Deal or No Deal

Last night I read an article about women who have become “super savers.” These women have mastered the art of couponing and deal hunting so they can save their families a lot of money.

One of the women talked about a time she found a deal on an item she just couldn’t pass up. Never mind the fact she didn’t really need the item. She thought since it was such a good deal she would be crazy not to take advantage of it.

I thought about that for a minute. I realized I had the same mindset on a few occasions. I recall finding clothing or household items on sale for such good prices, I just couldn’t pass them up. Then I’d get them home and end up never using or wearing them. Were those really good deals?

I know it’s tempting when we can get something so cheaply to go ahead and purchase an item. We even rationalize that we may need it someday or it may be a good gift for someone. But how many times have you bought something that was on sale only to let it go to waste?

Instead of looking for any bargain we can find, let’s think about some practical ways to save money on the items we really need. Here are a few ways I try to save money:

Use coupons. I’m not a big coupon user right now because I’ve not taken the time to learn how to use coupons to get the maximum savings. But, I’ve discovered that if I have a coupon for a majority of items on my shopping list, I will still save money. Think of coupons as real money that you are wasting if you don’t take the time to use them. A word of caution, though, don’t buy something just because you have a coupon. Make sure you really need the item or will use it.

Make your credit cards work for you. If you have a problem with credit card debt, then this tip is not for you. But if you pay your credit cards off each month, then choose one or two that will provide you with rewards. We have a Discover card and an Amazon Visa card where we earn cash back on every purchase. Having these cash back options has allowed us to obtain items we need without spending any additional cash. Many cards offer rewards such as these. Find one that works best for your family.

Sign up for frequent shopper cards. These cards help you save a lot of money only if you are purchasing items that you normally use. Don’t fall into the trap of shopping at a store just to get a reward. The goal here is to accumulate enough rewards in stores that you frequent to earn items for free or a reduced cost. Walgreens, Ulta, Sephora, and Starbucks are some examples. Look for ways to combine coupons and sales with your rewards to get an even greater value from the cards.

What is your favorite tip for saving money?

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