Just because you are shopping on a tight budget doesn’t necessarily mean you need to score all of your wares at secondhand stores or flea-market. I don’t. I constantly find deep discounts on brand new, name brand stuff at many of my favorite retailers, using six simple tricks.
1. Learn to Spot the Gimmicks
Gimmicks are everywhere! Quick. Look over there. See that? That was a gimmick. Don’t fall for those. Most of us know not to shop when we are tired, or when we are hungry, but did you know that stores put flowers and the bakery upfront for a reason? It’s go get you focused on smells, to tap into your emotions that go along with your olfactory senses.
Big, fancy displays are also there to trick you into paying a few cents more for items that are probably on your list anyway, and they encourage you to wander off the beaten path, ultimately costing you more money as you make more impulse purchases.
How I Avoid This: I strategically enter the store from the non-bakery side, and avoid those areas during my trip. I enter the store with a list, and never deviate from it. This also helps save me time, getting me in and out of the store in 30 minutes or less each trip. And, since in my world, time is money, it just makes good common sense. If you want to really save big, look at the items that the store marked down for clearance, or perishables on the verge of spoiling that they need to mark down to get rid of – of course, only I you plan to use them right away.
2. Share and Share Alike
Sure, the big box wholesale markets like Costco and Sam’s memberships pay for themselves if you shop there enough, but there is nothing wrong with sharing a membership with one or two other people – and sharing the cost to boot.
What I do: I split my $45 annual membership three ways, and will often times split the costs of bulk buys of perishable items with nearby neighbors. I go to the store, come home and get cash. Or, one of the other people on my membership does the same.
3. Unit Price, Not Lowest Price
Most consumers are convinced to purchase an item based on the lowest overall price. But that smaller package of paper towels that costs you $1.00 now, could cost you over $30 over time. It’s far more important to look at the unit price, rather than the price tag.
What I do: Most retailers have a unit price of an item printed on the upper right hand corner of a price tag, the lower the unit price, the better the bargain, especially when shopping in bulk.
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