Economic Survival Guide: Ten Ways to Save Money
- Buy locally produced foods: Summer is a good time to explore local farmers markets. Local growers spend less on fuel to get food to your table, so it’s often less expensive. It’s also fresher-and gives you a chance to support family businesses.
- Negotiate: Contrary to what you may have heard, no one is suggesting you start haggling over prices at your local mall. But it does pay to be a smart shopper. That means reasonably negotiating. Ask for a discount if an item is missing a button, for instance, or if the packing is ripped on an item you plan to give as a gift.
- Buy more store brands or generic products: But be judicious. It’s only a bargain if it’s a comparable substitute.
- Do more comparison shopping online and in newspapers: The goal is to make sure you’re getting the best price before you make a purchase.
- Fight back if you find you’ve paid too much, ask for a refund. Some credit card issuers will refund the difference if another retailer offers the same item you purchased for less. Most retailers will also refund the price difference if an item goes on sale within 14 days of the date you buy it. Some will also price match other retailers, although these policies tend to be very restrictive.
- Shop closer to home to save gas and support local merchants.
- If you can’t find what you want locally, shop online. Just make sure to factor in shipping costs.
- Consolidate your shopping trips: Instead of shopping daily or even weekly, shop every other week. You’ll reduce impulse buys, save gas and make it possible to buy in bulk.
- Consider-or reconsider-using coupons. They add up. Just don’t buy products you don’t want or need. Then they’re no bargain. About 148 million American adults use coupons, statistics show, and many of them get their coupons online. The number of consumers using online coupons rose by 39%, to 36 million between 2005 and 2008, according to a new survey conducted by Simmons/Experian Research and Coupons Inc. But overall coupon usage has declined by 1 million since 2005, the survey found.
- Reinvent your wardrobe. Mix and match items you already own with a few new pieces to create updated looks at low cost.
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