Lauren Cobello » Budgeting » Saving Money Hacks » How to Research Before You Buy + Tips on Negotiating the Best Price
When you are working within a budget or simply want to save money, it is important that you think about each and every one of your purchases. Impulse purchases can destroy your carefully-crafted budget. With these simple ways to save on purchases you can be sure that no matter what you are buying you are getting the very best deal possible.
Saving starts the minute you decide you want to buy. If you want to save money, it’s important that you resist the impulse to buy now. Instead, take the time to put money aside if possible- look for ways to boost your income so you don’t have to disrupt your budget.
Learn the Sales Cycle:
If time is on your side (and you have mastered patience), wait for sales. Everything goes on sale at some point. Learn sales cycles so you know the best time to buy just about anything.
Even grocery items have a cycle, usually a 12 week rotation. I talk about sales cycles in detail in my book ‘How to Coupon Effectively‘.
Shop around for the Best Deal:
Before you make that purchase, shop around for the best deal. Look for store-specific coupons that can save you money on your purchase For example, a $10 off when you spend $50 just arrived in my inbox from a store I frequent. I’ve been waiting to purchase something at this store and thanks to this coupon, it’s time to buy
If you don’t typically get store-specific coupons, be sure to sign up for their email newsletters and loyalty programs. You may need to download a free app, carry a key fob, or read a couple of emails, but the savings will be well worth it.
(Tip: Set up a separate email account just for promotional offers so that your regular email isn’t overwhelmed with spam that you don’t want to read.)
If you have a coupon for a store but it doesn’t have the best price, ask if they will price match. You’d be surprised at the number of stores that are willing to meet another store’s price just to keep you shopping with them.
Buy Used instead of New:
Saving money is never easier than when you buy used. Consider if a used version of what you are hoping to purchase is possible. A dresser, a computer, books, clothes, even video games are always great items to buy used and save yourself money. Some things, like a mattress or pillows are probably better bought new.
There are many different places to buy used items- Goodwill, Facebook selling walls, and consignment shops are just a few. Shop around to see what is available.
Look online to verify prices before you buy. Often, you’ll find better deals even when shipping is factored it. Another option to consider when shopping online is the money you can save by using rebate websites such as Ebates or Swagbucks. These sites offer you cash back when you start your shopping on their website.
If you do decide to buy online, look for promo codes that can be applied to your purchase. Simply type the name of the site you are shopping on and the words “promo code” to find what is out there.
You’ve done all of your search, and now it is time to go shopping. Here are two ways to save BIG when you are at the store.
Take advantage of store specific deals:
If you have a grocery store in your area that offers fuel rewards, you are in luck. You can save even more money by taking advantage of the gift cards sold in your grocery store. Fuel rewards are usually offered when you spend money at a store.
For example, if you spend $100 at the store, you’ll receive 100 points which will save you 10 cents per gallon of gas. Frequently, the stores will offer you more points when you buy gift cards (sometimes as much as four times the amount spent- ie. 400 points for $100). Buy the gift cards when the rewards are offered. This can mean a few dollars saved when you fill up at the gas pump that month.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate:
Finally, don’t be afraid to haggle with the sales people when you are shopping. The best items to do this with are cars, furniture, electronics, and when buying used.
Don’t be afraid to ask what their best price is or if they know of a coupon or discount available to help you save money. It never hurts to ask, especially when it means you are keeping more of your money in your wallet.
Out of necessity, I learned all the best tricks for saving the most money on everything I buy. I make it my goal when out shopping to never pay full price, even if it means I have to take a few simple steps to keep within my budget.
What are your best ways to save money when making purchases?