Finding Discounts, Saving Money!
One thing we've learned is to always look for a deal or a coupon...
Tip 1: Do a Quick Search
Any activity or meal that we want to go out to do or item we want to purchase, we always try to do a quick search for a coupon for the place or a deal for that item. For example, you can do a Google search for "carrabba's orlando coupon." Also, a couple apps/websites that are pretty good from my experience are RetailMeNot.com, DealsPlus.com, and Groupon.com. You can look up the name of the place you are purchasing from in each of these. These three also sometimes will pop up in the Google search as mentioned above ;) But there are many others. Find your favorites! Keep in mind that many places have apps now-a-days that constantly offer coupons. Also know that sometimes coupons are only good for online or app purchases. So keep your eye out on the details of the deal. In this case, you order and pay online or on the app, and many times you can even get free shipping or pick up in the store or restaurant.
Tip 2: Know about Competitors
It's also good to know which stores will price match and/or accept competitors' coupons. I'm including two links here that list those stores. We cannot verify all the stores on these lists, as we have not shop at all of them, but it looks like the writer did their research! One I know of off hand that is not listed is Hobby Lobby. They will honor a lower price from a competitor's ad if it's the exact same item they carry. Another I know of is Publix. They will accept coupons from nearby competitors. Each store has their own list; so check with your store. I'm sure there are others as well that are missing here. Let us know others you find!
List of Stores Who Accept Competitors' Coupons
List of Stores Who Price Match Competitors (This link's first article is directed at price matching Walmart, for those who don't like Walmart. That is not our purpose in this post, but this is the most extensive list I have found, it has good tips, and most of the stores listed here have policies that apply to any competitor. Plus, if you continue reading the link, they even list stores that will price match Costco ;)
Tip 3: Register for E-mail Subscriptions
There's even more to it when you consider coupons through e-mail. Many stores will send you coupons when you sign up for their mailing list. If you have a favorite store or an item you need to purchase, it may be worth signing up. Many places even give a coupon right off the bat for your initial sign up. I've done this for stores before when I'm looking for a specific item, especially one that has a higher price tag. For example, at Michael's they sent a 40% off one regular priced item coupon right away after signing up for their e-mails. I'm not sure if they still do that same coupon when signing up, but many stores like them will send special 50% off one regular priced item every now and then. You just have to be patient, but you also have to watch the fine print. Many coupons are not valid on some brands. I also know that for stores like Michael's, Jo-Ann, and Hobby Lobby, you can pretty much always get at least a 40% off one regular priced item coupon, either through their e-mails or their phone apps. I always take advantage of that when I need to purchase an item from one of these stores. Also, if it's not a store you shop at regularly, you can always unsubscribe afterwards.
Tip 4: Register for Websites with Logins
Here's another tip with e-mailed coupons. If there is a website that you register on and can login to, many times they track your shopping cart. If you add an item to your cart while you are logged in and leave it without buying it, sometimes you will receive a follow up e-mail days later reminding you that you have an item in your cart that you haven't purchased. From here, there are also companies that will actually send you a coupon as an incentive to purchase your cart items! I've had this happen with VistaPrint as one example. And once again, if it's not a store you shop at regularly, you can unsubscribe after receiving an e-mailed coupon from them.
Tip 5: Remember Your Budget and Think About Value!
One important thing you have to remember is that you can't spend too much time searching for a deal, because for example, if you save $5 but took one hour to find that deal, your hour was worth only $5. You have to weigh your time vs. your savings, and find out what works for you!
Another thing you have to be very careful about to be budget friendly, is not buying something just because you found a great deal on it. For one, it cannot be something that you wouldn't normally spend money on. For two, you have to watch out for "great deals" on a certain item (especially brand names) that are still not actually a very good deal. For example, a grocery item that is a popular brand is on sale or has a coupon, but there is a generic brand of that product for a better price, even with the other one on sale! Another example is a clothing store having a "BIG SALE" off of their retail prices, but there is another store who sells the same brand, and their retail prices are lower than the other store with the "sale" going on. I actually stumbled upon this by coincidence one time and got a shirt for a lower price than received from the original store of purchase. This was Kohl's vs. Sears. I found the exact same shirt had a lower original, "Retail" price on it at Sears than it did at Kohl's. So even though Kohl's had a larger sale going on, the shirt still cost less at Sears. I know that there is no way to know this unless you go to every store, which would take forever (which would bring us back to the time it takes to find a deal must be used in the equation to see it's worth). The bottom line is that you have to evaluate the cost of things and their actual value and not just go off the idea that they have "big sales" going on ;)
What are your favorite ways to save on purchases?! Share in the comments below, or send us a message to let us know!