When you think you’re getting the best deal, you’re probably not. How do I know this? Because I used to be one of those people who thought they were getting a good deal. Then I found out that I could get even better deals on everything that I buy with a little bit of work.
I like to save money. One of my favorite things is getting a good deal and then bragging about how much I saved.
It’s not that I need the money, but rather that I like being smart with it. That’s why I love to follow a few simple rules every time I make a purchase.
If you want to learn how you can save money too, here are my top 5 tips for finding the best deals on everything that you buy:
- Use Google to Find Promo Codes
A lot of people know to use Google to find promo codes before they shop online. But did you know that you can also use Google to find promo codes before you shop in-store? It’s true! Just search for “(your favorite store) + Coupon Codes” or “(your favorite store) + Promo Codes”. For example, if I wanted to shop at Target, I’d type “Target Coupon” into Google. Or maybe “Target Promo Codes.”
I’ve saved hundreds of dollars using promo codes from Google that I would have never known about otherwise.
- Use Slickdeals to Find the Best Deals
Slickdeals is a great website that finds deals for you. What’s nice about it is that it’s user-submitted. That means there are tons of users looking for deals that you can take advantage of!
Check the Price of the Item in Multiple Stores
It’s easy to go into a store and buy an item without comparing prices at other stores or online. You can end up paying too much for an item if you don’t take a minute to compare prices in other stores first. A good way to do this is by using Google Shopping or Amazon to search for the item that interests you and compare its price with other stores (if they carry it).
- Be Flexible About When (And Where) You Shop
If there’s something you need right away, waiting may not be an option. But if you’re willing to hold out a bit longer, that can make all the difference when it comes to finding lower prices.
For example, if you need some new clothes, instead of shopping as soon as they go out of style (or even before), hold off until they go on clearance at the end of their season. Then, next year when they’re back in style again, you’ll be able to save even more by purchasing them with cash instead of buying them at full price now with a credit card.
The same principle applies to many other purchases — electronics, furniture, etc., often have predictable sales cycles throughout the year.
- Make A Budget
Saving money starts with knowing how much money comes in and where it goes out. This is called making a budget. Start by listing all of the sources of income that you receive each month. Next, list all of your expenses or bills from the smallest amount to the largest amount due each month. Subtract all of your expenses from your income. If your expenses are greater than your income, try cutting back on the items with smaller dollar amounts first. For example, if you go out for coffee every day at $3-$6 per day, try making coffee at home instead and use that money saved towards some larger debt or bill that has to be paid each month.
- Know When Sales Happen
Some sales happen every year, while others only occur a few times. Knowing when they happen can help you find the items you need at a great price! Here are some of the best sales times of the year:
Black Friday – The day after Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. It used just to be in-store, but now many retailers offer great deals online as well!
Cyber Monday – Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday. It was started specifically to cater to online shoppers who wanted to avoid the crowds of Black Friday. Many stores will have amazing online-only deals for Cyber Monday!
- Gather Information About Promotional Codes
Whether you are shopping online or going to a brick-and-mortar store, start your shopping journey by going online and gathering information about promotional codes. Keep in mind that these codes can be singularly used, so you need to plan which code goes with a specific purchase.
- Set Up Price Alerts for Your Favorite Items
A price alert is a notification that lets you know when the price of an item drops below the price point that you specify. You can use apps like Honey to do this for you automatically on Amazon and some other major eCommerce sites. This means that once you set up the alerts, you will not have to surf the Web looking for the best prices constantly.
Sign up for price drop alerts. Many retailers offer price-drop alerts, so you can get an email when the item you want is on sale.
To find out which retailers offer this service, Google “price drop alert” and the name of your desired store. If they have it, you can sign up online or through the retailer’s app, and a discount code will be sent to your mobile device or inbox if the price drops.
Best Buy offers price-matching, so if you see a lower price at another store, you can ask them to match it. Just show them a printed ad or a link to the product in question on your phone. You’ve also got 15 days after purchase to take advantage of any lower price you spot (though in some cases, you might get more money back as store credit instead of cash).
- Use Rewards Cards
A credit card that offers cashback or other rewards is a great way to save money on your purchases. If you use it responsibly, which means paying off your balance each month, cashback cards don’t cost anything extra and can provide substantial savings. For example, if you get 2% cashback on everything you buy and spend $1,000 per month, that’s $240 per year. And many cards offer higher rates for specific categories of spending.
Establish credit with a store card or loyalty program. Many stores offer their own credit cards that provide special savings when used in their stores. You may also be able to establish an account with a store that offers coupons and other discounts only to members of their loyalty program. This is a good way to take advantage of sales and discounts at the stores where you already shop frequently.