Money Health

Beyond Coupons: How to Save Money Shopping

How to Save Money Shopping
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Even though we’re in a recession, savings rates are at an all-time high and this is good news. Because the more cash you save, the more may have to build your emergency fund or retirement account. If you haven’t been able to save as much as you’d like or are looking for even more ideas on how to build that extra cushion during these unprecedented times, read on!

If you’re wondering how to save money shopping, we’ve got some ideas. Below are some savings tips that go beyond coupon clipping and can help you make the most out of your hard-earned dollars when you’re shopping.

Use shopping apps

As long as you have a smartphone or tablet, you have the option to use shopping apps to save or even earn some cash. While there are countless apps out there, here are a few for you to consider.

  • Retail Me Not: With the RetailMeNot app, you’ll get access to online coupons and discounts from a variety of popular merchants. Before you buy anything, go to the app to see if there’s a relevant offer.
  • Pricegrabber: If you’d like to find the best deal on a certain item, Pricegrabber is a great option. Once you enter a specific product, the app will run a price comparison search so you can get an idea of how much it is on various websites and search for the best deal.
  • Honey: Honey is a great help if you’re an avid online shopper. It’s a browser plugin that will automatically apply relevant coupon codes when you’re at the checkout stage.
  • Shoptagr: Shoptagr is a browser extension that allows you to save items you like and get emails or texts any time they go on sale. The tool can also inform you when items are back in stock and offers cashback from some retailers.
  • CamelCamelCamel: The CamelCamelCamel app tracks items on Amazon and shows you their price history so you can decide when to buy them. If you shop on Amazon often, you can use it to help ensure you’re getting the best deals.

Buy resale or “pre-loved”

Whether you’re in the market for a car, couch, handbag, or nearly anything else, you may want to buy it on the resale market. While it may not always have that off the factory floor smell, you can often get the same product at a fraction of the cost. You’ll need to beware of counterfeit and gray market items, but following the rule that if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is, should help. Check out these apps and websites selling a plethora of pre-loved items.

  • Facebook Marketplace: If you’re on Facebook, you can use the Marketplace feature to buy, sell, and trade items with people in your area.
  • CarMax and more: There’s no need to buy a brand new car that will lose a chunk of its value the moment you drive it off the lot. Sites like Carvana, CarGurus, or AutoTrader (to name just a few) offer previously owned cars that can help save you thousands of dollars.
  • TheRealReal, etc.: Along with sites like Poshmark, Tradsey, Rebag, Vestiaire, and eBay, resale retailers could save you hundreds or even thousands on clothes, shoes, or accessories. You can shop from millions of digital closets, and collectors and get your order quickly thanks to these sties’ usually fast (and often free) shipping.

Buy in bulk

Even if you don’t have a large family, buying in bulk can be an effective way to save money shopping — just make sure you’ll eventually use whatever you buy. If you know there’s no way you’ll eat 10 pounds of oranges, for example, buying in bulk won’t give you any real savings.

Beyond investing in a membership to a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club to buy in bulk, you can also consider these options.

  • Amazon: Simply search for “bulk items” on Amazon and you’ll find various options available to you.
  • Boxed: Boxed can allow you to shop wholesale products like groceries and health supplies online and get them delivered to your doorstep.
  • Gordon Food Service: Gordon Food Service (GFS) stores can be found throughout the country and offer bulk goods without requiring a membership fee.

Shop off season

You may not be thinking of summer clothes in December, but shopping off-season could save you a lot of cash. Here’s a list of some of the best times to buy certain items:

  • Televisions: April and May
  • School supplies: September
  • Patio furniture: October
  • Lawnmowers: September
  • Wedding decor and supplies: October and November
  • Holiday décor: Late December/early January

Use your social media

When it comes to finding new ways to save money on shopping, social media can be an invaluable tool. There are plenty of influencers, groups, and pages across sites like Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter that share sales, discount codes, and special deals with their followers. Like you would on any resale site, use care and common sense before clicking on any deal or coupon. If you’re on Facebook, consider following these pages to see posts about deals:

  • Brad’s Deals: Brad’s Deals scours the internet every day to find the best prices on all types of items and services. From blankets and pants, to insurance and theater tickets, the page offers deals on just about everything.
  • Krazy Coupon Lady: Created by two stay-at-home moms, Krazy Coupon Lady looks for and promotes the best coupons, sales, and store promotions.

Get out of debt and make the most of your money

Even now that you know more about how to save money shopping, any debt you accumulate can make it more difficult for you to get ahead. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with debt forever. If you’re ready to take control of your debt and money, download our free How to Manage Debt guide. It’s designed to help you better manage your debt and find the tools you need to move toward a more secure financial future.

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Anna Baluch is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about all personal finance topics. She’s particularly interested in mortgages, retirement, insurance, and investing.