Do you save money when you shop? If you do, you know the money-stretching secrets of savvy shoppers. If you don’t usually get a deal, discover the insider tips that can help you save more money.

1. Eat with the seasons. We humans used to eat with the seasons out of necessity. Whatever food was in abundance, we ate. It pays to eat with the sales now because when produce is “in season”, it usually is on sale. This means buying blueberries in July and apples and cranberries in autumn. The key is to plan meals with seasonal recipes.

2. Shop with the sales. Some items go on sale the same time each year. Car dealers are motivated to sell this year’s models in the last months of the year. The week after Christmas is the time to buy Christmas decorations. Winter clothes, towels and linens go on sale in January. School supplies are on sale in the weeks before school starts. Shop during those times to find deals.

3. Use coupons and make it fun. If your coupons come in the Sunday paper, try to get ten times the value of the paper in coupons. For example, if your Sunday paper costs $1.00, try to get $10.00 in savings each week. Over a year, you’ll save more than $500 dollars. Another great source of coupons is the Entertainment Coupon Book. This coupon book is available in most major cities and can save you money at local businesses, such as restaurants and dry cleaners. You can get this coupon book at www.entertainment.com.

4. Automatically find out about deals. Get a membership at BonusWire.com. Every week BonusWire.com sends you a list of companies who offer freebies, deals and bonuses. Find out more at www.bonuswire.com. Another handy website that will point you to deals is CoolSavings. They will send you coupons for brand name products such as Pampers and coupons to stores such as Petco. Sign up at www.coolsavings.com.

5. Before you buy online, do this. Are you shopping at a well-known website? Serious online savers search for “companyname coupons”. For example, go to Google.com and search “Gap coupons” or “Amazon coupons”.

6. Get a deal after the item has sold out. What happens when you have a store coupon for a GREAT deal but when you get there, the store is out of the item? A little-known secret is you may still get the item for the coupon’s price – simply ask the clerk for a “raincheck”. A raincheck is a little form that extends your coupon for a week. This is only a possibility with store coupons, not manufacturer’s coupons. Also, the original coupon can not state: “While supplies last”.

7. Pay cash whenever you can. Many of us carry credit card debt, which only makes us poorer. The benefits of paying with cash: 1. No interest 2. Some companies offer a discount for cash. For example, a furniture store may offer a 2% discount for cash. When you are buying a big-ticket item, ask if there’s a discount for paying with cash.

8. Combine savings. Did you know sometimes you CAN combine savings? For example you may find products on sale AND use a coupon. Try that the next time you go to the grocery store. Here’s another example, a store runs a special where they will pay the taxes PLUS you could pay cash and get the cash discount.

9. Try this last minute money saver. Before you make any large purchase, ask the salesclerk this question: Can you do better than that?? This question can save you hundreds of dollars each year. Just wait until the seller has told you the price and say, “Can you do better than that?? Another variation of this question is “Is that your best price?”

10. Get a deal AFTER you buy it. What if an item goes on sale after you bought it? Did you know some stores have a policy that gives you the sale price even if you bought a week earlier? This can apply to big-ticket items such as cameras, TVs and furniture. It’s worth a phone call to the store to find out if they’ll refund the difference.

By putting these money-saving tips into action, you can keep more of your hard earned money. You will be saving with the savviest of shoppers.

Copyright 2006 Raynay Valles

Raynay Valles enjoys getting deals and working smart. Is working hard working for you? When you’ve had enough of working hard, learn about the Lazy Millionaires Club at LazyMillionairesClub.com
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