exception. i.e. Old Navy ran a 30% off entire store promotion this past weekend.  I ended up getting 45% off my entire purchase, because I applied for their card which gave me an additional 15% off my purchase.  I got everything for almost half off!  Note that I treat the store card like cash, because I refuse to pay interest.  This is how they make their money and you end up not saving.  Even with a store card, be mindful of how much you spend, so that you can pay the entire balance off when your statement comes.  The card does allow you some flexibility with applying payments, such that you can break your balance up into two payments.  This is typically what I do, and it works great for me, because I get paid from my job twice a month.
  5. Take advantage of frequent buyer programs/mailing lists. – Any opportunity you get to receive perks for spending money in a particular store, you should take advantage of it.  Depending on the store, these are free to sign up for or attached to the perks of being a credit cardholder for that store.  A lot of time frequent buyers not only receive additional discounts, via coupons in their email or mail, but after so many purchases you get free items or awesome discount. Ulta and Sephora for example have free programs, that do this and offer some really nice free items and discounts on their products after you spend so much money. Sometimes, even if these programs have a cost to enroll in, the discount you receive whether right then or over time pays for the price of the enrollment.

As with anything use discretion, read the fine print, and ask questions while shopping!  Don’t let the associates swindle you into buying or signing up for anything that you do not want or aren’t comfortable with.

Of course don’t forget to check out the clearance racks for additional bargain buys.  You may or may not be able to use coupons or store promotions might not apply, but oftentimes clearance items are so well discounted that you’re still getting a good deal.  Trust me on this, store’s don’t like to carry excess inventory, so by the time something goes on clearance, they want it gone.  They ensure this happens, by discounting it anywhere from 30-60%, sometimes 75% off the original price.

Do you have any shopping mantras that you stick to?  How do you get the best deals and save the most money? – The list is ever growing, so let’s hear it!


Pregnancy Shopping | Couponing – The Basics

I don’t know who hasn’t seen that show on TLC called Extreme Couponing. I catch it every blue moon, mainly, because I never know when it actually comes on, but I do enjoy it when I watch it. I think it’s really awesome that you can save so much money and sometimes even profit from just using coupons when buying groceries. Of course the main purpose of using coupons is to save and build brand loyalty. Most products, including food on the market are overpriced, so using coupons helps to offset this. I worked in Retail for a number of years before joining the military, so I know a good bit about how this whole thing works. Although I did not work in the grocery industry, products are products.

The cool thing about couponing is that the main benefit is getting a large quantity of products for a discounted price, think of the bulk/wholesale concept, just on a smaller scale. Unfortunately most warehouse stores, like Sam’s, Costco, and BJ’s don’t offer a wide selection or huge variety of everyday products. They do offer a lot, don’t get me wrong, but the shopping experience at a bulk/warehouse retailer is a bit different from that at a grocery store.

While I love using coupons to save, because I’m always trying to find the best bargains, I can’t exactly coupon the way they do on the show. I literally don’t have the room in my house, the time, or patience to do it. I couldn’t imagine having a “stock pile”, because I tend to get bored with products and even foods fast and like the switch it up.  I realize with a new baby I won’t be able to do this as much, so Couponing will be more beneficial to me then versus now. I know that I will need to stock up on diapers, wipes, and everything else you need for a baby. I think my couponing will be more precise and tailored to those things that I know I need multiple quantities of. You don’t always see this on the show, which is the part you have to take and decipher for yourself. I think it’s mainly important to remember that when it comes to couponing, you want to keep it relevant to what you can need and use. I don’t believe it stocking up on items just because I can get them at a discounted price, you just end up taking up room and it takes forever to go through the items as well. Another important thing to keep in mind is are the expiration dates on products, especially anything you get that is perishable. Of course you can freeze and store these items, but you have to do yor research and see just how long they are good even while frozen. This also touches back on the space issue. Do you have enough space to stockpile? In your pantry? Freezer? Basement? Extra room? In order to fully benefit you need extra room to put these items, so that they are not taking over your house.

These are just my consideration for myself when I think about if couponing is for me and if it will be beneficial in the long run.  How much money will I save? How much time will couponing take up? Many of the couponers say its a part-time to mostly full-time job.  How much does it really cost to coupon? Many couponers purchase coupons off the Internet and buy multiple quantities of the Sunday paper to get inserts. How will I organize and create a really effective game for using the coupons? – So many questions, so much to consider!

What’s you take? What do you think about couponing?

In the meantime, here are a few sources that I’ve come across in researching the art of couponing:

Happy bumping!