There are ways of getting what you want without paying top dollar. Here are some of them:
- Don't shop as entertainment. When you hang out at the mall on a Saturday afternoon, you see things you don't need. But because you see them, you want them.
- Shop the sales. If you shop the big sales to buy needed items, your shopping stays focused, and you get more for your money. But don’t buy just because something is on sale. Do you really need it?
- Wait for the sale. When you see something you like, approach a salesperson to ask if the item will go on sale anytime soon.
- For gifts, shop in advance instead of the last minute. You may be able to get something on sale. Don't wait until the last minute. If you cannot find just the right thing, you may blow your budget on something else out of desperation.
- Shop places other than the mall. There are plenty of them.
- Shop outlet stores. They offer good deals on popular designer names.
- Try discount stores. They can help you cut corners on less important wardrobe items, like underwear, belts, socks, etc. Not everything you own has to have a designer logo. Buy the basics here, and shop specialty stores for accessories.
- Look in consignment or second-hand stores. These stores are usually choosy about accepting only clothes in good condition. You can get some real buys.
- Go to matinees and discount theaters. You know that movie you've been dying to see? Sure, you can go to a full-price theater and pay full price. Or you can look in the newspaper for a discount theater and get a couple bucks off the ticket price. Go to a matinee (tickets are always cheaper).
- Don't spend all that money on drinks and popcorn. Without too much trouble, you can spend more on snacks than on the price of admission. Eat before you go to the movie, buy a beverage during the movie, and then catch a pizza or a burger afterwards. You'll at least be getting more food for your money.
- Don’t read the newspaper? Check it out. On Thursdays or Fridays newspapers usually feature ideas of what to do for free this weekend. Some might have it online.
Electronics, sports gear and big-ticket stuff
Be a smart consumer. Looking for a digital camera? With the Internet, you can read people’s posted reviews of some products. You can also learn about brands, models, and features. Not all store clerks really know much about what they sell. The Internet can help you compare prices, too, before you visit a store. Getting all this information before you buy helps you find the right camera for your needs. Collecting information makes you a smart shopper – and can save you money!
How small savings add up
Don't underestimate saving a little here and a little there. Let's take a really common way of saving that everyone is familiar with: grocery shopping. Let’s say you buy sale items, clip coupons, and use a preferred-customer card. Your plan pays off. You save $12 a week. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? You’d be surprised. At year's end, you will have saved $624. That's a bundle of cash you could probably find a use for!