Monthly Archives: December 2009

10 simple ways to save money in tough times, #2 Use Coupons More

#2 Use Coupons More

For many things in life a coupon can be a great way to save a lot of money.  Grocery store coupons are usually small and not really worth it but there are plenty of big ticket coupons that save huge amounts of money, and these coupons can often be used with price matching to make for stellar results.  In this economy many businesses offer coupons and many of these coupons are just begging for you to come in the door.

20off100My favorite coupons are the ones where you spend a set amount at a store and then receive a dollar amount off.  Even better is when you can simply print these as you like.  For example the other day Cabela’s sent me a coupon for $20 off of a $100 purchase.  It was a coupon that could basically be printed as many times as you like.  The key to these coupons is to first price match, to get the best deal, or buy the things that are really on sale to start out with.  I bought Ammo, they had a great deal on it and they had it in stock which is rare, add that with $20 off makes the best ammo deal.  Staples, and OfficeMax also send them out via email, sometimes even $20 off a $50 purchase.  I also get them in the mail from time to time.  And when you don’t have one you can often use Google to find a valid one online.  I often thought about how easy it would be to print out 100 of these and sell them to people who are ready to check out for half of the face value, what an easy way to make money.  The key to the best deals is to always sign up for their free email newsletters.  GoDaddy has so many good coupons that I never buy from them unless I use one.

The next coupons that I love are the restaurant ones.  Many restaurants want you to visit them, at least once, so they give away coupons.  Many are buy-one-get-one-free.  You simply go there, order two entries and only pay for one.  My favorite of these is a small burrito restaurant near my house called Moe’s.  It is nice and upscale, and they send me at least 4 coupons each month in various publications, on top of that the food and environment is awesome.  It gets even better, I can go online to the Az Clipper website, find their coupon and print as many out as I like, and they NEVER expire.  So awesome!

I receive a ton of great coupons in the mail, this is where I get most of the good restaurant deals.   But there is much more than just restaurants that do this, there are dentists, auto repair shops, car washes and much much more that will let you bring a coupon and get a huge discount.

Almost every publication that sends out print coupons also has a website where you can download and print unlimited coupons for free.  Az Clipper is one of the best, but it is only in Arizona.  SavvyShopper is another good publication with national reach, their coupons are located at   Money Mailer and ValPak are national companies that send out lots of coupons in one envelope, and you can search and print all the coupons.  You can even do this for areas you don’t live in, great for traveling!

Another interesting site that I like is called 8coupons.  Basically they gather up all the deals they can find, including online circulars and post them in one place.  You video a map of your location and click on the deals to see what is there.  It does not have all of the best local deals but has many of the national chain and online deals.  It also has ton’s of really dumb things like listing dollar menu items from McDonalds or Burger King as a deal alert, those are the prices everyday with no coupon needed.

For the person who eats out a lot these links and ideas can really save you a ton of money.  I know more than one person who does not even buy much food for their home, they eat out almost every meal because it just is cheaper.  It also saves me money on oil changes, car washes, bowling and much more.

Thanks for reading please click a link below to see the other 9 ways to save money in tough times…

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10 simple ways to save money in tough times, #1 Price Match

Almost everyone I know right now is concerned about ways to save money and I have had many people ask me about ways to help them to save money.   So I decided to write a list of 10 ways that I use to save money, these work well and help me live better for less.

Of course saving money is only part of the formula to making ends meet, earning more money and investing your money correctly are also two major parts.   I think that everyone should have a reserve equal to at least a few months of expenses…more on all of this in my other blog entries.

So here are 10 ways that I know that can really help your budget, help you save, and help you get ahead in the world.  On some of these I will tell you exactly who I do business with, most of them are local so if you don’t live in Arizona than you are out of luck.  This may be a bit long so I am going to post it as 10 separate entries.  Please read them all, Even if you only do a few of these things it could really help.

1.    Price match all your purchases.

Many companies out there are very willing to price match.  Most people know about this but very few ever use it.  Basically most stores buy from the same supply chain and have basically the same cost so when one store has a huge sale, even if they sell it at or near cost the other stores are still happy to have the business.  So all you need to do is find the best deal on an item that you want to buy, and then show proof of that deal to the store you actually plan to buy the item at.  This lets you get the best deal, but still buy from the store that gives you better service and quality.

If you have an android based smart phone you can use ShopSavvy, a free program that will scan the barcode of the items you plan to buy and show you the best deal, locally or online.  If the local deal is better than what you are paying now simply show the phone as the cash register and you will get the lower price, it has worked every time I have tried it.  If the online price is much lower then forgo the purchase for now and get it online because most stores don’t pricematch online ads. I know that other apps for other phones also exist.  But the best deals are usually found the old fashioned way, by checking your mail and getting the newspaper ads.

For me the BEST result that I have when I go to Wal-Mart and get groceries.  For many households groceries is one of their main expenses other than housing and taxes.  The grocery business is highly competitive.  Companies also do things where they have loss leaders, this is an item that “leads” their advertisement, and it is usually such a good deal that they are actually selling it at a loss.  They figure that people will buy these few items from them and stay to shop for the rest of their weekly grocery needs.  Here in Phoenix, there are at least 8 grocery stores that mail out weekly flyers.   So I just put these in a stack and take it with me when I go to Wal-Mart.  They all seem to take effect on Wednesdays, so that is when I shop.  So just follow a few simple rules and let the savings begin.  The item does not always need to be exact, just similar.  There is a grocery store called “Ranch Market” here in Phoenix.  Shopping there is terrible, they are messy, noisy, smelly and the food is not so fresh, but they have great advertised prices, often they are 1/5 the price of other places.  So I don’t shop there, I just take their ads to walmart, less than 200 yards from my house and get their higher quality and cleanlness for the ultra low price.  Today I bought over $20 in fruits and veggies and paid only $6.42.    I went on to price match doritos, sour cream and 5 other things for a total savings of over $30, while paying only $24.  That is a savings of over 50%.  Combine this with stocking up and you have a great way to save lots of money on food.

Price matching also allows you to buy things that are out of stock at the original company.  The other day one store did 32oz Gatorade for only 40 cents, a very good price, the problem is that they were out of stock after the second day, and they had a limit of only 5 per person.  Not a problem at Wal-Mart, they had plenty in stock and did not care about the limit.  It does not really go bad, so I bought enough for a 6 month supply.  At thanksgiving they did the same thing with 12-pack coke products, just $1.25.  I still have 30 unopened a month later.

On top of price matching you can use coupons, but personally I found that most coupons are not worth the time they take.  For me price matching is very simple.  I usually don’t prepare much, I don’t even look at the ads until I am at the Wal-mart, and then I only buy things that are on sale.  And I stock up on items that are on a huge sale. By doing these things I have found that I am able to save over 50% off of my grocery bill on average.  That comes down to $200 or more per month.

Thanks for reading please click a link below to see the other 9 ways to save money in tough times…

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