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How to Shop Smart and Save Money

Why it pays to spend a little time figuring out how to shop smart and save money strategically

Let’s be honest, extreme couponers save a ton of money, but most people don’t want to spend that much time couponing. You have things to do and a life to live. So, spending hours each day finding just the right combination of coupons and rebates to spend less may not be practical.

Still, there are easy ways that you can shop smart and save money without going crazy with it. Using even just a few of these tricks will help you maintain a balanced budget. That way, you can avoid taking on credit card debt to cover daily expenses.

Here are 5 more tips for how to shop smart and save money every day…

#1: Find one money-saving app that you can use regularly

There’s an endless stream of coupon apps and rebate apps that you can download to your favorite mobile device. But trying to do all of them at once often leads to money-saving exhaustion. You get tired of couponing and rebating constantly, so you give it up altogether. It’s basically a yo-yo-diet for your wallet.

Instead of going all or nothing, get into money saving gradually. Try out a few different apps one at a time. Then get rid of the ones that seem tedious or are too much of a hassle. This will leave you with one or two apps that you’re more likely to use consistently. As a result, you can build a money-saving habit that you can stick with.

#2: Sign up for email newsletters from your favorite stores

Most retailers offer email newsletter subscriptions. They typically offer weekly saving specials, although some come more often. So, sign up for these newsletters from the stores where you already shop most often. This will give you deals on products that you probably already purchase.

Opting into emails where you shop ensures that you don’t need to go out of your way to save. It’s a natural fit for shopping smart.

#3: Then create a special folder in your inbox for those money-saving emails

A 70% off offer on kitchen gadgets is only useful if you have a kitchen gadget that you happen to need at the time. Otherwise, these kinds of big discounts can tempt to into spending money on items you don’t need.

So, money-saving emails can be a blessing and a curse. They give you ways to save when you need to buy something. But they also try to lure you into spending when you don’t have a clear need. This can lead to overspending, rather than saving money.

One good solution is to create a folder for money-saving offers and promotions in your inbox. Some email programs like Gmail do this automatically. But if you use something like Outlook or Apple mail, you might need to create a custom folder.

This gives you the option of ignoring these money-saving offers when you don’t have funds to spend. You only look at the folder when you need to save or are planning a shopping trip. Otherwise, you can ignore it and avoid getting lured spending money on things you don’t really need.

#4: Wait for sales on items that you don’t immediately need

Most purchases can be planned. You know you’re going to need a new pair of shoes because yours are wearing out. You know you need a new coat before next winter. So, often the best way to save is simply to wait to strike when the money-saving iron is hot. You make a list of purchases that you need to make sometime in the near future. Then, when the right sale comes along, you jump at it.

This also often involves shopping off-season. Bathing suits are priced best at the end of summer and winter coats are priced best in spring. If you can get ahead of these purchases and make them at the end of season each year, you can save big.

#5: Take advantage of money-saving tools from your favorite stores

Some stores have apps with digital coupons, others still predominantly rely on circulars, and others simply offer in-store BOGO deals that you find at the shelf. Stores like CVS give you a small tome of coupons attached to your receipt. Whatever the money-saving tool happens to be, if you shop at a store often, become a regular user of the tools they use the most.

Using the tools that your favorite retailers promote the most means that you minimize the hassle of saving money. The store clerks are used to helping customers save money in a certain way. You can probably save money in other ways there, too. But it may not be as seamless and easy as you want. Adapting your smart shopping habits around your favorite retailers will help you save time and money and hassle. It’s a win, win, win.